• Machinery costs on tillage farms and the development of decision support systems for machinery investments/use on farms.

      Forristal, P.D. (Teagasc, 1999-09-01)
      Costs and benefits associated with the use of farm machinery are difficult to calculate. A research programme was established to highlight the area of machinery costs and to provide information on which to base mechanisation decisions. A machinery cost survey was the central part of the programme which collected detailed machinery cost information from 40 arable farms over a period of three years. Costing methods were developed to provide an annual per-hectare cost for each machine over its ownership period. An average annual machinery cost figure of £194/ha, excluding labour, was recorded. Costs varied from £93/ha to £340/ha between farms. Depreciation and interest accounted for almost 60% of the total costs figure. Larger farms (>160 ha) had lower costs and less cost variation than smaller- and medium-sized farms. They were more machinery efficient, with lower levels of machinery investment per hectare. Smaller- and medium-sized farms had much greater cost variation with many farms being over-mechanised, resulting in excessive machinery costs. The importance of selecting an appropriate mechanisation policy for individual farm situations was evident. Using information from the survey to select appropriate costing methodology from other research, a simple cost-prediction computer program was developed. This allows costs for an individual machine at any use level to be estimated. This program was used to evaluate various mechanisation options on 40, 100 and 240 ha farms. The program was then redeveloped for use by the advisory service. It is a decisionsupport type program which requires input from a trained operator with experience of mechanisation. It should prove useful in determining farm mechanisation policies against a background of changing mechanisation technology, farm labour supply and potential price-support reductions.
    • Maize silage for milk production - Part 1: Effect of the quality of maize silage on milk

      Fitzgerald, J.J.; Murphy, J.J.; O'Mara, Frank P.; Culleton, Noel (Teagasc, 1998-11-01)
      Ensiled forage maize is an alternative or complementary forage to grass silage and is the main source of forage for ruminant livestock in many European countries. The growing of maize for silage was tried unsuccessfully in Ireland in the 1970’s, was resumed in the late 1980’s and is now well established in suitable areas in the south and east of Ireland. However, variation in growing conditions and summer radiation can result in considerable variation in the yield, maturity and feeding value of the crop from year to year and between regions or locations within years. A series of experiments were conducted at Moorepark and at Johnstown Castle Research Centre to evaluate the role of maize silage in the diet of lactating dairy cows, the effect of variation in the quality (starch content and digestibility) of maize silage, the proportion of maize silage in the forage and the effect of harvesting date of immature maize silage on feed intake, milk production and milk composition compared with an all grass silage based diet. Grass silages of moderate or high digestibility were used. These studies were carried out with cows in early or mid lactation or at both stages of lactation. The forages were supplemented with concentrates at low to moderate levels of feeding (4-7 kg/cow/day). The concentrates generally contained a high level of crude protein (220- 250 g CP/kg fresh weight) to balance the low level of crude protein in maize silage. The experiments were conducted over periods of 7-9 weeks.
    • Maize silage for milk production - Part 2: Effect of concentrate quality and quantity fed withmaize silage based forages on milk production

      Fitzgerald, J.J.; Murphy, J.J.; Culleton, N. (Teagasc, 1998-11-01)
      In some of the studies outlined in Part 1 of this report, mixed forages containing grass silage and a high proportion (60%) of maize silages varying in maturity and starch content were supplemented with concentrates at different levels to compare the response in milk production with a maize silage based forage and with good quality grass silage as the sole forage. The most suitable type of energy ingredient in the concentrate, i.e. high starch or low starch, high fibre ingredients, as supplements to maize silage based forages or grass silage was investigated. A range of levels of crude protein in the concentrate were examined in one study to determine the optimum level of crude protein in the supplement for maize silage based forages compared with grass silage.
    • Major management factors associated with the variation in reproductive performance of Irish dairy herds

