• Observations on the water distribution and extractable sugar content in carrot slices after pulsed electric field treatment

      Aguilo-Aguayo, Ingrid; Downey, Gerard; Keenan, Derek F.; Lyng, James G.; Brunton, Nigel; Rai, Dilip K (Elsevier, 2014-06-13)
      The impact of pulsed electric field (PEF) processing conditions on the distribution of water in carrot tissue and extractability of soluble sugars from carrot slices was studied. Time domain NMR relaxometry was used to investigate the water proton mobility in PEF-treated carrot samples. Three distinct transverse relaxation peaks were observed in untreated carrots. After PEF treatment only two slightly-overlapping peaks were found; these were attributed to water present in the cytoplasm and vacuole of carrot xylem and phloem tissues. This post-treatment observation indicated an increase in water permeability of tissues and/or a loss of integrity in the tonoplast. In general, the stronger the electric field applied, the lower the area representing transverse relaxation (T2) values irrespective of treatment duration. Moreover an increase in sucrose, β- and α-glucose and fructose concentrations of carrot slice extracts after PEF treatment suggested increases in both cell wall and vacuole permeability as a result of exposure to pulsed electric fields.
    • Occupational fatalities amongst farm workers in Ireland, 1992 – 2008

      Meredith, David; McNamara, John; Grant, Jim (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      Background: Whilst occupational fatalities amongst farm workers have been studied internationally little research has been published concerning farm fatalities or the demography farm fatalities in Ireland. Aims 1) To establish the incidence of farm fatalities during the 1992 – 2009 period in Ireland, 2) to explore the changing age profile of those experiencing fatal injuries on farms in Ireland. Methods: An official dataset containing the details of every fatal farm accident during the 1992 – 2009 period is used to evaluate changes in the number and age profile of farm fatalities in Ireland. Results: There were 304 deaths on farms during the 1992 – 2009 period in Ireland. The average number of annual fatalities is declining having fallen by 16% from 18 to 16 per year during this time. The fatality rate has however increased from 15 to 22 per 100,000 workers. This has been driven by a reduction in the number of workers employed on farms and, it is hypothesised, rapid ageing of the farm workforce. The demographic profile of those killed on farms changed significantly over the period. There are fewer deaths amongst younger cohorts. Older farmers, those over 55 years of age, now account for the vast majority of all fatal accidents. Conclusion: These findings highlight the changing nature of fatal farm incidents over the 1993 – 2009 period in Ireland. The increasing number of fatalities amongst older farmers suggests that Ireland’s Farm Safety Partnership needs to place greater emphasis of raising awareness amongst older farmers of fatality risks.
    • Offspring subcutaneous adipose markers are sensitive to the timing of maternal gestational weight gain

      Giblin, Linda; Darimont, Christian; Leone, Patricia; McNamara, Louise B.; Blancher, Florence; Berry, Donagh P.; Castaneda-Gutierrez, Eurídice; Lawlor, Peadar G (Biomed Central, 2015-03-08)
      Background Excessive maternal weight gain during pregnancy impacts on offspring health. This study focused on the timing of maternal gestational weight gain, using a porcine model with mothers of normal pre-pregnancy weight. Methods Trial design ensured the trajectory of maternal gestational weight gain differed across treatments in early, mid and late gestation. Diet composition did not differ. On day 25 gestation, sows were assigned to one of five treatments: Control sows received a standard gestation diet of 2.3 kg/day (30 MJ DE/day) from early to late gestation (day 25–110 gestation). E sows received 4.6 kg food/day in early gestation (day 25–50 gestation). M sows doubled their food intake in mid gestation (day 50–80 gestation). EM sows doubled their food intake during both early and mid gestation (day 25–80 gestation). L sows consumed 3.5 kg food/day in late gestation (day 80–110 gestation). Offspring body weight and food intake levels were measured from birth to adolescence. Markers of lipid metabolism, hypertrophy and inflammation were investigated in subcutaneous adipose tissue of adolescent offspring. Results The trajectory of gestational weight gain differed across treatments. However total gestational weight gain did not differ except for EM sows who were the heaviest and fattest mothers at parturition. Offspring birth weight did not differ across treatments. Subcutaneous adipose tissue from EM offspring differed significantly from controls, with elevated mRNA levels of lipogenic (CD36, ACACB and LPL), nutrient transporters (FABP4 and GLUT4), lipolysis (HSL and ATGL), adipocyte size (MEST) and inflammation (PAI-1) indicators. The subcutaneous adipose depot from L offspring exhibited elevated levels of CD36, ACACB, LPL, GLUT4 and FABP4 mRNA transcripts compared to control offspring. Conclusions Increasing gestational weight gain in early gestation had the greatest impact on offspring postnatal growth rate. Increasing maternal food allowance in late gestation appeared to shift the offspring adipocyte focus towards accumulation of fat. Mothers who gained the most weight during gestation (EM mothers) gave birth to offspring whose subcutaneous adipose tissue, at adolescence, appeared hyperactive compared to controls. This study concluded that mothers, who gained more than the recommended weight gain in mid and late gestation, put their offspring adipose tissue at risk of dysfunction.
    • Offspring subcutaneous adipose markers are sensitive to the timing of maternal gestational weight gain

