• Factors affecting body condition score, live weight and reproductive performance in spring-calving suckler cows

      Drennan, Michael J; Berry, Donagh P. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      The objective was to identify factors affecting live weight (LW), body condition score (BCS), calving rate and calving interval in spring-calving suckler cows. A total of 925 records on 299 cows from the years 1987 to 1999 were used and the data were analyzed using mixed models and generalised estimating equations. Cows calving early in the year (< day 65 of the year) were significantly heavier at the start of winter, had greater BCS at the subsequent calving but lost most LW in winter. Despite having higher LW gain at pasture, annual LW gain of early-calving cows was lower than that of late-calving cows (> day 90 of the year). Trends in BCS were similar to LW but there was no effect of calving date on annual BCS change. Cows in parity 1, 2, 3 to 7 and >7 had initial LW of 523, 549, 614 and 623 kg, winter LW losses of 61, 52, 65 and 67 kg and LW gains at pasture of 81, 99, 94 and 75 kg, respectively. First parity animals had higher BCS at the start of winter but had greater BCS loss in winter and lower BCS gain at pasture than the other three parity groups. Overall pregnancy rate was 93.6% and was not affected by either previous calving date or cow parity. Mean calving interval was 367 days and was affected by previous calving date but there was no effect of either cow parity or previous calving difficulty. Mean calving interval for cows calving early, mid-season or late were 378, 364 and 353 days, respectively. The results show that good reproduction performance can be achieved in spring-calving suckler cows subjected to low feeding levels during the winter period but grazed on well-managed pasture in summer.
    • Factors affecting nitrate distribution in shallow groundwater under a beef farm in South Eastern Ireland

      Fenton, Owen; Richards, Karl G.; Kirwan, Laura; Khalil, Mohammed I.; Healy, Mark G. (Elsevier, 2009-07)
      Groundwater contamination was characterised using a methodology which combines shallow groundwater geochemistry data from 17 piezometers over a 2 yr period in a statistical framework and hydrogeological techniques. Nitrate-N (NO3-N) contaminant mass flux was calculated across three control planes (rows of piezometers) in six isolated plots. Results showed natural attenuation occurs on site although the method does not directly differentiate between dilution and denitrification. It was further investigated whether NO3-N concentration in shallow groundwater (<5 m below ground level) generated from an agricultural point source on a 4.2 ha site on a beef farm in SE Ireland could be predicted from saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) measurements, ground elevation (m Above Ordnance Datum), elevation of groundwater sampling (screen opening interval) (m AOD) and distance from a dirty water point pollution source. Tobit regression, using a background concentration threshold of 2.6 mg NO3-N L-1 showed, when assessed individually in a step wise procedure, Ksat was significantly related to groundwater NO3-N concentration. Distance of the point dirty water pollution source becomes significant when included with Ksat in the model. The model relationships show areas with higher Ksat values have less time for denitrification to occur, whereas lower Ksat values allow denitrification to occur. Areas with higher permeability transport greater NO3-N fluxes to ground and surface waters. When the distribution of Cl- was examined by the model, Ksat and ground elevation had the most explanatory power but Ksat was not significant pointing to dilution having an effect. Areas with low NO3 concentration and unaffected Cl- concentration points to denitrification, low NO3 concentration and low Cl- chloride concentration points to dilution and combining these findings allows areas of denitrification and dilution to be inferred. The effect of denitrification is further supported as mean groundwater NO3-N was significantly (P<0.05) related to groundwater N2/Ar ratio, redox potential (Eh), dissolved O2 and N2 and was close to being significant with N2O (P=0.08). Calculating contaminant mass flux across more than one control plane is a useful tool to monitor natural attenuation. This tool allows the identification of hot spot areas where intervention other than natural attenuation may be needed to protect receptors.
    • Factors affecting nitrate distribution in shallow groundwater under a beef farm in South Eastern Ireland