      Buckley, Frank; Dillon, Pat; Mee, John F (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      The results highlight the importance of BCS in achieving good reproductive performance. The likelihood of reproductive success was best predicted by BCS around the time of breeding and, for cows calving in good BCS (3.0 or greater) the level of BCS loss between calving and first service. A low BCS pre-calving (<2.75) was associated with prolonged calving to first service, and calving to conception intervals. Very high BCS pre-calving (>3.5) results in excessive BCS loss (>0.5) post-calving. On the basis of these findings a pre-calving BCS of no greater than 3.25 is a sensible target for pasture-based spring calving systems in Ireland. It is necessary to maintain BCS at 2.75 or greater during the breeding season, and loss of body condition between calving and first service should be restricted to 0.5 BCS units.
    • Management of young forests

      Teagasc (Teagasc, 2012-09)
      Early management is essential to get the best returns from your forest in the future. New plantations require several years of active management to become well established. The payment of the second instalment of the Afforestation Scheme (Maintenance Grant) and forestry premium is subject to the forest successfully achieving certain standards. If a plantation is not well maintained, future timber revenue is likely to be compromised.
    • Management practices as risk factors for the presence of bulk milk antibodies to Salmonella, Neospora caninum and Leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo in Irish dairy herds

      O'Doherty, E.; Berry, Donagh P.; O'Grady, L.; Sayers, Riona (Cambridge University Press, 2014-03-24)
      A survey of management practices in 309 Irish dairy herds was used to identify risk factors for the presence of antibodies to Salmonella, Neospora caninum and Leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo in extensively managed unvaccinated dairy herds. A previous study documented a herd-level seroprevalence in bulk milk of 49%, 19% and 86% for Salmonella, Neospora caninum and leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo, respectively in the unvaccinated proportion of these 309 herds in 2009. Association analyses in the present study were carried out using multiple logistic regression models. Herds where cattle were purchased or introduced had a greater likelihood of being positive to leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo (P<0.01) and Salmonella (P<0.01). Larger herds had a greater likelihood of recording a positive bulk milk antibody result to leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo (P<0.05). Herds that practiced year round calving were more likely to be positive to Neospora caninum (P<0.05) compared to herds with a spring-calving season, with no difference in risk between herds that practiced split calving compared to herds that practiced spring calving. No association was found between presence of dogs on farms and prevalence of Neospora caninum possibly due to limited access of dogs to infected materials including afterbirths. The information from this study will assist in the design of suitable control programmes for the diseases under investigation in pasture-based livestock systems.
    • Management practices as risk factors for the presence of bulk milk antibodies to Salmonella, Neospora caninum and Leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo in Irish dairy herds

      O'Doherty, Eugene; Berry, Donagh P.; O'Grady, L.; Sayers, Riona (Cambridge University Press, 2014-03-24)
      A survey of management practices in 309 Irish dairy herds was used to identify risk factors for the presence of antibodies to Salmonella, Neospora caninum and Leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo in extensively managed unvaccinated dairy herds. A previous study documented a herd-level seroprevalence in bulk milk of 49%, 19% and 86% for Salmonella, Neospora caninum and leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo, respectively in the unvaccinated proportion of these 309 herds in 2009. Association analyses in the present study were carried out using multiple logistic regression models. Herds where cattle were purchased or introduced had a greater likelihood of being positive to leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo (P<0.01) and Salmonella (P<0.01). Larger herds had a greater likelihood of recording a positive bulk milk antibody result to leptospira interrogans serovar hardjo (P<0.05). Herds that practiced year round calving were more likely to be positive to Neospora caninum (P<0.05) compared to herds with a spring-calving season, with no difference in risk between herds that practiced split calving compared to herds that practiced spring calving. No association was found between presence of dogs on farms and prevalence of Neospora caninum possibly due to limited access of dogs to infected materials including afterbirths. The information from this study will assist in the design of suitable control programmes for the diseases under investigation in pasture-based livestock systems.
    • Management, regulation and environmental impacts of nitrogen fertilization in northwestern Europe under the Nitrates Directive; a benchmark study