      Giblin, Linda; Darimont, Christian; Leone, Patricia; McNamara, Louise B.; Blancher, Florence; Berry, Donagh P.; Castaneda-Gutierrez, Euridice; Lawlor, Peadar G (Biomed Central, 2015-03-08)
      Background Excessive maternal weight gain during pregnancy impacts on offspring health. This study focused on the timing of maternal gestational weight gain, using a porcine model with mothers of normal pre-pregnancy weight. Methods Trial design ensured the trajectory of maternal gestational weight gain differed across treatments in early, mid and late gestation. Diet composition did not differ. On day 25 gestation, sows were assigned to one of five treatments: Control sows received a standard gestation diet of 2.3 kg/day (30 MJ DE/day) from early to late gestation (day 25–110 gestation). E sows received 4.6 kg food/day in early gestation (day 25–50 gestation). M sows doubled their food intake in mid gestation (day 50–80 gestation). EM sows doubled their food intake during both early and mid gestation (day 25–80 gestation). L sows consumed 3.5 kg food/day in late gestation (day 80–110 gestation). Offspring body weight and food intake levels were measured from birth to adolescence. Markers of lipid metabolism, hypertrophy and inflammation were investigated in subcutaneous adipose tissue of adolescent offspring. Results The trajectory of gestational weight gain differed across treatments. However total gestational weight gain did not differ except for EM sows who were the heaviest and fattest mothers at parturition. Offspring birth weight did not differ across treatments. Subcutaneous adipose tissue from EM offspring differed significantly from controls, with elevated mRNA levels of lipogenic (CD36, ACACB and LPL), nutrient transporters (FABP4 and GLUT4), lipolysis (HSL and ATGL), adipocyte size (MEST) and inflammation (PAI-1) indicators. The subcutaneous adipose depot from L offspring exhibited elevated levels of CD36, ACACB, LPL, GLUT4 and FABP4 mRNA transcripts compared to control offspring. Conclusions Increasing gestational weight gain in early gestation had the greatest impact on offspring postnatal growth rate. Increasing maternal food allowance in late gestation appeared to shift the offspring adipocyte focus towards accumulation of fat. Mothers who gained the most weight during gestation (EM mothers) gave birth to offspring whose subcutaneous adipose tissue, at adolescence, appeared hyperactive compared to controls. This study concluded that mothers, who gained more than the recommended weight gain in mid and late gestation, put their offspring adipose tissue at risk of dysfunction.
    • On farm and fresh produce management

      Reilly, Kim (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2013-01-02)
      This chapter contains sections titled: Introduction, Pre-harvest factors affecting phytochemical content, Harvest and post-harvest management practices, Future prospects, and References.
    • On farm welfare assessment of beef cattle using an environmentally-based welfare index and investigation of the human-animal relationship

      Earley, Bernadette; Mazurek, Mickael; Murray, Margaret; Prendiville, Daniel J (Teagasc, 2009-01-01)
      On farm welfare assessment of beef cattle using an environmentally-based welfare index and investigation of the human-animal relationship. Study 1. Animal welfare index (AWI): an on-farm survey of beef suckler farms in Ireland. Study 2. Investigation and specificity of behavioural fear responses of heifers to different fear-eliciting situations involving humans.
    • On farm welfare assessment of beef cattle using an environmentally-based welfare index and investigation of the human-animal relationship.

