• Walking in the Irish countryside – Landowner preferences and attitudes to improved public access provision

      Buckley, Cathal; Hynes, Stephen; van Rensburg, Tom M.; Doherty, Edel; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Taylor & Francis, 2009-11-18)
      This paper explores the attitudes of landowners across Ireland to the wider provision of public access for recreational walking using a multinomial logit model. The study also investigates the level of compensation required to improve the supply of this public good. Results indicate that 51% of landowners are not willing to provide access (non providers), 21% are willing to provide access free of charge (free providers) and 28% seek compensation (willing providers). Our findings indicate that participation by landowners in a proposed public access scheme is influenced by landowners’ experience with walkers, farm type, farm insurance costs, household demographics, regional variations, opportunity cost of land and participation in other agri-environment schemes. Mean willingness to accept for landowners willing to facilitate improved public access for walking was found to be €0.27 per metre of walkway.
    • Weaning Mart Survey

      Prendiville, Daniel J.; Earley, Bernadette (Teagasc, 2001-04-01)
      The weanling survey was carried out for the period January 1998 to December 1999. * There were 123,259 weanling surveyed. * The distance travelled to the mart ranged from 1.4 to 216 km. * All weanlings travelled < 4 h to the mart. * The majority of weanlings travelled < 50 km to and from the mart. * The distance travelled from the mart ranged from 2.1 to 364km. * Only 32 weanlings travelled > 500 km on the combined jour neys to and from the mart. * The longest distance travelled on the combined journey to and from the mart was 579 km. * The number of weanlings that remained within the county where the marts were located ranged from 23.5% to 99.5%. * No animals travelled for > 8 h. * There are no welfare issues involved in the selling of weanlings through Irish marts.
    • Web-based Tools for the Analysis of DNA Microarrays

      Geeleher, P.; Golden, A.; Hinde, J.; Morris, Dermot G. (Teagasc, 2008-01-01)
      DNA microarrays are widely used for gene expression profiling. Raw data resulting from microarray experiments, however, tends to be very noisy and there are many sources of technical variation and bias. This raw data needs to be quality assessed and interactively preprocessed to minimise variation before statistical analysis in order to achieve meaningful result. Therefore microarray analysis requires a combination of visualisation and statistical tools, which vary depending on what microarray platform or experimental design is used.Bioconductor is an existing open source software project that attempts to facilitate analysis of genomic data. It is a collection of packages for the statistical programming language R. Bioconductor is particularly useful in analyzing microarray experiments. The problem is that the R programming language’s command line interface is intimidating to many users who do not have a strong background in computing. This often leads to a situation where biologists will resort to using commercial software which often uses antiquated and much less effective statistical techniques, as well as being expensively priced. This project aims to bridge this gap by providing a user friendly web-based interface to the cutting edge statistical techniques of Bioconductor.
    • Weed control in glyphosate tolerant sugar beet.

      Mitchell, B.J. (Teagasc, 2000-12-01)
      Between 1997 and 1999 weed control trials were carried out with sugar beet tolerant to glyphosate. Glyphosate was applied at a total dose of 1620.0, 2160.0, 3240.0 and 4320.0 g a.i. ha-1 in two and three applications. These were compared with a standard and double standard three spray sugar beet herbicide programme. In all seasons application of the lowest dose of glyphosate, 1620.0 g a.i. ha-1 gave marginally better control of weeds than the standard herbicide programme. Herbicide timing was more flexible with glyphosate and only two weeds, Polygonum convolvulus and Lamium purpureum required more than one application to kill all the weeds. In most cases no significant difference in weed control was observed between the glyphosate treatments after the second and third applications but the three spray programmes were marginally better than the two spray in 1997 and 1998. In 1997 the sugar beet strain was not totally tolerant to glyphosate and a reduction in plant numbers was recorded after the initial glyphosate application. The strain used in subsequent years was fully tolerant and no plant loss occurred even at the highest glyphosate dose. At harvest most of the root yields in the glyphosate treatments were significantly higher than the yields from the standard herbicide comparison treatments. Crop vigour was not affected by any of the treatments in 1997 but in 1998 and 1999 the two standard herbicides reduced crop vigour by 10 and 20 per cent respectively.
    • Welfare and health of dairy cattle on out-wintering pads or in cubicle housing with or without cushioned flooring.