      Fenton, Owen; Richards, Karl G.; Kirwan, L.; Khalil, Mohammed I.; Healy, Mark G. (Elsevier, 2009-07)
      Groundwater contamination was characterised using a methodology which combines shallow groundwater geochemistry data from 17 piezometers over a 2 yr period in a statistical framework and hydrogeological techniques. Nitrate–N (NO3-N) contaminant mass flux was calculated across three control planes (rows of piezometers) in six isolated plots. Results showed natural attenuation occurs on site although the method does not directly differentiate between dilution and denitrification. It was further investigated whether NO3-N concentration in shallow groundwater (<5 m below ground level) generated from an agricultural point source on a 4.2 ha site on a beef farm in SE Ireland could be predicted from saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) measurements, ground elevation (m Above Ordnance Datum), elevation of groundwater sampling (screen opening interval) (m AOD) and distance from a dirty water point pollution source. Tobit regression, using a background concentration threshold of 2.6 mg NO3-N L−1 showed, when assessed individually in a step wise procedure, Ksat was significantly related to groundwater NO3-N concentration. Distance of the point dirty water pollution source becomes significant when included with Ksat in the model. The model relationships show areas with higher Ksat values have less time for denitrification to occur, whereas lower Ksat values allow denitrification to occur. Areas with higher permeability transport greater NO3-N fluxes to ground and surface waters. When the distribution of Cl− was examined by the model, Ksat and ground elevation had the most explanatory power but Ksat was not significant pointing to dilution having an effect. Areas with low NO3 concentration and unaffected Cl− concentration points to denitrification, low NO3 concentration and low Cl− chloride concentration points to dilution and combining these findings allows areas of denitrification and dilution to be inferred. The effect of denitrification is further supported as mean groundwater NO3-N was significantly (P < 0.05) related to groundwater N2/Ar ratio, redox potential (Eh), dissolved O2 and N2 and was close to being significant with N2O (P = 0.08). Calculating contaminant mass flux across more than one control plane is a useful tool to monitor natural attenuation. This tool allows the identification of hot spot areas where intervention other than natural attenuation may be needed to protect receptors.
    • Factors Affecting the Cleanliness of Cattle Housed in Buildings wiith Concrete Slatted Floors.

      Fallon, Richard J.; Lenehan, J.J. (Teagasc, 2002-01-01)
      From a series of experiments at Grange Research Centre, cattle were cleanest at housing in the autumn, however, within 3 to 4 weeks of housing on concrete slats and fed with a diet of grass silage, cattle were dirtiest, with the majority of the cattle in category 4 or 5. Cattle tended to be cleaner in the late March, early April period as they shed their winter hair coat. Cattle fed concentrates plus straw were significantly cleaner at slaughter compared to similar cattle offered grass silage plus concentrates. Cattle housed indoor on slats during the summer were cleaner than cattle on similar diet and accommodation during the winter. High dry matter silage produced cleaner cattle than did low dry matter silages. Back and tail clipping of cattle at the commencement of the winter finishing period did not have any positive effect on cleanliness score or liveweight gain when the cattle were accommodated in well ventilated slatted floor houses. A survey of 19 farms specialising in finishing cattle failed to show any correlation between stocking density, solid floor area or level of concentrate feeding on the cleanliness of finishing cattle. A survey of 36 finishing units, designated as producers of "clean" or "dirty" cattle at slaughter, found that units with clean cattle had houses which were in general well ventilated, had A-type roofs with an open ridge outlet and in general the grass silage offered was a higher dry matter. In contrast, finishing units with dirty cattle tended to be poorly ventilated and the grass silage offered had a lower dry matter. Overall in the survey cattle cleanliness score was not affected by stocking density (2.0m 2 3.8m 2) or the proportion of solid floor area in the pen. Cattle accommodated on gang slats were dirtier than those accommodated on single slats.
    • Factors affecting the composition and use of camelina

      Crowley, J.G.; Fröhlich, A. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      Camelina (Camelina sativa), a member of the mustard family, is a summer annual oilseed plant. Winter hardy types also exist. False flax and Gold of Pleasure are the popular common names for the crop. The crop was widely grown in Eastern Europe and Russia up to the early 1940’s but was replaced with the introduction and widespread use of oilseed rape. The revival of interest in camelina oil is due to its high linolenic acid (38%) content. Linolenic acid is one of the OMEGA-3 fatty acids which are generally found in substantial quantities only in linseed and fish oils. Camelina offers an opportunity to supply the growing demand for high quality edible oils rich in OMEGA-3 fatty acids. A three year study established that camelina is a very suitable crop to grow in Ireland, producing 2.5 t/ha of high quality seed (42-47%) with no agrochemical inputs required. The oil contains 35 to 40% linolenic acid compared to 8% in rape and soya oils. The oil does not deteriorate during refining or storage and can be used in a number of oil based products such as spreads and salad dressings.
    • Factors affecting the level of farm indebtedness: the role of farming attitudes