      Earley, Bernadette; Mazurek, M.; Murray, M.; Prendiville, Daniel J. (Teagasc, 2009-01-01)
      Study 1. Animal welfare index (AWI): an on-farm survey of beef suckler farms in Ireland Summary The objectives were to (i) examine the welfare status of Irish beef suckler herds using an animal welfare index (AWI) adapted from a previously validated welfare assessment method (TGI); (ii) determine the influence of the stockpersons’ status (full: FT or part-time: PT), their interest in farming and herd size on the AWI; and (iii) compare the AWI with the TGI. Beef suckler farms (196 throughout 13 counties) were assessed once with housed cattle and once with cattle at grass using the AWI. Twenty-three of the 196 farms were revisited a year after using the AWI and the TGI. Thirty-three indicators were collected in five categories: locomotion (5 indicators); social interactions (7), flooring (5), environment (7) and stockpersonship (9). Three indicators relating to the size of the farm were also collected. The mean AWI was 65% and ranged from 54% to 83%. The grass period represented 16.5% of mean total points of the AWI. Seventy percent of the farms were rated as “Very Good” or “Excellent”. There was no difference (P > 0.05) in AWI between FT and PT farmers. PT farmers had greater (P = 0.01) “social interactions”: calving (P = 0.03) and weaning (P < 0.001) scores. FT farmers had cleaner animals (P = 0.03) and less lameness (P = 0.01). The number of animals and the interest of the stockperson were negatively and positively correlated (P = 0.001), respectively, with the AWI. A hierarchical classification was performed to examine how the indicators influenced the AWI. Farms could be categorized into three classes, the most discriminating factors for the classes were the interest of the farmer (higher scores when the farmer was more interested in farming) and the number of animals (higher scores when the herds were smaller). Study 2. Investigation and specificity of behavioural fear responses of heifers to different fear-eliciting situations involving humans. Summary This study investigated the specificity of fear responses in housed beef heifers’ over time using four behavioural tests; flight, docility, fear and chute tests. The flight, (time to join peers and avoidance distance), docility (isolation and handling) and fear (4 phases; responses of isolated heifers in (i), the absence (ii), the presence, of food and responses to a stationary human (iii) without and (iv) with visual contact of their peers) tests were carried out over three consecutive days, in that order, commencing on day 30 and again on day 80 post-housing. The chute test (movement through a race and agitation of heifers during blood sampling) was performed on day 84 post-housing. Scores (higher scores meant less fearful animals) were assigned to the fear responses. Heifers had the lowest (P < 0.05) scores during phases (i) and (iii) of the fear test and the highest (P< 0.05) during phase (iv). The most docile heifers during the docility test were the most agitated during the chute test (P < 0.001). The fear scores were sTable over time for the docility test but decreased for the fear test. The fear scores when restrained (chute test) were not correlated with other scores except for the agitation. A PCA showed that two components (avoidance of stimulus and general agitation explained 49% of the total variation. In conclusion, this study showed that fear responses of heifers can vary over time and that fear is not unitary but multidimensional. Consequently, fear responses are condition specific and tests assessing fear should consider their specificity.
    • An on-farm investigation of beef suckler herds using an animal welfare index (AWI)