      Boyle, Laura; Mee, John F; O'Donovan, Michael; Kiernan, Paul (Teagasc, 2-10-01)
      The first study described in this report involved housing 66 spring calving heifers in one of three systems during the winter, namely, (i) a conventional cubicle house, (ii) a cubicle house with cushioned flooring covering the slats (slat mats) in the passageway and (iii) on a wood-chip out-wintering pad. Behaviour, health and performance indicators were measured on all animals while pregnant from housing in November 2003 until calving in January 2004. Additionally, data were collected on the first 15 animals to calve in each treatment for the first four weeks of lactation in the spring. The slat mats resulted in some improvements to hoof health compared to the conventional cubicle house. Furthermore, it increased feeding times although this had no effect on feed intake or performance. The results also indicated that heifers have a preference for standing on cushioned flooring rather than on concrete during late pregnancy. Both groups indoors differed greatly from the outdoor heifers in several respects. The outdoor animals had healthier feet and were less affected by injuries to the limbs. They also had a more diverse behaviour repertoire and slipped and tripped less. However, their welfare was adversely affected by inclement weather conditions with indications of immunosuppression combined with a reduction in average daily gain being recorded. Furthermore, they were dirtier and spent less time lying down. None of these factors influenced milk yield, quality or composition in early lactation. Welfare problems associated with the pad were weather and management dependent and hence could be addressed by more frequent cleaning of the pad and/or an increase in space allowance combined with the provision of shelter. Hence, the potential for good welfare in dairy heifers was higher on the pad than indoors in a cubicle system even when slat mats were provided. In the second study, 62 autumn calving pluriparous dairy cows were housed in September 2004 in a cubicle system with either solid concrete floors or solid concrete floors covered by a rubber mat and cleaned by an automatic scrapper. Behaviour, locomotion and foot lesion scores were recorded from at least 3 weeks prior to calving until at least 16 weeks post-partum. Furthermore, in-depth measures of oestrous behaviour and reproductive performance were recorded. The cushioned flooring had no effect on sole or white line lesion scores or on dermatitis scores. However, it reduced the rate of wear of the heels in early lactation. Cows on cushioned flooring spent more time standing, but not feeding, at the feed face while cows on concrete stood in the cubicles instead. It appears that where cows have access to spacious, well-designed cubicles they can use them for standing to get relief for their feet from the concrete. Similar to the previous study this also indicates that cows prefer to stand on cushioned flooring than on bare concrete and emphasises the importance of at least providing cows with mats or mattresses in their cubicles. There were no effects of the cushioned flooring on oestrous behaviour or reproductive performance, which was poor in both treatments. It is suggested that the reasons for this were that the cushioned flooring did not provide sufficient traction for the cows and so they were as reluctant as the cows on concrete to perform mounting behaviour.
    • The Welfare of Animals Transported From Ireland to Italy.

      Earley, Bernadette; Farrell, Joseph A.; Murray, Margaret; Nolan, Michael; Prenderville, Dan; O'Riordan, Edward G. (Teagasc, 2004-03-19)
      The overall objective of the present study was to investigate the physiological, haematological and immunological responses of weanling bulls transported to Italy under present EU legislation and to evaluate the implications in terms of animal welfare.
    • The welfare of animals transported from Ireland to Spain AND The Physiological haematological and immunological responses of 9-month old bulls (250kg) to transport at two stocking densities (0.85m2 and 1.27m2 /250kg animal) on a 12-hour journey by road.