      Howley, Peter; Dillon, Emma (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2012)
      Using a nationally representative survey of farm operators in Ireland, this paper aims to provide a framework for better understanding the characteristics that influence the degree of indebtedness on farm businesses. This paper derives explanatory variables (based on a factor analysis of respondents mean ratings of 13 multiple value items) representing 3 different farming attitudes. An ordered logit model is then formulated to examine the effect of farming attitudes as well as personal characteristics and farm structural variables on the degree of indebtedness. Personal characteristics of the farmer such as age and education as well as farm structural variables such as farm size and farm system were all found to have a statistically significant impact. The presence of decoupled farm payments was also found to affect the degree of indebtedness. The study identified two distinct farming attitudes which were found to have important but opposite effects. These were attitudes strongly orientated to business related objectives which was positively associated with having farming debts and secondly positive attitudes relating to the benefits of farm relative to non-farm work which was negatively associated with the degree of indebtedness. Past research has focused on the effect of socio-demographic characteristics and farm structural variables in examining differences in farm indebtedness. This study extends this literature by specifically examining the role of farming attitudes. Obtaining a deeper understanding of the factors that affect the level of farming debt will be important as the degree of indebtedness has been found to affect farmers’ management decisions. Furthermore, outside of explaining farm credit use, farming attitudes and motivations may have an important impact on farmers’ behaviour in relation to a variety of farm activities.
    • Factors affecting the yield of winter lupins.

      Crowley, J.G. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      The white lupin (Lupinus albus) is a temperate legume whose seed contains high levels of protein (36-44%), oil (10-16%) and high quality dietary fibre in the dry matter. Modern varieties contain extremely low levels of alkaloids (<0.01%) and no anti-nutritional factors. Thus their composition is more similar to soya bean than peas and beans, which contain much less protein (23-27%) and no oil. Nitrogen fixation by autumn-sown, determinate varieties is large (ca. 300 kg/ha) and harvest index for nitrogen is high (more than 85% of the crop N is recovered in the grain). Lupins also have the ability to release phosphorus and iron from mineral sources in the soil. These two characteristics make the winter lupin crop an ideal choice as a low input alternative crop, particularly in nitrogen-sensitive areas. Attempts to introduce spring-sown lupins have failed, mainly due to low yield potential, poor yield stability and late harvest. The release of the first winterhardy determinate varieties by French breeders in 1994 promised the first real chance of success. The successful introduction of lupins offers the possibility of reducing soya bean imports and replacing it with a high-quality, home-grown protein source, with the added advantage of traceability. Autumn-sown lupins are capable of producing satisfactory yields (3.7-4.5 t/ha). The crop does require careful management, i.e. early sowing (by mid-September), at the correct seed rate (100 kg/ha), into well-structured free-draining soil and with a pH below 7. Sown in early September, the crop will mature from late August to mid-September.
    • Factors Affecting Yield and Quality of Oats.

      Burke, J.I.; Browne, R.A.; White, E.M. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      Quality evaluation of oats relies primarily on hectolitre weight and, while it is an important characteristic, work carried out at Oak Park and elsewhere has shown that it does not accurately measure grain quality. Consequently, the selection of oat lots and varieties which have a high milling value has been limited, as present techniques fail to accurately determine the characteristics most closely related to milling quality. In this regard the kernel content and the ease of husk removal, termed the hullability, are the most important. This study has developed a new test for assessing oat kernel content, which is more rapid and cheaper than techniques currently available. Despite its obvious importance, oat hullability has not been assessed to date in quality evaluation due to the absence of a test procedure. However, this obstacle has now been overcome. The results of this work also provide a much better understanding of how hullability of individual varieties can be assessed, as well as investigating how this could be manipulated at field level. Using the methods developed, the selection of varieties with enhanced processing characteristics can now be carried out more precisely for Irish conditions. The field trials conducted to evaluate the effect of agronomic practices on quality indicated that the effect of factors such as nitrogen rate and seed rate was small in comparison to variety, which had the largest and most consistent effect. The variation in quality could not be completely explained by variation in the panicle characteristics studied. Increasing the nitrogen rate increased yield with the optimum being 160 kg N/ha in 1998 and 1999. However, lodging became a very significant factor at nitrogen rates above 100 kg N/ha in 1998, although it did not occur in 1999. This work supports the current Teagasc nitrogen recommendations for oats where levels of 110-140 kg N/ha (Soil Index 1) are advised.
    • Factors associated with selling price of cattle at livestock marts