      Mazurek, Mickael; Prendiville, Daniel J; Crowe, Mark A; Veissier, Isabelle; Earley, Bernadette (Biomed Central, 2010-12-13)
      Background: Beef suckler farms (194 farms throughout 13 counties) were assessed once with housed cattle and once with cattle at grass using an animal welfare index (AWI). Twenty-three of the 194 farms were revisited a year later and re-evaluated using the AWI and the Tier-Gerechtheits-Index 35L/2000 (TGI35L/2000). Thirty-three indicators were collected in five categories: locomotion (5 indicators); social interactions (between animals) (7), flooring (5), environment (7) and Stockpersonship (9). Three indicators relating to the size of the farm were also collected. Improving animal welfare is an increasingly important aspect of livestock production systems predominantly due to increased consumer concern about the source of animal products. The objectives were (i) to evaluate animal welfare of Irish beef suckler herds using an animal welfare index (AWI), (ii) to examine correlations between parameters, how they influence the AWI and investigate the applicability of the parameters used, (iii) to investigate the impact of the activity of the farmer (full-time or part-time), the interest of the farmer and the number of animals on the AWI. Results: The mean AWI was 65% and ranged from 54% to 83%. The grazing period represented 16.5% of the total points of the AWI. Seventy percent of the farms were rated as "Very Good" or "Excellent". There was no difference (P > 0.05) in AWI between full-time and part-time farmers. Part-time farmers had greater (P = 0.01) "social interactions": calving (P = 0.03) and weaning (P < 0.001) scores. Full-time farmers had cleaner animals (P = 0.03) and their animals had less lameness (P = 0.01). The number of animals on-farm and the interest of the Stockperson were negatively and positively correlated (P = 0.001), respectively, with the AWI. A hierarchical classification was performed to examine how the indicators influenced the AWI. Conclusion: The AWI was easily applicable for an on-farm evaluation of welfare. The Stockpersonship was an important factor in determining the AWI (11% of the total variation) more specifically, the interest of the farmer. Part and full-time farming did not differ (P > 0.05) in AWI scores. This method could, with further development, be used in countries with both intensive and/or extensive production systems and would require substantially less resources than animal-based methods.
    • On-line Sensor Control for Milk Powder and Cheese Manufacture.

      O’Callaghan, Donal; Schulz, Daniela; O'Donnell, Colm; Duffy, Arthur; Hade, John; Howard, Vincent (Teagasc, 2001-08-01)
      This project investigated the use of on-line sensors of rheological characteristics which can be measured during the manufacture of milk powder and cheese. The objective is to use on-line measurements to fine tune each process, so as to compensate for the variability of milk.
    • Opportunities in the Irish foodservice sector for small manufacturers

      O'Connell, Sinead; Henchion, Maeve; Collins, Alan (Teagasc, 2004-09)
      The foodservice sector offers significant opportunities for some small-scale food manufacturers. This research provides information to help them exploit this opportunity through a survey of 100 food buyers in the hotel sub-sector.
    • Optimal system of contract matings for use in a commercial dairy population

      McParland, Sinead; Kearney, K. F.; Lopez-Villalobos, N.; Berry, Donagh P. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2009)
      Managing the contribution of prominent animals to the pedigree of livestock populations is a topic of increasing importance worldwide. The aim of this study was to evaluate methods of controlling the accumulation of inbreeding in the Irish Holstein-Friesian population through the methodology used to arrange contract matings. Two non-random mating systems were investigated, linear programming (LP) and sequential programming (SEQ); these were compared with random mating (RAN) and mating of the best sires to the best dams (TOP). All mating systems were compared across a range of objectives: to maximise genetic merit for the economic breeding index (EBI) used in Ireland, to minimise population coancestry with breeding females (R-value), and a dual objective of simultaneously maximising EBI and minimising coancestry with breeding females. Algorithms were developed to identify elite dams and sires from the national herd for use in the contract mating programme. One thousand contract matings were generated using each selection method, with the aim of producing 83 test sires (the number of bulls which it is feasible to test annually in Ireland) for use in a progeny testing scheme. The top 1,000 matings, as selected by the LP and SEQ methods, performed similarly when maximising the dual objective (average progeny EBI of €145 and an average coancestry of the progeny to the population of breeding females of 0.93%). The TOP and RAN methods both selected phantom progeny with higher coancestry with the breeding female population (1.21% and 1.34%, respectively) than the LP and SEQ methods. However the matings from the TOP method generated progeny of higher genetic merit (EBI = €199), whilst the progeny generated from the RAN method had lower genetic merit (EBI = €127) than those selected by the LP or SEQ methods.
    • Optimal use of animal slurries for input reduction and protection of the environment in sustainable agricultural systems.