      Earley, Bernadette; Farrell, Joseph A.; Murray, Margaret; Prendiville, Daniel J.; O'Riordan, Edward G. (Teagasc, 2003-01-01)
      Fifty-two weanling continental x beef heifers (mean liveweight 269kg) were transported from Ireland to France on a roll-on roll-off ferry (RO-RO), and onwards by road for 3-hours to a French lairage, rested for 24 hours at a staging post and taken by road on an 18-hour journey through France to a feedlot in Spain. Animals transported to France lost 7.6 % of their bodyweight, and gained 3.3 % of their bodyweight by time of arrival in Spain and recovered to pre-transport liveweight values by day 6. Although there was some evidence that transport affected physiological and immunological variables, there was no evidence to suggest that it adversely affected the health or the performance of the animals post transport. Creatine kinase activities were increased but values were still within normal acceptable ranges. Increases in non-esterified fatty acids, beta-hydroxybutyrate and urea concentrations suggested that the animals' normal pattern of feeding was disrupted during transport. Increases in albumin, total plasma protein and osmolality would indicate slight dehydration during transit. However, albumin concentrations returned to control levels by day 38 of the study. While haematocrit values were decreased, they are within the range of normal referenced data (24 - 48%). Similarly, changes in the RBC numbers and haemoglobin were within the normal blood referenced ranges ((RBC; 5.0 – 10.0 x106 /ml) and (haemoglobin 8-14 g%)(Schalm, 1961)). The only time at which white blood counts increased above the upper limit of 12, was 12 hours after arrival at the French lairage. The aspartate transaminase concentrations for the transported animals at arrival in France and Spain were not significantly different from their pre-transport concentrations but were increased at day 11 when compared with baseline levels. Concanavalin-A induced interferon-g levels were lower on arrival in the Spanish feedlot and on Day 11 of the study, when compared with pre-transport baseline levels. Compared with pre-transport levels, keyhole limpet haemocyanin-induced interferon-g levels for the transported animals were significantly decreased on the day of arrival in France, with no significant difference on the day of arrival in Spain or on day 11 of the study. Interferon-g is produced by activated T lymphocytes and natural killer cells in response to antigen. The percentage (%) of lymphocytes decreased and the % neutrophils increased post-transport indicating a shift in the population of these blood cells relative to pre-transport baseline values. There was no significant change in plasma cortisol concentrations in transported animals at arrival in France and in Spain. On Day 11, the plasma cortisol concentrations of transported animals were significantly higher than control animals. There were significantly higher glucose concentrations on arrival in France, and in samples taken at 12 and 24 hours post-arrival in France, on arrival in Spain, and on days 7 and 11 compared with control levels. Transported animals had significantly higher glucose levels at sample 2 on the day of arrival in France compared with their pre-transport values. Transported animals had significantly higher fibrinogen levels at arrival in France compared with their pre-transport baseline concentrations. Inflammation resulting from stress can cause the release of acute phase proteins such as haptoglobin and fibrinogen, and acute phase proteins in cattle have been associated with immunosuppression, however, much higher levels have been reported in inflammatory conditions. Transported animals had significantly higher non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) levels on arrival in France and Spain and on day 11 compared with their pre-transport baseline concentrations. Control animals had significantly higher levels on day 5 compared with their pre-transport baseline NEFA concentrations. However, all levels were within the normal acceptable ranges. The study concluded that transport had no adverse effect on animal welfare based on the physiological, immunological and haematological measurements made.
    • WEMAC Project

      Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; European Commission (Teagasc, 2009-01-01)
      The WEMAC (World Econometric Model of Agricultural Crops) model is a model which has its origins at the French Research Institute INRA. Over the period 2006 to 2009 INRA, Teagasc and other partners worked on further developing the model as part of an EU Framework Project. This report details some of the project main results.
    • What are the financial returns to agriculture from a common property resource? A case study of Irish commonage

      Buckley, Cathal; van Rensburg, Tom M.; Hynes, Stephen; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Institute of Agricultural Management, 2008-07)
      Commonage in the Republic of Ireland has traditionally been used for agricultural activity, mainly livestock grazing. In recent times due to its prevailing common property characteristics and upland landscape, this resource is increasingly attracting the interest of recreational enthusiasts. However, the potential opportunity costs associated with recreation – namely the commercial value of sheep and cattle grazing on commonage remains to be investigated. This paper aims to fill this gap in the literature by analysing the agricultural returns from livestock rearing enterprises on commonage land for a sample of farmers in the west of Ireland. Results indicate that stocking rates are three times higher on privately owned land compared to shared commonage. Over 80 per cent of the farms in the sample had a gross margin under €20,000. In total, 96 per cent of gross margin was found to be attributable to Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments; with area based payments twice as important as direct livestock subsidies.
    • What Does Life-Cycle Assessment of agricultural products need for more meaningful inclusion of biodiversity?