      McHugh, Noirin; Fahey, A. G.; Evans, R. D.; Berry, Donagh P. (Cambridge University Press, 2010-02)
      The objective of this study was to determine the factors associated with selling price of animals at livestock marts around Ireland. Data consisted of four distinct maturity categories: calves (2 to 84 days of age, n553 838); weanlings (6 to 12 months of age, n519 972); post-weanlings (12 to 36 months of age, n593 081) and cows (.30 months to 12 years of age, n594 839); sold through livestock marts between 2000 and 2008. Factors associated with animal price were determined within each maturity category separately using mixed models; random effects were mart, date of sale nested within mart, and herd of origin nested within year of sale. Mean selling price was h157, h580, h655 and h592 for calves, weanlings, post-weanlings and cows, respectively. The greatest prices were paid for singleton crossbred male calves, weanlings and post-weanlings from older dams. With the exception of the Aberdeen Angus, beef breeds and their crosses consistently received higher prices than their dairy counterparts across all four maturity categories; increased proportion of Belgian Blue and Charolais was associated with greater prices compared with other beef breeds. When live-weight was included in the multiple regression models the association between price and all factors regressed toward zero but most factors remained associated with price. The highest price was recorded in the spring months for calves, post-weanlings and cows, and in the autumn months for weanlings. Results from this study may be used to help farmers make more informed management decisions, as well as provide information for bio-economic models for evaluating alternative production systems or estimating economic values.
    • Factors influencing the conservation characteristics of baled and precision-chop grass silages

      McEniry, Joseph; Forristal, P.D.; O'Kiely, Padraig (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2011)
      The composition of baled silage on Irish farms frequently differs from that of comparable precision-chop silage. This paper concerns a field-scale study designed to investigate: (a) the effects of number of layers (2, 4, 6 or 8) of polyethylene stretch film and the duration of storage (7 vs. 18 months) on the conservation characteristics of baled silage, and (b) the conservation characteristics of baled (4 layers of stretch film) and precision-chop silages. All silages were made following three durations of wilting (0, 24 or 48 h). Wilting restricted silage fermentation, with silage pH being highest (P<0.001) and the concentration of fermentation products lowest (P<0.001) for the 48 h wilt treatment. Wrapping bales in only 2 layers of polyethylene stretch film resulted in extensive visible mould growth, but mould growth was practically eliminated by the application of 4 or more layers of film. Silage fermentation characteristics were generally improved by wilting, and by 4 compared to 2 layers of stretch film. Extending the storage duration of baled silage from 7 to 18 months reduced (P<0.001) the concentration of fermentation products and increased in-silo fresh weight losses (P<0.001) and visible mould growth. Whereas 4 layers of conventional stretch film are normally sufficient, 6 layers may be necessary to prevent mould growth when bales of unwilted silage are stored for a second season. Under good farm-management conditions differences observed between baled and precision-chop silages probably result mainly from differences in the concentration of dry matter in herbage at ensiling.
    • Factors Shaping Expenditure on Food-Away-from-Home in Irish and UK Households

      Keelan, Conor; Henchion, Maeve; Newman, Carol; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2009-10-01)
      Factors influencing consumer spending in two sectors of the food-away-from-home (FAFH) market (quick-service e.g. takeaways, and full-service e.g. restaurants) were analysed using national household expenditure survey data. Different variables affect expenditure in the two sectors in different ways. Income has a greater effect on expenditure in the full-service sector than in the quick-service sector. Similarly households that are health-conscious indicate a greater preference for full-service meals while households which place more value on time (and therefore are more convenience-oriented) indicate a greater preference for quick-service. Households of a higher social class and those with higher education levels also appear to favour full-service expenditure. In addition, younger, urbanised households favour quickservice meal options. The results emphasise the merits of analysing different sectors within the FAFH market separately.
    • Factors shaping expenditure on meat and prepared meals