      Carton, Owen T.; Lenehan, J.J.; Ryan, D. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      The objectives of manure management in sustainable agricultural systems are to optimise nutrient recovery by the crop and to reduce nutrient losses to the environment. However, farmers still have many practical problems in adopting and applying the research developed for improving manure management strategies. This project identified and addressed three of these problems. These concerned the provision of decision support in relation to environmental risk assessment and application decision strategies; determining the nutrient value of slurry and the development of manure application technology.
    • Optimisation of Cattle Housing Systems for Beef Farmers

      Lenehan, J.J. (Teagasc, 2003-05-01)
      The provision of animal accommodation and feed storage is essential for the efficient management of a beef herd. Housing should provide living conditions that are conducive to good animal health and efficient production while optimising labour efficiency and minimising the potential for negative impacts to the environment. This report compares the merits of a number of systems.
    • Optimisation of hydrolysis conditions for antioxidant hydrolysate production from whey protein isolates using response surface methodology

      Zhidong, L.; Benheng, G.; Xuezhong, C.; Zhenmin, L.; Yun, D.; Hongliang, H.; Wen, R. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2013)
      The hydrolysates of whey protein isolates (WPI) by papain were found to possess antioxidant activity. Response surface methodology (RSM) was used to improve the antioxidant activity of these hydrolysates. The model was validated and shown to be statistically adequate and accurate in predicting the response. For both 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH) radical-scavenging activity and reducing power responses, the optimised conditions were achieved at an enzyme to substrate ratio (E/S, w/w) of 2.22%, hydrolysis time of 3.60 h, and hydrolysis temperature of 45.70 °C. Under the optimised conditions, DPPH radical-scavenging activity of the hydrolysates of WPI was 31.48% and the reducing power was 0.612 at 700 nm. The results of confirmation experiments indicated that the model was powerful and suitable for estimation of the experimental value. The hydrolysate of WPI has potential application as an antioxidant in food products.
    • Optimisation of Ingredient Formulation in Processed Meat Products.

      O'Kennedy, Brendan; Neville, Denis; Kelly, Philip M (Teagasc, 2000-10-01)
      Reformed and restructured meat are two major categories of processed meat products. Reformed meat products require intact meat pieces to bind together while restructured meat products are extensively minced prior to restructuring. Salts such as sodium chloride and phosphates together with mechanical treatment and heat, have been used to bind meat pieces together. In the process the proteins in muscle become soluble, bind large amounts of water and gel on heating. While heat-induced gelation of soluble meat protein provides binding in reformed meat products and reduces cook losses in restructured meat products, no binding occurs in raw meat systems. Non-meat proteins, especially soya protein, are routinely used in processed meat products, often in conjunction with salts, to increase water and fat binding during the cooking process. However, such proteins do not bind intact meat pieces in either the raw or cooked state. Transglutaminase (TGase) is a food-grade commercially available enzyme which can crosslink suitable proteins leading to the formation of a protein matrix (gel) and immobilisation of large quantities of water. This property could improve the water-binding properties of non-meat proteins in restructured meat products. The prospect of crosslinking native meat proteins and non-meat proteins or native meat proteins on adjacent meat pieces would make salt-free reformed meat products a realistic objective. Hence, the main objective of this project was to study protein-protein interactions in reformed and restructured meats, especially between meat proteins and added non-meat proteins in the absence of salts but in the presence of a protein crosslinking enzyme.
    • Optimisation of Nutrient Supply for Beef Cattle Fed Grass or Silage.

