Climate impacts on reproductive performance of Romanov sheep in the moderate climate
Keywords:air temperature, rainfall precipitation, reproduction, small ruminant, sunlight
This study aimed to investigate the climatological impacts of air temperature, sunshine duration, and rain precipitation, in a moderate climate, on the reproductive performance of Romanov sheep in the continental part of Croatia, during two consecutive years (2019-2020). Our study included 549 matings with 520 successful conceptions at 5 Romanov sheep farms, and the fertility rate was 94.72%. The percentage of lambs delivered in winter was 53.27% (n = 277), in spring 20.19% (n = 105), in summer 14.23% (n = 74) and 12.31% in autumn (n = 64). According to percentile ranks and classification ratings, thermal conditions have been described as very warm (during 2019-2020), while precipitation conditions, expressed in percentiles, were wet (during 2019) but dry (during 2020) for this region. The peak of sexual activity was from mid-August until October in 2019 and from the end of August to November in 2020 for Romanov sheep in northwestern (NW) Croatia. A Kruskal-Wallis test showed a statistically significant difference in the number of pregnant ewes during the different mating seasons in the year (p < 0.001). Therefore, we can assume that air temperature, precipitation volume, and sunshine duration during the different seasons could impact the reproductive performance of Romanov sheep in a moderate climate.
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