      Teillard, Felix; Maia de Souza, Danielle; Thoma, Greg; Gerber, Pierre J.; Finn, John A. (Wiley, 2016-06-05)
      1.Decision-makers increasingly use life-cycle assessment (LCA) as a tool to measure the environmental sustainability of products. LCA is of particular importance in globalized agricultural supply chains, which have environmental effects in multiple and spatially dispersed locations. 2.Incorporation of impacts on biodiversity that arise from agricultural production systems into environmental assessment methods is an emerging area of work in LCA, and current approaches have limitations, including the need for (i) improved assessment of impacts to biodiversity associated with agricultural production, (ii) inclusion of new biodiversity indicators (e.g. conservation value, functional diversity, ecosystem services) and (iii) inclusion of previously unaccounted modelling variables that go beyond land-use impacts (e.g. climate change, water and soil quality). 3.Synthesis and applications. Ecological models and understanding can contribute to address the limitations of current life-cycle assessment (LCA) methods in agricultural production systems and to make them more ecologically relevant. This will be necessary to ensure that biodiversity is not neglected in decision-making that relies on LCA.
    • Wheat flour properties and end product quality

      Dwyer, Elizabeth; O'Halloran, Grainne R. (Teagasc, 1999-01)
      For pizza production, the flour quality values identified for the wheat cultivars, Promessa, Quintus (spring), and Soissons (winter) should be used as guidelines in selecting new cultivars and in the development of flour specifications. Similarly for biscuit production, compositional and rheological data for the cultivars, Riband,Woodstock (soft-milling) and Brigadier (hardmilling) should be used for identifying biscuit flours. The rheological properties of dough (as measured by the alveograph, extensograph and farinograph) did not relate to the baking quality for some wheat cultivars. However the rheological properties of the gel protein prepared from these flours explained their baking quality. The very high elastic moduli of these gels explained the basis of shrinkage of pizza bases produced from Baldus and Lavett flours and biscuits produced from Ritmo flour.
    • Whey protein effects on energy balance link the intestinal mechanisms of energy absorption with adiposity and hypothalamic neuropeptide gene expression

      Nilaweera, Kanishka N; Cabrera-Rubio, Raul; Speakman, John R.; O'Connor, Paula M.; McAuliffe, Ann Marie; Guinane, Catriona M.; Lawton, Elaine M.; Crispie, Fiona; Aguilera, Monica; Stanley, Maurice; Boscaini, Serena; Joyce, Susan; Melgar, Sylvia; Cryan, John F.; Cotter, Paul D. (American Physiological Society, 2017-03-21)
      We tested the hypothesis that dietary whey protein isolate (WPI) affects the intestinal mechanisms related to energy absorption and that the resulting energy deficit is compensated by changes in energy balance to support growth. C57BL/6 mice were provided a diet enriched with WPI with varied sucrose content, and the impact on energy balance-related parameters was investigated. As part of a high-sucrose diet, WPI reduced the hypothalamic expression of pro-opiomelanocortin gene expression and increased energy intake. The energy expenditure was unaffected, but epididymal weight was reduced, indicating an energy loss. Notably, there was a reduction in the ileum gene expression for amino acid transporter SLC6a19, glucose transporter 2, and fatty acid transporter 4. The composition of the gut microbiota also changed, where Firmicutes were reduced. The above changes indicated reduced energy absorption through the intestine. We propose that this mobilized energy in the adipose tissue and caused hypothalamic changes that increased energy intake, acting to counteract the energy deficit arising in the intestine. Lowering the sucrose content in the WPI diet increased energy expenditure. This further reduced epididymal weight and plasma leptin, whereupon hypothalamic ghrelin gene expression and the intestinal weight were both increased. These data suggest that when the intestine-adipose-hypothalamic pathway is subjected to an additional energy loss (now in the adipose tissue), compensatory changes attempt to assimilate more energy. Notably, WPI and sucrose content interact to enable the component mechanisms of this pathway.
    • Whey protein isolate decreases murine stomach weight and intestinal length and alters the expression of Wnt signalling-associated genes