      Moloney, Aidan P.; O'Kiely, Padraig; Hickey, M.C.; Adams, L.A. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      Since forage forms a large part of growing ruminant rations in Ireland, the trust of this project was to examine the effect of ensilage on ruminal digestion of grass and to examine ruminal microbial protein and intestinally absorbable protein supplied by grass and/or clover. A range of in vitro and in vivo techniques were employed and strategies used by commercial beef producers to optimise cattle growth (and nutrient supply) were also documented. To accomplish the aims of this project, a range of methodology developments/ modifications in vitro and in vivo was carried out. From in vitro methodology development it was concluded that : (i) Compared with fresh silage, drying per se may give artifically higher rates of dry matter (DM) digestion. (ii) Greater experimental precision can be obtained by ensuring a greater substrate surface area to reaction volume ratio in each reaction vessel. (iii) For studies where the rate of digestion is of greatest importance, pre-incubation of frozen inoculum in a nutrient medium best simulated the cellulolytic activity of unfrozen inoculum. In studies that require large volumes of inoculum for extended work, freezing directly is justified. (iv) Neutral detergent extraction altered in vitro digestion characteristics of silage. The residue after washing with water at 70°C has a high residual fibre concentration and is more representative of the structural components of silage ingested by ruminants. (v) A semi-continuous culture system developed at Grange Research Centre can successfully model in vitro ruminal digestion of fibre and starch-based diets in a controlled environment. From in vivo methodology development it was concluded that : (i) Oven drying at 60°C and correction for loss of volatiles gives a good estimation of DM concentration of ruminal particulate digesta. This procedure has the added advantage that drying at 60°C allows the residual materials to be analysed for fibre fractions without concern for heat damage which can occur at a higher drying temperature. (ii) A naso-ruminal sampling device can be used to measure the relative patterns of fermentation of contrasting diet types when in situ for up to 7 days. (ii) Application of a vacuum to withdraw samples had no negative effect on ruminal fluid variables. From in vitro studies on grass digestion, it was concluded that : (i) Ensiling of grass decreased the apparent extent of digestion of cell walls when in the presence of the whole plant and that this largely reflected an increase in the lag time before digestion commenced. (ii) Ensiling of grass did not negatively affect the digestion of isolated cell walls. (iii) There is a negative impact of ensiling on microbial protein production from the water soluble carbohydrate fraction of grass. (iv) Supplementation with the water soluble fraction of grass significantly improved the apparent extent of digestion for ensiled forages when compared with the supplementation of the post-ensiling fraction in a batch culture system. (v) There is a negative impact of maturity on the pattern of cell wall fermentation and that this impact can be decreased by ensiling method. From studies on herbage digestion in vivo it was concluded that : (i) Grass silage type had a greater effect than the rate of concentrate fermentation on ruminal microbal protein synthesis. (ii) Harvesting time had a bigger impact on nutrient supply from herbage than sward type (grass or grass/clover). (iii) Increasing clover content in the herbage decreased the biological value (g nitrogen retained/kg absorbed) of dietary protein. Diverse stratgies were used on commercial beef farms to optimise nutrient supply and animal growth. Average animal performance on individual farms was not better than would be typically recorded in a research environment. There was scope on many of the farms to improve technical performance and to decrease the costs of production.
    • Optimising Nutrition Of Containerised Nursery Stock

      Maher, M.J.; Prasad, M.; Campion, Jerry; Mahon, M.J. (Teagasc, 2008-08-01)
      Irish peat, used as a growing medium in horticulture, tends to have a higher state of decomposition and a higher potential buffering capacity than some of the younger peats from Scandinavian or Baltic countries. Particularly where hard water, with high bicarbonate content, is used for irrigation this could be an important property in giving the peat greater stability with respect to pH levels throughout the cropping period. It may also influence the optimum rate of lime to be applied to adjust the pH prior to cropping. The effect of peat type on the performance of nursery stock plants, Azalea and Hebe in 2-litre containers, was studied when irrigated with both soft and hard water and with different rates of lime in the peat growing medium. When irrigated with hard water, the rate of pH increase was less with relatively decomposed Irish peat than with younger Baltic peats. Using Irish peat, a rate of dolomitic lime addition to the peat of 4 kg/m3 was best for Hebe when irrigated with soft water. Irrigating with hard water the lime rate could vary between 2 and 4 kg/m3 without affecting plant performance. With the Baltic peats, increasing the rate of lime addition above 2 kg/m3 tended to reduce growth of Hebe. Azalea gave better results when irrigated with soft water. In hard water areas therefore it is advisable, if possible, to collect rain water from a greenhouse roof for irrigation purposes. A zero rate of lime gave inferior results with Azalea. With hard water a rate of 1 kg/m3 was optimum. With soft water this could be increased to 2 kg/m3 without damage. New formulations of the controlled release fertiliser (CRF) have been introduced recently. An experiment was carried out to evaluate the CRFs available in Ireland for the production of containerised nursery stock over a 12 month period. The effect of rate of CRF was also studied. Experiments were also located in the Colleges of Horticulture in Warrenstown and Kildalton. All the CRFs in these experiments produced acceptable results in terms of plant performance. There were differences between the CRFs but these were not consistent between the experiments. The vigorous species Lonicera pileata and Escallonia macrantha responed positively to rates of CRF up to 8 kg/m3. The conifer, Thuja plicata gave no response to rates above 6 kg/m3. In an experiment over two seasons using 20 nursery stock species, a liquid feeding system resulted in heavier plants of most species than did one based on a controlled release fertiliser.
    • Optimising sward structure and herbage yield for the performance of dairy cows at pasture.