      van Grinsven, H. J. M.; ten Berge, H. F. M.; Dalgaard, T.; Fraters, B.; Durand, P.; Hart, A.; Hofman, G.; Jacobsen, B.H.; Lalor, Stanley T. J.; Lesschen, J. P.; Osterburg, B.; Richards, Karl G.; Techen, A.-K.; Vertes, F.; Webb, J.; Willems, W. J. (European Geosciences Union, 2012-12-14)
      Implementation of the Nitrates Directive (NiD) and its environmental impacts were compared for member states in the northwest of the European Union (Ireland, United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Northern France and Germany). The main sources of data were national reports for the third reporting period for the NiD (2004–2007) and results of the MITERRA-EUROPE model. Implementation of the NiD in the considered member states is fairly comparable regarding restrictions for where and when to apply fertilizer and manure, but very different regarding application limits for N fertilization. Issues of concern and improvement of the implementation of the NiD are accounting for the fertilizer value of nitrogen in manure, and relating application limits for total nitrogen (N) to potential crop yield and N removal. The most significant environmental effect of the implementation of the NiD since 1995 is a major contribution to the decrease of the soil N balance (N surplus), particularly in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. This decrease is accompanied by a modest decrease of nitrate concentrations since 2000 in fresh surface waters in most countries. This decrease is less prominent for groundwater in view of delayed response of nitrate in deep aquifers. In spite of improved fertilization practices, the southeast of the Netherlands, the Flemish Region and Brittany remain to be regions of major concern in view of a combination of a high nitrogen surplus, high leaching fractions to groundwater and tenacious exceedance of the water quality standards. On average the gross N balance in 2008 for the seven member states in EUROSTAT and in national reports was about 20 kg N ha−1 yr−1 lower than by MITERRA. The major cause is higher estimates of N removal in national reports which can amount to more than 50 kg N ha−1 yr−1. Differences between procedures in member states to assess nitrogen balances and water quality and a lack of cross-boundary policy evaluations are handicaps when benchmarking the effectiveness of the NiD. This provides a challenge for the European Commission and its member states, as the NiD remains an important piece of legislation for protecting drinking water quality in regions with many private or small public production facilities and controlling aquatic eutrophication from agricultural sources.
    • Managing new food product development.

      Daly, Eimear (Teagasc, 2002-10)
      The future success of the Irish food industry depends on the ability of companies to develop new skills in a rapidly changing market environment. One such skill is the management of new product development. This report illustrates the impact that training in the product development process had on a range of small to medium enterprises. Training was delivered as a series of interactive workshops covering the key stages of the new product development process. Each company also received up to 7 days consultancy support to facilitate implementation of the learning.
    • Managing Spent Mushroom Compost

      Maher, M.J.; Magette, W.L.; Smyth, S.; Duggan, J.; Dodd, V.A.; Hennerty, M.J.; McCabe, T. (Teagasc, 2000-07-01)
      This project addressed how to manage spent mushroom compost (SMC), an issue of critical importance to the continued development of the Irish mushroom industry. The most important aim of the project was to devise a feasible strategy for the management of this material on an industry wide basis. There were two main components of the project, which were conducted in parallel. One analysed the structure of the mushroom industry and the logistics of handling, transporting and processing SMC. The other studied the agronomic properties of SMC in an effort to develop improved guidelines on the best use of SMC in crop production. Our analysis of the SMC management problem led us to conclude that a centralised approach should be taken when developing the solution strategy. The model solution that was formulated is based on the establishment of centrally located depots for SMC collection, temporary storage and possible processing. This approach facilitates a variety of environmentally acceptable SMC end uses ranging from land application to incineration. We examined a variety of possible end uses for SMC, including its use as an alternative fuel. In the immediate future, we believe the predominant end use for SMC will be as an organic manure for field crop production and as a soil conditioner in the landscaping industry. Uses of this type are in line with both Irish and EU legislation regarding waste management. Our analysis suggests that tillage and horticulture offer the best promise for realising the beneficial properties of SMC. We have tested SMC on field crops such as winter and spring wheat and potatoes and on glasshouse crops such as tomatoes. These experiments have shown that SMC increases soil organic matter and improves soil structure. SMC is a very effective source of K and P and also provides trace elements. It makes a contribution to N nutrition but most of the N does not become available to the crop in the first year. For best results therefore, supplementary N must be applied. Overall, our results indicate that SMC can be used with beneficial effects in field crop production. The mushroom industry should move forward with establishing centralised SMC handling facilities to enable the efficient collection, temporary storage, further processing and transportation of SMC to end users. An education and awareness campaign should be conducted amongst farmers, in areas removed from mushroom production, to introduce them to the benefits of SMC and ways to effectively utilise this material.
    • Managing variability in decision making in swine growing-finishing units