      McAllan, Liam; Speakman, John R.; Cryan, John F.; Nilaweera, Kanishka N. (Cambridge University Press, 2015-01-13)
      The present study examined the underlying mechanisms by which whey protein isolate (WPI) affects energy balance. C57BL/6J mice were fed a diet containing 10 % energy from fat, 70 % energy from carbohydrate (35 % energy from sucrose) and 20 % energy from casein or WPI for 15 weeks. Mice fed with WPI had reduced weight gain, cumulative energy intake and dark-phase VO2 compared with casein-fed mice (P< 0·05); however, WPI intake had no significant effects on body composition, meal size/number, water intake or RER. Plasma levels of insulin, TAG, leptin, glucose and glucagon-like peptide 1 remained unchanged. Notably, the intake of WPI reduced stomach weight and both length and weight of the small intestine (P< 0·05). WPI intake reduced the gastric expression of Wingless/int-1 5a (Wnt5a) (P< 0·01) and frizzled 4 (Fzd4) (P< 0·01), with no change in the expression of receptor tyrosine kinase-like orphan receptor 2 (Ror2) and LDL receptor-related protein 5 (Lrp5). In the ileum, WPI increased the mRNA expression of Wnt5a (P< 0·01) and caused a trend towards an increase in the expression of Fzd4 (P= 0·094), with no change in the expression of Ror2 and Lrp5. These genes were unresponsive in the duodenum. Among the nutrient-responsive genes, WPI specifically reduced ileal mRNA expression of peptide YY (P< 0·01) and fatty acid transporter protein 4 (P< 0·05), and decreased duodenal mRNA expression of the insulin receptor (P= 0·05), with a trend towards a decreased expression of Na–glucose co-transporter 1 (P= 0·07). The effects of WPI on gastrointestinal Wnt signalling may explain how this protein affects gastrointestinal structure and function and, in turn, energy intake and balance.
    • Whey protein isolate polydispersity affects enzymatic hydrolosis outcomes

      O'Loughlin, Ian B.; Murray, Brian A.; Brodkorb, Andre; Fitzgerald, Richard J.; Robinson, A. A.; Holton, T. A.; Kelly, Tom A. (Elsevier, 2013-05-24)
      The effects of heat-induced denaturation of whey protein isolate (WPI) on the enzymatic breakdown of α-La, caseinomacropeptide (CMP), β-Lg A and β-Lg B were observed as hydrolysis proceeded to a 5% degree of hydrolysis (DH) in both unheated and heat-treated (80 °C, 10 min) WPI dispersions (100 g L−1). Hydrolysis of denatured WPI favoured the generation of higher levels of free essential amino acids; lysine, phenylalanine and arginine compared to the unheated substrate. LC–MS/MS identified 23 distinct peptides which were identified in the denatured WPI hydrolysate – the majority of which were derived from β-Lg. The mapping of the detected regions in α-La, β-Lg, and CMP enabled specific cleavage points to be associated with certain serine endo-protease activities. The outcomes of the study emphasise how a combined approach of substrate heat pre-treatment and enzymology may be used to influence proteolysis with attendant opportunities for targeting unique peptide production and amino acid release
    • Whole-Genome Shotgun Sequence of Salmonella bongori, First Isolated in Northwestern Italy

      Romano, Angelo; Bellio, Alberto; Macori, Guerrino; Cotter, Paul D; Manila Bianchi, Daniela; Gallina, Silvia; Decastelli, Lucia (American Society for Microbiology, 2017-07-06)
      This study describes the whole-genome shotgun sequence of Salmonella bongori 48:z35:–, originally isolated from a 1-year-old symptomatic patient in northwest Italy, a typically nonendemic area. The draft genome sequence contained 4.56 Mbp and the G+C content was 51.27%.
    • Winter Housing and Feeding System for Small to Medium Sized Dairy Farms