      Casey, I.A.; Brereton, A.J. (Teagasc, 1999-12-01)
      The basic unit of intake is the bite. The total daily intake of grazed grass is determined by the number of bites taken and the weight of the average bite. In this project the focus was on sward structure (architecture) and its effects on bite volume and weight. There were two objectives. The first was to determine the plant growth mechanism responsible for variations in sward structure. The investigation was carried out at The Queen’s University in Belfast and involved microscopic study of leaves from plants grown under controlled conditions. The second objective, to determine how bite volume and mass was affected by differences in sward structure was a field study using fistulated cows and was done at Moorepark.
    • Optimising The Response To Supplementary Concentrates By Beef Cattle In Winter

      Keane, Michael G.; Drennan, Michael J; Moloney, Aidan P (Teagasc, 2008-01-01)
      Concentrates are a major component of feed costs in winter finishing of beef cattle. Two separate experiments were carried out to evaluate the response to increasing supplementary concentrate level with grass silage and the effects of feeding the silage and concentrates separately or as a total mixed ration (TMR). In experiment 1, a total of 117 finishing steers (initial live weight 538 kg, s.d. 35.5) were assigned to a preexperimental slaughter group of 9 animals and to 6 feeding treatments of 18 animals each. The feeding treatments were: 1) silage (SO) only offered ad libitum, 2) SO plus a low level of concentrates offered separately (LS), 3) SO plus a low level of concentrates offered as a TMR (LM), 4) SO plus a medium level of concentrates offered separately (MS), 5) SO plus a medium level of concentrates offered as a TMR (MM), and 6) concentrates ad libitum plus a restricted silage allowance (AL). Low and medium target concentrate levels were 3 and 6 kg dry matter (DM) per head daily. When silage and concentrates were fed separately, the daily concentrate allowance was given in one morning feed. The animals were individually fed for a mean period of 132 days. After slaughter, carcasses were weighed and graded and the ribs joint was dissected into its component tissues. Silage DM intake decreased but total DM intake increased with increasing concentrate level. Live weight gains for SO, LS, LM, MS, MM and AL were 0.34, 0.86, 0.86, 1.02, 1.00 and 1.12 (s.e. 0.064) kg/day, respectively. Corresponding carcass weight gains were 0.25, 0.58, 0.58, 0.71, 0.68 and 0.82 (s.e. 0.028) kg/day. All measures of fatness increased, ribs joint bone proportion decreased, and muscle proportion was not significantly affected by dietary concentrate level. There were no significant interactions between concentrate level and method of feeding. Compared with offering the feeds separately, feeding a TMR increased silage DM intake by proportionately 0.06 and total DM intake by proportionately 0.04. Otherwise, method of feeding had no significant effect on performance, slaughter or carcass traits. Mean rumen pH decreased while ammonia concentration tended to increase with increasing concentrate level. Total volatile fatty acids and the acetate to propionate ratio were lowest for SO. Method of feeding had no significant effect on rumen fermentation.
    • Optimisng the Reponse to Supplementary Concentrates by Beef Cattle in Winter.

      Keane, Michael G.; Drennan, Michael J; Moloney, Aidan P (Teagasc, 2008-01-01)
      Concentrates are a major component of feed costs in winter finishing of beef cattle. Two separate experiments were carried out to evaluate the response to increasing supplementary concentrate level with grass silage and the effects of feeding the silage and concentrates separately or as a total mixed ration (TMR).