      Agostini, Piero, d S; Manzanilla, Edgar, G; de Blas, Carlos; Fahey, Alan, G; da Silva, Caio, A; Gasa, Josep (Biomed Central, 2015-09-01)
      Analysis of data collected from pig farms may be useful to understand factors affecting pig health and productive performance. However, obtaining these data and drawing conclusions from them can be done at different levels and presents several challenges. In the present study, information from 688 batches of growing-finishing (GF) pigs (average initial and final body weight of 19.1 and 108.5 kg respectively) from 404 GF farms integrated in 7 companies was obtained between July 2008 and July 2010 in Spain by survey. Management and facility factors associated with feed conversion ratio (FCR) and mortality were studied by multiple linear regression analysis in each single company (A to G) and in an overall database (OD). Factors studied were geographic location of the farm, trimester the pigs entered the farm, breed of sire and sex segregation in pens (BREGENSEG), use of circovirus vaccine, number of origins the pigs were obtained from, age of the farm, percentage of slatted floor, type of feeder, drinker and ventilation, number of phases and form of feed, antibiotic administration system, water source, and number and initial weight of pigs. Results In two or more companies studied and/or in OD, the trimester when pigs were placed in the farm, BREGENSEG, number of origins of the pigs, age of the farm and initial body weight were factors associated with FCR. Regarding mortality, trimester of placement, number of origins of the pigs, water source in the farm, number of pigs placed and the initial body weight were relevant factors. Age of the farm, antibiotic administration system, and water source were only provided by some of the studied companies and were not included in the OD model, however, when analyzed in particular companies these three variables had an important effect and may be variables of interest in companies that do not record them. Conclusions Analysing data collected from farms at different levels helps better understand factors associated with productive performance of pig herds. Out of the studied factors trimester of placement and number of origins of the pigs were the most relevant factors associated with FCR and mortality.
    • Manipulating the ensilage of wilted, unchopped grass through the use of additive treatments

      McEniry, Joseph; O'Kiely, Padraig; Clipson, N.W.J.; Forristal, P.D.; Doyle, E.M. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      Baled silage composition frequently differs from that of comparable conventional precision-chop silage. The lower final concentration of fermentation products in baled silage makes it more conducive to the activities of undesirable microorganisms. Silage additives can be used to encourage beneficial microbial activity and/or inhibit detrimental microbial activity. The experiment was organised in a 2 (chop treatments) × 6 (additive treatments) × 2 (stages of ensilage) factorial arrangement of treatments (n = 3 silos/treatment) to suggest additive treatments for use in baled silage production that would help create conditions more inhibitory to the activities of undesirable microorganisms and realise an outcome comparable to precision-chop silage. Chopping the herbage prior to ensiling, in the absence of an additive treatment, improved the silage fermentation. In the unchopped herbage, where the fermentation was poorer, the lactic acid bacterial inoculant resulted in an immediate increase (P < 0.001) in lactic acid concentration and a faster decline (P < 0.001) in pH with a subsequent reduction in butyric acid (P < 0.001) and ammonia-N (P < 0.01) concentrations. When sucrose was added in addition to the lactic acid bacterial inoculant, the combined treatment had a more pronounced effect on pH, butyric acid and ammonia-N values at the end of ensilage. The formic acid based additive and the antimicrobial mixture restricted the activities of undesirable microorganisms resulting in reduced concentrations of butyric acid (P < 0.001) and ammonia-N (P < 0.01). These additives offer a potential to create conditions in baled silage more inhibitory to the activities of undesirable microorganisms.
    • Manipulation of grass supply to meet feed demand

