Céad Mile Fáilte go T-Stór (Welcome to T- Stór)

T-Stór is Teagasc’s Open Access Repository, maintained by the Teagasc Library Service. Stór is the Gaelic word for Repository or Store or Warehouse, and T-Stór is an online “store” of Teagasc Research outputs and related documents. T-Stór collects preserves and makes freely available scholarly communication, including peer-reviewed articles, working papers and conference papers created by Teagasc researchers. Where material has already been published it is made available subject to the open-access policies of the original publishers. About Teagasc

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Animal & Grassland Research & Innovation Programme [1163]
Crops, Environment & Land Use Programme [583]
Food Programme [1206]
Rural Economy & Development Programme [272]
Irish Journal of Agricultural & Food Research [317]
Other [303]
  • Description of patterns of ear and tail lesions during the grower-finisher period in a commercial pig farm

    van Staaveren, Nienke; Pessoa, Joana; Boyle, Laura Ann; Calderón Díaz, Julia Adriana; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Scheme; PDPG-0165 (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2024-06-27)
    Background Ear and tail lesions are prevalent indicators of impaired welfare observed in pig production with different multifactorial causes. Understanding the progression of ear and tail lesions over time is important to implement preventative strategies on commercial pig farms. Therefore, this case study aimed to provide a detailed account of patterns of ear and tail lesions in pigs on a single commercial farm during the grower-finisher period. Case presentation A total of 1,676 12-week old pigs (n = 773 females and n = 903 males, all tail docked) were followed from arrival to the grower facilities until transferred to the finisher stage on a commercial pig farm in Ireland. Pigs were individually weighed and inspected for the severity of fresh ear and tail lesions (score 0–4) on transfer to the first grower (24.9 ± 5.33 kg, 12 weeks of age, n = 1,676 pigs), second grower (33.3 ± 7.04 kg, 14 weeks of age, n = 1,641 pigs), and finisher stage (60.2 ± 7.74 kg, 18 weeks of age, n = 1,626 pigs). Due to the low number of pigs with high scores, ear lesions were classified as no (score 0), mild (score 1), moderate (score 2) and severe (score ≥ 3) and tail lesions were classified as no (score 0), mild (score 1), and moderate-to-severe (score ≥ 2). Ear lesions were more prevalent than tail lesions at each inspection. There were approx. 19% of pigs with ear lesions at all three inspections but no pigs presented with tail lesions at all three inspections. When considering the specific severity categories, we observed 32 different ear lesion score combinations and 15 different tail lesion score combinations across the three inspections. Conclusion The high number of observed patterns of ear and tail lesions suggest large individual variability in lesion progression. Ear lesions were more of an issue than tail lesions and little is known about this health and welfare problem indicating that further research into causes and management strategies is needed.
  • Development of an animal health testing tool to reduce antimicrobial use on farms: perceptions, implications, and needs of Irish dairy farmers and farm veterinarians

    McGrath, Karen; Regan, Áine; Kennedy, Emer; Russell, Tomás (2024-06-21)
    Abstract Background The threat of antimicrobial resistance is triggering the need for behavioural change towards antimicrobial use on Irish farms. Newly introduced veterinary medicine regulations are mandating the restricted and more prudent use of antimicrobials in the animal health sector. The need to reduce antimicrobials has placed a greater emphasis on the importance of animal health testing, however, issues with current testing practices are affecting diagnosis and subsequent drug usage. There is potential for digital technologies to address these issues and reduce antimicrobial use on farms, however, for these tools to be successful, they would need to be developed in collaboration with future end users. Results Using qualitative approaches (focus groups), this study engages with dairy farmers and farm veterinary practitioners to detail current challenges with animal health diagnosis and to explore the initial development of a rapid, on-farm animal health testing tool to address these challenges. Issues with timing and testing, the role of knowledge and experience, and veterinarian availability all affect the ability of farmers and veterinarians to diagnose animal health issues on farm. These issues are having negative implications including the increased and unnecessary use of antimicrobials. An on-farm testing tool would help mitigate these effects by allowing veterinarians to achieve rapid diagnosis, facilitating the timely and targeted treatment of animal illnesses, helping to reduce overall antimicrobial use on farms. However, engagement with end users has highlighted that if a tool like this is not developed correctly, it could have unintended negative consequences such as misdiagnosis, increased antimicrobial use, challenges to farmer-veterinarian relationships, and data misuse. This study outlines initial end user needs and requirements for a testing tool but suggests that in order to successfully design and develop this tool, co-design approaches such as Design Thinking should be applied; to mitigate future negative impacts, and to ensure a testing tool like this is designed specifically to address Irish dairy farmers and farm veterinarians’ values and needs, ensuring responsible and successful uptake and use. Conclusions Digital tools can be effective in reducing antimicrobial use on farms, however, to be successful, these tools should be designed in a user centred way.
  • A Global Review of Monitoring, Modeling, and Analyses of Water Demand in Dairy Farming