      Newman, Carol; Henchion, Maeve; Matthews, Alan (Teagasc, 2002-02)
      The factors shaping Irish households' expenditure decisions on meat and prepared meals are analysed using the two most recent datasets of the Irish Household Budget Survey (1987/8 and 1994/5). The motivation for the research stems from the changing pattern of food consumption, leading to a decline in the importance of price and income factors, and a simultaneous increase in the significance of socio-demographic factors, assumed to underpin consumers' tastes and preferences. Irish households' expenditure patterns on all meat, specific meat categories and prepared meals are analysed using tobit, double-hurdle and infrequency of purchase models.
    • Factors that predict consumer acceptance of enriched processed meats

      Shan, Liran C.; Henchion, Maeve; de Brun, Aoife; Murrin, Celine; Wall, Patrick G.; Monahan, Frank J. (Elsevier, 2017-07-08)
      The study aimed to understand predictors of consumers' purchase intention towards processed meat based functional foods (i.e. enriched processed meat). A cross-sectional survey was conducted with 486 processed meat consumers in spring 2016. Results showed that processed meats were perceived differently in healthiness, with sausage-type products perceived less healthy than cured meat products. Consumers were in general more uncertain than positive about enriched processed meat but differences existed in terms of the attitudes and purchase intention. Following regression analysis, consumers' purchase intention towards enriched processed meat was primarily driven by their attitudes towards the product concept. Perceived healthiness of existing products and eating frequency of processed meat were also positively associated with the purchase intention. Other factors such as general food choice motives, socio-demographic characteristics, consumer health and the consumption of functional foods and dietary supplements in general, were not significant predictors of the purchase intention for enriched processed meat.
    • Farm Facilities On Small - Medium Type Dairy Farms.

      Gleeson, David E. (Teagasc, 2000-11-01)
      82 % of farms with milk quota < 54,552 litres have bucket/pipeline milking plants. • There were a high percentage of milking machine faults on the farms surveyed. • Fragmented land portions are more likely to limit dairy expansion than farm size. • 60% of farms had beef buildings suitable for conversion to dairy housing • 88 % of farms had adequate cubicle spaces for present cow numbers • The cost of purchasing milk quota was considered to be the biggest factor restricting expansion. • 67 % of farms with quota > 54,552 litres are joined REPS. • 51 % of farms had dairies registered under dairy hygiene regulations. • Milk bulk tank size would limit dairy expansion without investment in larger static tanks. • The number of cows to fill milk quota is better matched in the higher quota category. • The length of the working day was 12.7 hrs/day for an average herd size of 23 cows. • Estimated cost of extra facilities per farm to allow for scaling up in milk production from 90,920-181,840 litres is £33,760
    • Farm Forestry: Land Availability, Take-up Rates and Economics.

      Frawley, J.P.; Leavy, A. (Teagasc, 2001-02-01)
      Of the Member States in the European Union Ireland has the lowest proportion of land area covered by forest. Given the large surpluses of agricultural commodities and expected future increases in farm productivity, less land resources will be needed to produce EU food requirements. The Irish government has, therefore, adopted a target to plant 25,000 ha of new forest annually to the year 2000 and thereafter a target of 20,000 ha annually. Substantial incentives to promote afforestation are in place, but with the exception of 1995, the area of land planted has been considerably below target. The objectives of this study is to examine (i) the availability of land for afforestation, (ii) the factors which impede or promote the uptake of forestry and (iii) the relative economic returns from forestry in a farm context. The availability of land via the market has steadily diminished between 1990 and 1998. The area of agricultural land sold in the period fell from 33,282 ha to 8,656 ha, a fall of 74 per cent. At the same time average price increased from £3,964 per ha to £6,865, an increase of 72 per cent. Surveys of the opinions of landholders indicate that attitudes toward afforestation are becoming more positive in the 1990s. This is reflected in a substantial increase in the area of farm forestry during the decade. However, a survey of opinions of farmers who had already planted forestry indicated a perception that it is not a suitable replacement for conventional farm enterprises on `good' farmland. Land planted in 78 per cent of sites in this survey was previously utilised as either summer grazing or rough grazing. The principal motivation for planting was the favourable returns to forestry on land that had limited alternative use. The relative economic returns of forestry in comparison with farm enterprises such as dairying and cattle were assessed post CAP reform (2007), using linear programming techniques. Scenarios involved alternative uses of the farm resources such as extensive/intensive land use, forestry/no forestry and off farm job/no off farm job. The objective was to examine the profitability of forestry on farms in situations in which livestock enterprises qualified for REPS and extensification payments and in which off farm jobs were (a) not available and (b) available at different wage levels. Non economic considerations, such as the perceived unsuitability of forestry as a replacement for agricultural enterprises on `good' land and the irrevocability of the decision to plant forestry could, come into play. In order to reflect these non-economic considerations, together with the higher risk associated with investment by individuals, a high discount rate (10%) was used in calculating returns to forestry. The analysis shows that in situations in which off farm jobs are either not available or are available at a low wage level, extensification and REPS payments enable efficient livestock enterprises to compete with forestry. In these situations forestry is a profit maximiser only on farms which have surplus land, having first qualified for both extensification and REPS on existing livestock enterprises. However, the availability of off farm earnings at or near the industrial wage rate leads to increases in the forestry area, sometimes to the exclusion of cattle enterprises. Economic criteria therefore could mean that large areas of land could be transferred to forestry from conventional agriculture in the post 1999 CAP reform situation. Economics may not, however, be the most appropriate arbiter of such a decision.
    • Farm management factors associated with bulk tank somatic cell count in Irish dairy herds