      French, Padraig; Hennessy, Deirdre; O’Donovan, Michael; Laidlaw, S. (Teagasc, 2006-01-01)
      Grazed grass is generally the cheapest form of feed available for beef and milk production in Ireland. Grass growth is variable during the year with a peak in May/June and a secondary peak in August. There is little net growth from December to February. Grass growth is also variable across the country with higher grass growth in the south and south-west (14 to 15 t DM/ha/year) compared with approximately 11 t DM/ha/year in the north-east (Brereton, 1995). There is poor synchrony between grass supply and feed demand on beef and dairy farms. The feed demand curve for a calf to two year old beef system shows feed demand decreasing as grass supply increases, and grass supply decreasing as feed demand increases. Similarly, the feed demand curve of a spring calving dairy herd shows poor synchrony with grass supply, with a surplus of grass from about mid-April to mid-August, and a deficit for the rest of the year. Traditionally surplus grass produced during May and June is conserved as silage or hay and fed back to cattle and dairy cows during the deficit times of the year.
    • Manipulation of Grass Supply to Meet Feed Demand

      French, Padraig; Hennessey, Deirdre; O'Donovan, Michael; Laidlaw, S. (Teagasc, 2006-01)
      Grazed grass is generally the cheapest form of feed available for beef and milk production in Ireland. Grass growth is variable during the year with a peak in May/June and a secondary peak in August. There is little net growth from December to February. Grass growth is also variable across the country with higher grass growth in the south and south-west (14 to 15 t DM/ha/year) compared with approximately 11 t DM/ha/year in the north-east (Brereton, 1995). There is poor synchrony between grass supply and feed demand on beef and dairy farms. The feed demand curve for a calf to two year old beef system shows feed demand decreasing as grass supply increases, and grass supply decreasing as feed demand increases. Similarly, the feed demand curve of a spring calving dairy herd shows poor synchrony with grass supply, with a surplus of grass from about mid-April to mid-August, and a deficit for the rest of the year. Traditionally surplus grass produced during May and June is conserved as silage or hay and fed back to cattle and dairy cows during the deficit times of the year. This project examined the possibility of reducing the grass growth peak in May/June and increasing grass supply later in the year by altering nitrogen application pattern and extending autumn rotation lengths.
    • Mapping Soils in Ireland

      Simo, Iolande; Constanje, R.; Fealy, Reamonn; Hallett, S.; Hannam, J.; Holden, N.; Jahns, G.; Jones, B.; Massey, P.; Mayr, T.; McDonald, E.; Reidy, Brian; Schulte, Rogier P. O.; Sills, P.; Spaargaren, O.; Zawadka, J.; Creamer, Rachel E. (CRC Press, 2014)
      Harmonised soil data across Europe with a 1:250 000 geo-referenced soil database will allow for exchange of data across member states and the provide the information needed for reporting on issues re-lating to soil quality under a future Soil Framework Directive. The current status of soils data available in Eu-rope is inconsistent at best. The Irish Soil Information System (ISIS) project is currently developing a national soil map of 1:250,000 and an associated digital soil information system, providing both spatial and quantita-tive information on soil types and properties across Ireland. Both the map and the information system will be freely available to the public through a designated website.
    • Mapping the broad habitats of the Burren using satellite imagery

      Parr, Sharon; O’Donovan, Grace; Finn, John (Teagasc, 2006-03-01)
      This project has successfully used satellite imagery to survey and map the extent and spatial distribution of broad habitat types within the Burren, and we have represented this information on a digitised habitat map. this information on a digitised habitat map. This map is the first to show the distribution of the broad habitats of the Burren and will be an important tool in aiding future decisions as to how the habitats of the Burren should be managed to the benefit of both the farmer and the environment. The map provides the first estimate of the area of the Burren affected by scrub encroachment – this being one of the most significant threats to the EU priority habitats in the region. On a particularly challenging area with a high diversity and complexity of habitats, remote sensing appears to offer a very effective and cost-efficient alternative to broad-scale habitat mapping on a field-by-field basis. The use of high-resolution imagery and ground-truthing should be adopted to complete a detailed national survey of habitats and land use in Ireland. This would support more effective implementation of both the Agriculture sector’s obligations under the Habitats Directive, and agri-environmental schemes with wildlife objectives. The outputs provided by such mapping approaches could inform the targeting of agri-environmental objectives, and increase the efficiency of detecting areas of high conservation value for monitoring by more conventional methods. The detailed land use descriptions offered by such imagery are also of high relevance to modelling approaches and risk assessment for implementation of land use policies such as the Water Framework Directive and Nitrates Directive.
    • Markers associated with heading and aftermath heading in perennial ryegrass full-sib families