      Crosse, S.; Kearney, S.; Markey, A.; Phelan, J. (Teagasc, 1999-04-01)
      A survey of 190 dairy farms in a co-operative area in the south of Ireland served as the main source of data in the present study. Eight farms representative of the different types of dairy farms were chosen and their data were analysed using the Finpack financial analysis program. These eight case studies were analysed using alternative funding strategies to determine the effect of alternative funding strategies for farm buildings on net farm income. The data obtained were extrapolated to the national dairy herd. There are some 14,050 dairy farms with quotas of less than 15,000 gallons and 40% of these were classified as non viable. The corresponding figures for other quota categories are as follows: 8,150 farms with quotas of 15,000-25,000 gallons with 40% non-viable; 7780 farms with quotas of 25,000-40,000 gallons with 20% nonviable; and 8,535 farms with quotas >40,000 gallons with 10% nonviable. Non-viable dairy farms were those with low income, low contact with advisory services, low household dependence on farm income, a poor attitude to development and expansion and generally inadequate farm facilities. Non-viable dairy farms should consider changing from dairying into a suckler and/or beef enterprise and should be assisted to do so by the advisory service. They should be considered for a suckler quota unit for each 987 gallons of milk they had been producing. They should consider using income assistants, e.g., REPS, Early Retirement Scheme and/or unemployment benefits as relevant. Training schemes should be targeted at young farmers and their spouses who are not working so that they have a better chance of offfarm employment, when relevant. Potentially viable and viable dairy farms should be assisted on a sliding scale depending on their quota size, as follows: Grant aid for upgrading milking facilities, grant aid for milking and milk cooling equipment, interest subsidies on interest payment on money borrowed for agricultural development, the smallest milk quota farms should be considered the priority for milk quota reallocation, quota purchase should be subsidised if possible, quota leasing should be subsidised for the smallest quota category (<15,000 gallons), installation Aid should be introduced for all viable and potentially viable dairy farms.
    • Within- and across-breed imputation of high-density genotypes in dairy and beef cattle from medium- and low-density genotypes

      Berry, Donagh P.; McClure, M.C.; Mullen, M.P. (Wiley, 2013-12-05)
      The objective of this study was to evaluate, using three different genotype density panels, the accuracy of imputation from lower- to higher-density genotypes in dairy and beef cattle. High-density genotypes consisting of 777 962 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were available on 3122 animals comprised of 269, 196, 710, 234, 719, 730 and 264 Angus, Belgian Blue, Charolais, Hereford, Holstein-Friesian, Limousin and Simmental bulls, respectively. Three different genotype densities were generated: low density (LD; 6501 autosomal SNPs), medium density (50K; 47 770 autosomal SNPs) and high density (HD; 735 151 autosomal SNPs). Imputation from lower- to higher-density genotype platforms was undertaken within and across breeds exploiting population-wide linkage disequilibrium. The mean allele concordance rate per breed from LD to HD when undertaken using a single breed or multiple breed reference population varied from 0.956 to 0.974 and from 0.947 to 0.967, respectively. The mean allele concordance rate per breed from 50K to HD when undertaken using a single breed or multiple breed reference population varied from 0.987 to 0.994 and from 0.987 to 0.993, respectively. The accuracy of imputation was generally greater when the reference population was solely comprised of the breed to be imputed compared to when the reference population comprised of multiple breeds, although the impact
    • Work-related musculoskeletal disorders among Irish farm operators

      Osborne, Aoife; Blake, Catherine; Meredith, David; Kinsella, Anne; Phelan, James; McNamara, John; Cunningham, Caitriona; Health and Safety Authority, Ireland; Teagasc (Wiley Periodicals Inc., 2012-07-10)
      Background- To establish prevalence, risk factors and impact of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) among farmers in Ireland. Methods- In summer 2009, a questionnaire was appended to the Teagasc (Irish Agricultural and Food Development Authority) National Farm Survey (n=1110) to obtain data on the prevalence, risk factors and impact of WMSDs amongst farm operators in Ireland. Data were collected by trained recorders and analyzed using chi-square tests, t-tests, Mann-Whitney tests and binary logistic regression. Results- The prevalence of WMSDs in the previous year was 9.4% (n=103), with the most commonly affected body region being the low back 31% (n=32). Nearly 60% (n=57) of farmers reported missing at least a full day’s work as a consequence of their WMSD. Personal factors evaluated using bivariate regression analysis, were found not to influence whether or not a farmer experienced a WMSD. However, work-related factors such as larger European Size Units (ESUs) (OR=1.007, CI=1.002-1.012), greater number of hectares farmed (OR=2.50, CI=1.208-4.920), higher income (OR=1.859, CI=1.088-3.177), dairy enterprise (OR=1.734, CI=1.081-2.781), and working on a fulltime farm (OR=2.156, CI=1.399-3.321) increased the likelihood of experiencing a WMSD. The variable ‘fulltime farm’ which was associated with a higher labour unit requirement to operate the farm, was the only factor found to independently predict WMSDs in the multivariate regression analyses. Conclusions- This study suggests that the prevalence of WMSDs can be reduced by the application of improved farm management practices. A more detailed examination of the risk factors associated with WMSDs is required to establish causality and hence, effective interventions.
    • Yield losses caused by late blight (Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) de Bary) in potato crops in Ireland