      Kelly, PT; O'Sullivan, K; Berry, Donagh P.; More, Simon J; Meaney, William J; O'Callaghan, Edmond J; O'Brien, Bernadette (Biomed Central, 2009-04-01)
      The relationship between bulk tank somatic cell count (SCC) and farm management and infrastructure was examined using data from 398 randomly selected, yet representative, Irish dairy farms where the basal diet is grazed grass. Median bulk tank SCC for the farms was 282,887 cells/ml ranging from 82,209 to 773,028 cells/ml. Two questionnaires were administered through face-to-face contact with each farmer. Herd-level factors associated with bulk tank SCC were determined using linear models with annual somatic cell score (i.e., arithmetic mean of the natural logarithm of bulk tank SCC) included as the dependent variable. All herd level factors were analysed individually in separate regression models, which included an adjustment for geographical location of the farm; a multiple regression model was subsequently developed. Management practices associated with low SCC included the use of dry cow therapy, participation in a milk recording scheme and the use of teat disinfection post-milking. There was an association between low SCC and an increased level of hygiene and frequency of cleaning of the holding yard, passageways and cubicles. Herd management factors associated with bulk tank SCC in Irish grazing herds are generally in agreement with most previous studies from confinement systems of milk production.
    • Farm management factors associated with bulk tank total bacterial count in Irish dairy herds during 2006/07

      Kelly, PT; O'Sullivan, K; Berry, Donagh P.; More, Simon J; Meaney, William J; O'Callaghan, Edmond J; O'Brien, Bernadette (Biomed Central, 2009-01-01)
      Research has shown that total bacterial count (TBC), which is the bacterial growth per ml of milk over a fixed period of time, can be decreased by good hygiene and farm management practices. The objective of the current study was to quantify the associations between herd management factors and bulk tank TBC in Irish spring calving, grass-based dairy herds. The relationship between bulk tank TBC and farm management and infrastructure was examined using data from 400 randomly selected Irish dairy farms where the basal diet was grazed grass. Herd management factors associated with bulk tank TBC were identified using linear models with herd annual total bacterial score (i.e., arithmetic mean of the natural logarithm of bulk tank TBC) included as the dependent variable. All herd management factors were individually analysed in a separate regression model, that included an adjustment for geographical location of the farm. A multiple stepwise regression model was subsequently developed. Median bulk tank TBC for the sample herds was 18,483 cells/ml ranging from 10,441 to 130,458 cells/ml. Results from the multivariate analysis indicated that the following management practices were associated with low TBC; use of heated water in the milking parlour; participation in a milk recording scheme; and tail clipping of cows at a frequency greater than once per year. Increased level of hygiene of the parlour and cubicles were also associated with lower TBC. Herd management factors associated with bulk tank TBC in Irish grazing herds were generally in agreement with most previous studies from confinement systems of milk production.
    • Farm management factors associated with the Bacillus cereus count in bulk tank milk

