At the centre activities are carried out in the context of education and research, and it is also known for its organic production of sheep's milk and cheese.
Work of the Centre
The Vremščica Infrasture Centre for Sustainable Recultivation (ICSR) was established in the year 2000 at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Ljubljana. The centre carries out activities in the context of education and research, and it is also known for its organic production of sheep's milk and cheese. The centre is located in the south-west of Slovenia, in the Karst area, near the village of Divača on the Vremščica plateau.
The plateau is covered by meadows and pastures that stretch across a wide area 800-1000 metres above sea-level. The centre encompasses 268 hectares, which include 110 hectares of meadows, where every year about 160 tonnes of hay is produced for feeding sheep in winter. The main reason for the centre’s location in the mountainous karst area was that, with the help of systems for sustainable recultivation and revitalisation - where animals are used as a tool - the most appropriate solutions for the preservation of this very sensitive karst environment can be found.
The centre has 470 ewes and 25 rams of the Slovenian indigenous Istrian pramenka breed, 80 breeding animals up to the age on one, a small number of pigs of the indigenous Slovenian Krško-polje breed, and three cows with heifers of the indigenous Cika breed.
The average annual production of the centre is 550 lambs and 37,000 litres of sheep's milk, from which very tasty mountain sheep cheese is produced. Around 8,500 kg of cheese is produced annually.
Products from Vremščica
Semi-hard sheep’s cheese from Vremščica
White sheep’s cheese in brine
Albumin curd cheese
The Vremščica ICSR also functions as an educational centre which conducts the practical training of students of veterinary medicine from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and animal husbandry students from the Biotechnical Faculty.
The centre is a research ground for various national and international projects in the field of recultivation of abandoned karst areas using sustainable technologies, for example, the use of animals ‘as a tool’. Research is focused on the areas of agriculture, forestry, veterinary medicine, ecology, animal husbandry and ecotoxicology, while various models for sustainable farming are also studied.
- The study of the interactions and relationships of the environment and animals in highly sensitive karst areas. Particularly in areas that are overgrown with less quality trees and shrubs, as well as in areas that have degenerated due to wind and water erosion
- Developing extensive systems of sustainable recultivation and revitalisation of karst areas with the use of animals as ‘tools’ and, consequently, improvement of soil, restoration of degraded or abandoned land, and the improvement of the conditions of grazing and vegetation diversity
- Monitoring the health status of animals for the purpose of sustainable development of the Karst area
- Arrangements of systems for controlled grazing using a temporary electric fence and the development of silvo-pasture systems of land usage in areas with limited use, thus making use of different animal species (dominated by small ruminants, but also other species, for example, donkeys and pigs) which are native to the conditions of the Karst
- Study of the effects of feed additives on animal health and changes in the environment
- Ecotoxicology studies of veterinary medicine, which include determination of medicines in animal faeces, followed by decomposition of residues of medicinal products in the waste and soil under the influence of the environment, as well as determining the toxicity of certain organisms that inhabit and live in animal faeces and other waste and soil, which, at the same time, are important in the food chain and in the implementation of environmental risk assessment
- The ability for co-existence of wild and domestic animals in border areas between forests and pastures, especially near populated areas
Other Current Projects:
- Monitoring the health status of the animals of three indigenous breeds of sheep in Slovenia
- Exclusion of macrocyclic lactone-eprinomectin in dairy sheep breeds - residues in milk and environmental research
- Degradation of active antiparasite substances in faeces and soil in the feeding grounds of small ruminants in conditions of the Slovenian Karst
- Safe storage and use of biodegradable organic waste which is generated in animal breeding
- Sinkhole carbon in the soils of the Karst pasture
- Options and models of use of overgrown karst and hilly land with small cattle as a ‘tool’
The Centre is part of the Network of Research Infrastructure Centres of the University of Ljubljana (MRIC UL).
The Infrastructure Centre is partially co-financed by the Slovenian Research Agency.
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ljubljana
Gabrče 30, 6224 Senožeče
tel.: +386 41 658 948 (Andrej Škibin)