      Dowley, L.J.; Grant, Jim; Griffin, D. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2008)
      Field experiments, using foliage blight susceptible cultivars, were conducted at Oak Park, Carlow from 1983 to 2007 to determine the loss in potato production caused by crop infection with Phytophthora infestans. In each of the 25 years an untreated control was compared with protectant and with systemic fungicide programmes to determine the effect of late blight on the defoliation percentage at the end of the season, the area under the disease progress curve, marketable tuber yield, total tuber yield and yield of blighted tubers. The earliest date of first recorded late blight was 22 June and the latest was 15 September, but in 15 of the 25 years, blight was first recorded between 17 July and 13 August. Disease reached epidemic proportions in all but 4 of the years. Yields varied considerably among years. The mean loss in total yield from not using a fungicide was 10.1 t/ha. Differences in yield were significant across the 25 seasons. No overall increase in aggressiveness of the pathogen could be detected over the 25-year period.
    • Yield of temperate forage grassland species is either largely resistant or resilient to experimental summer drought

      Hofer, Daniel; Suter, Matthias; Haughey, Eamon; Finn, John A.; Hoekstra, Nyncke J.; Buchman, Nina; Luscher, Andreas (Wiley, 2016-06-17)
      1.Due to climate change, an increasing frequency and severity of drought events are expected to impair grassland productivity, particularly of intensively managed temperate grasslands. 2.To assess drought impacts, a common field experiment to manipulate precipitation was set up at three sites (two Swiss and one Irish) using monocultures and mixtures with two and four key forage species. Species differed in their functional traits: a shallow-rooted non-legume (Lolium perenne L.), a deep-rooted non-legume (Cichorium intybus L.), a shallow-rooted legume (Trifolium repens L.) and a deep-rooted legume (Trifolium pratense L.). A 9-week summer drought was simulated, and soil water status, above-ground biomass yield and plant nitrogen (N) limitation were compared to a rainfed control. 3.Based on soil water measurements, the drought induced severe stress at both Swiss sites and extreme stress at the Irish site. Under severe stress, the legumes were more drought resistant and showed an average change in above-ground biomass (CAB, compared to rainfed control) of only −8% and −24% (for the two Swiss sites), while the non-legumes had an average CAB of −51% and −68%. The lower resistance of non-legumes coincided with an apparent limitation of plant N, which further increased under drought. Under extreme drought (Irish site), growth nearly ceased with an average CAB of −85%. 4.During a 6-week post-drought period with adequate water supply (Swiss sites), formerly drought-stressed species were highly resilient and either attained (legumes) or clearly outperformed (non-legumes) the yield level of the rainfed controls. This outperformance coincided with post-drought reductions in N limitation in formerly drought-stressed species. As a result, aggregated over the drought and the post-drought periods, a negative drought impact was found only for the shallow-rooted L. perenne at one of the severely stressed sites. 5.Significant overyielding by multispecies mixtures was evident under rainfed control conditions (+38% across all three sites, P < 0·05) and was equally apparent under severe drought (+50%, P < 0·05). This overyielding was greatest in mixtures with approximately equal species proportions and was sufficiently large that drought-stressed mixtures at least attained the same yield as the average of the rainfed monocultures. Under extreme drought, growth almost ceased in monocultures and mixtures. 6.Synthesis and applications. Yields of selected species of intensively managed temperate grasslands are either resistant to a single severe drought or are highly resilient as soon as soil moisture levels recover after the drought event. However, these forage species seem unable to cope with an extreme drought event. Combining species in mixtures can compensate for yield reductions caused by severe drought and it offers a practical management tool to adapt forage production to climate change.