    Shine, Philip; Murphy, Michael D.; Upton, John; Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland; 18/RDD/317 (MDPI AG, 2020-09-03)
    The production of milk must be balanced with the sustainable consumption of water resources to ensure the future sustainability of the global dairy industry. Thus, this review article aimed to collate and summarize the literature in the dairy water-usage domain. While green water use (e.g., rainfall) was found to be largest category of water use on both stall and pasture-based dairy farms, on-farm blue water (i.e., freshwater) may be much more susceptible to local water shortages due to the nature of its localized supply through rivers, lakes, or groundwater aquifers. Research related to freshwater use on dairy farms has focused on monitoring, modeling, and analyzing the parlor water use and free water intake of dairy cows. Parlor water use depends upon factors related to milk precooling, farm size, milking systems, farming systems, and washing practices. Dry matter intake is a prominent variable in explaining free water intake variability; however, due to the unavailability of accurate data, some studies have reported moving away from dry matter intake at the expense of prediction accuracy. Machine-learning algorithms have been shown to improve dairy water-prediction accuracy by 23%, which may allow for coarse model inputs without reducing accuracy. Accurate models of on-farm water use allow for an increased number of dairy farms to be used in water footprinting studies, as the need for physical metering equipment is mitigated.
  • Synthetic Sequencing Standards: A Guide to Database Choice for Rumen Microbiota Amplicon Sequencing Analysis

    Smith, Paul E.; Waters, Sinead M.; Gómez Expósito, Ruth; Smidt, Hauke; Carberry, Ciara A.; McCabe, Matthew S.; Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine; 16/RD/ERAGAS/1 (Frontiers Media SA, 2020-12-08)
    Our understanding of complex microbial communities, such as those residing in the rumen, has drastically advanced through the use of high throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies. Indeed, with the use of barcoded amplicon sequencing, it is now cost effective and computationally feasible to identify individual rumen microbial genera associated with ruminant livestock nutrition, genetics, performance and greenhouse gas production. However, across all disciplines of microbial ecology, there is currently little reporting of the use of internal controls for validating HTS results. Furthermore, there is little consensus of the most appropriate reference database for analyzing rumen microbiota amplicon sequencing data. Therefore, in this study, a synthetic rumen-specific sequencing standard was used to assess the effects of database choice on results obtained from rumen microbial amplicon sequencing. Four DADA2 reference training sets (RDP, SILVA, GTDB, and RefSeq + RDP) were compared to assess their ability to correctly classify sequences included in the rumen-specific sequencing standard. In addition, two thresholds of phylogenetic bootstrapping, 50 and 80, were applied to investigate the effect of increasing stringency. Sequence classification differences were apparent amongst the databases. For example the classification of Clostridium differed between all databases, thus highlighting the need for a consistent approach to nomenclature amongst different reference databases. It is hoped the effect of database on taxonomic classification observed in this study, will encourage research groups across various microbial disciplines to develop and routinely use their own microbiome-specific reference standard to validate analysis pipelines and database choice.
  • An investigation into the grazing efficiency of perennial ryegrass varieties

    Tubritt, Tomas; Delaby, Luc; Gilliland, Trevor; O’Donovan, Michael (Wiley, 2020-06)
    The objective of this study was to compare the grazing efficiency of 30 perennial ryegrass varieties, differing in ploidy and heading date. Plots were grazed by lactating dairy cows and managed under a rotational grazing system with 19 grazing events occurring over two years. Pre-grazing and post-grazing compressed sward heights were measured with a rising plate meter. A mixed model was used to predict the post-grazing sward height of each variety based on year, grazing event, block and pre-grazing sward height. Residual grazed height (RGH) was derived as the difference between the actual and predicted post-grazing sward height and was used as the measure of grazing efficiency. Negative RGH values indicated that the actual herbage removed was greater than that predicted and so indicated a superior grazing efficiency. Varieties differed in their level of grazing efficiency (p < .001), with RGH values ranging from −0.38 to +0.34 cm. Tetraploid varieties exhibited significantly greater grazing efficiency performance than diploids (p < .001), with average RGH values of −0.13 and +0.13 cm respectively. A significant difference in grazing efficiency was found among recommended perennial ryegrass varieties that are not being recorded by mechanically harvested simulated grazing protocols. A variety reappraisal that included grazing efficiency could identify varieties capable of improving on-farm livestock productivity from grass.

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