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Stilnovo, sustainability and innovation for sheep milk supply chain

Stilnovo is a newborn all-Tuscan project which mission is to combine improvement of sheep milk quality with environmental sustainability, to re-discover autochthonous plants in order to have higher volumes of raw materials available during the course of a year while increasing product quality, starting from the sheep milk product that is the king of the territory, the Tuscan Pecorino Dop. Actually, the word Stilnovo is almost an acronym for Sustainability and innovative technologies for sheep milk supply chain. Caseificio Sociale di Manciano, in Grosseto Province, is the coordinator behind this project, with the scientific contribution of Scuola superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa, University of Pisa and University of Florence. The main objective is to add value to the Maremma area, to its excellence products, its tradition and passion animating local farmers and companies. Stilnovo is a supply chain project funded by Tuscany’s Rural Development Program 2014-2020 aimed to increase sheep milk quality through innovations at production and processing level. Nine farmers and members of Caseificio Sociale Manciano are involved in the project, along with their sheep herds and grazing lands, where they will introduce sustainable farming practices in order to increase milk quality, animals’ well-being and companies’ productivity.

Phases of Stilnovo

The project, which will end in 2018, is divided in two phases: during the first one, innovative farming techniques will be transferred to partner companies to increase quality and environmental sustainability of grazing lands and milk produced by the sheep; after that, the study will continue with the analysis of transformation and aging processes, thanks to specific tests for organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of cheeses with edible crust.

Rediscovering plants

Another interesting advantage of the Stilnovo project involves rediscovery and cultivation of autochthonous and innovative plants which can be used to increase sheep feeding, therefore obtaining better milk – available almost all-year round – with lower costs for feeding the sheep. This will also protect the environment thanks to a decrease in abandonment and erosion risk of cultivated farm lands.