      O'Connell, Aine; Ruegg, P.L.; Gleeson, David E (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2013)
      The objective of this study was to determine the on-farm management factors that are associated with the Bacillus cereus count in raw bulk tank milk using a cross sectional study design. Bulk tank milk quality was monitored for B. cereus on 63 dairy farms between July and August 2012. Bulk tank milk samples corresponding with processor milk collection dates were taken over a two week period prior to the farm visit and tested for B. cereus. The four most recent samples taken prior to the on-farm visit were averaged and log transformed to give the outcome variable; mean log10 B. cereus cfu/mL. On-farm data collection included recording observations and providing a questionnaire on basic hygiene, management factors and cow hygiene scoring. All independent variables were analysed individually with the outcome variable using simple linear regression and one-way ANOVA; a multivariable regression model was subsequently developed. Only significant variables were retained in the final model (P < 0.05). The geometric mean B. cereus count for all milk samples was 40 cfu/mL. The start temperature of the cleaning solution wash, dry wiping teats prior to unit application, the feeding of silage and reusing the cleaning solution more than once were all unconditionally associated (P < 0.10) with the B. cereus count in bulk tank milk but did not enter the final multivariable model. B. cereus count was four times greater (201 cfu/mL) when cows had been housed compared to when they were on pasture (50 cfu/mL). The allocation of fresh grass every 12 h (62 cfu/mL) resulted in a decrease in B. cereus count (166cfu/mL every 24 h or greater). The testing of water for bacteriology was associated with an increase in B. cereus count. In conclusion, this study highlights specific management factors associated with the B. cereus count in bulk tank milk.
    • A Farm Scale integrated constructed wetland to treat farmyard dirty water.

      Dunne, E.; Culleton, Noel; O'Donovan, G.; Harrington, R. (Teagasc, 2005-01-01)
      In Ireland, the use of constructed wetlands to manage agricultural waters such as farm yard dirty water has been primarily based on an ecosystems approach. Integrated constructed wetlands, which are a design specific approach of conventional surface flow constructed wetlands, were first used in the Anne Valley, Waterford, Ireland (Harrington and Ryder, 2002). At present, 13 farms in the Anne Valley catchment use integrated constructed wetlands to manage farmyard dirty water (Harrington et al., 2004). Fundamental to their design is water quality improvement, landscape fit (designing the wetland into the topography of the landscape) and that the wetland provides an ecological habitat within the agricultural landscape. Typically, integrated constructed wetlands have greater land area requirements than conventional surface flow constructed wetlands in order to provide for these other fundamental ecological services. Few studies (Ryan, 1990) have addressed the issue of quality and quantity of farmyard dirty generated at farm-scales in Ireland. No studies were readily available documenting the effectiveness of a farm-scale constructed or integrated constructed wetland in Ireland to remove nutrients such as phosphorus (P) from dairy farmyard dirty water on a mass basis. To address such, the main objectives of this research were to (i) determine the quality and quantity of farmyard dirty water generated at a farm-scale (ii) determine the effectiveness of three treatment cells of an integrated constructed wetland to treat farmyard dirty, using the difference between input and output mass loadings, (iii) investigate if there were seasonal effects in the wetland’s performance to retain phosphorus, and (iv) assess the impact of the integrated constructed wetland on the receiving environment by monitoring soil-water parameter concentrations up gradient, down gradient and within the wetland system using piezometers at different soil depths.
    • Farm-gate N and P balances and use efficiencies across specialist dairy farms in the Republic Ireland

      Buckley, Cathal; Murphy, Paul; Wall, David (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2013)
      This study establishes farm gate N and P balances and use efficiencies based on the average of 2 years of Teagasc National Farm Survey data in 2009 and 2010. The weighted average farm gate N surplus for this nationally representative sample of specialist dairy farms was 143.4 kg N ha-1. Average farm gate nitrogen use efficiency was 23.2%. For dairy farms operating under an EU Nitrates Derogation, the average N surplus was higher at 181.8 kg N ha-1 and averageN use efficiency was slightly lower at 22.2%. The total average farm gate P balance was 4.1 kg ha-1 in surplus, and P use efficiency averaged 83.9%. P balance ranged from -7.3 to 23.0 kg ha-1. A total of 27% had a negative P balance. The average P surplus for farms with a Nitrates Derogation was below the average of all farms at 3.5 kg P ha-1 and average P use efficiency for these Derogation farms was above the average of all farms at 90%.