      Arojju, Sai K; Barth, Susanne; Milbourne, Dan; Conaghan, Patrick; Velmurugan, Janaki; Hodkinson, Trevor R; Byrne, Stephen L (Biomed Central, 2016-07-16)
      Background Heading and aftermath heading are important traits in perennial ryegrass because they impact forage quality. So far, genome-wide association analyses in this major forage species have only identified a small number of genetic variants associated with heading date that overall explained little of the variation. Some possible reasons include rare alleles with large phenotypic affects, allelic heterogeneity, or insufficient marker density. We established a genome-wide association panel with multiple genotypes from multiple full-sib families. This ensured alleles were present at the frequency needed to have sufficient statistical power to identify associations. We genotyped the panel via partial genome sequencing and performed genome-wide association analyses with multi-year phenotype data collected for heading date, and aftermath heading. Results Genome wide association using a mixed linear model failed to identify any variants significantly associated with heading date or aftermath heading. Our failure to identify associations for these traits is likely due to the extremely low linkage disequilibrium we observed in this population. However, using single marker analysis within each full-sib family we could identify markers and genomic regions associated with heading and aftermath heading. Using the ryegrass genome we identified putative orthologs of key heading genes, some of which were located in regions of marker-trait associations. Conclusion Given the very low levels of LD, genome wide association studies in perennial ryegrass populations are going to require very high SNP densities. Single marker analysis within full-sibs enabled us to identify significant marker-trait associations. One of these markers anchored proximal to a putative ortholog of TFL1, homologues of which have been shown to play a key role in continuous heading of some members of the rose family, Rosaceae.
    • The market for organic liquid milk in Ireland.

      Cowan, Cathal; Ni Ghraith, Dearbhla; Daly, Aidan (Teagasc, 2002-01)
      The key research question was ”what is the market potential in Ireland for organic liquid milk and related products up to 2006”? Denmark and Austria are among the most developed organic food markets in the world. Using the Diamond Model of factors contributing to competitiveness, detailed case studies of these countries were undertaken to identify the drivers in the growth of consumption of organic food and milk products. Market share for organic liquid milk in Ireland is less than 0.1% compared with 20% in Denmark and 9% in Austria. All the factors of the Diamond Model worked to grow the organic food market in Denmark and Austria. The Austrian and Danish Governments were the first in Europe to introduce legislation on organic farming and also subsidised farmers to bridge conversion to organic farming. The conventional milk sector in Ireland is very competitive but has not shown an interest in organics, whereas in Denmark the largest conventional milk processor is the main player. The small size of the Irish organic milk market means it is not a major area of rivalry at retail level. This contrasts with Denmark and Austria where retailers have driven the market. In Denmark, following approaches in 1993 from farmers’ representatives, the major retail group, FDB, lowered organic milk prices to entice consumers to switch from conventional milk. The main Danish milk processor successfully launched the ‘Harmonie’ organic brand and moved the market from niche to mainstream. In Austria, Billa, a major retailer, set market targets and introduced a high quality organic own-label brand. They encouraged farmers to switch and increase organic production by offering them five year contracts at fixed prices.
    • The market for speciality foods in Ireland

      Meehan, Hilary; Murphy, Aidan; O'Reilly, Seamus; Bogue, Joe (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      The speciality food sector has experienced above average industry growth over recent years. Most speciality foods are produced in limited quantities using non-industrial artisan techniques. The majority of speciality food producing businesses were set up in the last fifteen years, have a turnover below €635,000, are based in a rural region and employ less than ten people. The most important markets for Irish speciality food producers are the export market, food service and multiple retailers.
    • The market potential for in-conversion organic products in Ireland

      Cowan, Cathal; Connolly, Liam; Howlett, Brendan; Meehan, Hilary; Ryan, Jane; Mahon, Denise; McIntyre, Bridin; Fanning, Martin; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2005-08-01)
      This report deals with the market for and financial feasibility of converting from conventional to organic food production in Ireland. All members of the organic supply chain were included in the study i.e. farmers, intermediaries, retailers and consumers, to examine the potential of a market for conversion grade produce. Conversion products are those produced in the second year of the conversion phase from conventional to organic farming. Products do not attain full organic status until this is completed.