Sheep production systems at pasture
Sheep production systems have economic objectives. This fact, plus their potentialy mutiproduct character, determines the dynamism of the sheep industry. In this region, sheep production is exclusively under pastoral conditions, on a wide range of forage resources, in terms of productivity, quality and distribution. According to the main product, can be distinguished wool systems and meat systems. There are related to different production characteristics, basically, the breeds involved, the forage structure and the technology applied. During the last decade, prices have been favourable, in relative terms, to alternative enterprises and among them, to sheep meat. This has determined a decrease of the stock and adjustments in its structure. Although prices determine the evolution of the sheep industry, production levels obtained also affect incomes. The historical sheep productivity in the region has been low in terms of its potential. Nowadays, available technologies enable the obtention of significative increases in the production and incomes resulting from the sheep industry. This has been focused by a wide range of proposals, from adjustment practices, through strategical use of improved pastures, to intensive usage of productive resources.