• The capacity to expand milk production in Ireland following the removal of milk quotas

      Lapple, Doris; Hennessy, Thia (Teagasc, 2012-12)
      Given the imminent removal of milk quota in 2015, EU dairy farmers will be able to expand production without purchasing milk quota rights for the first time in 30 years. This paper uses Irish National Farm Survey data to simulate the expansion capacity of Irish dairy farms. Specifically, the likelihood of achieving the 50% increase in production target published in the Irish Government’s Food Harvest 2020 Report is explored. Potential milk output is estimated accounting for structural change and the economic viability of production under three price scenarios for 2020. In addition, the number of new entrants that would be required to meet the 50% target is calculated. The results indicate that the 50% output volume growth target set in the Food Harvest report will be difficult to achieve and that future potential milk output depends importantly on the rate of structural change and productivity growth as well as on real milk prices in 2020. A regional analysis reveals that relative to other regions, the south has the greatest expansion capacity. This suggests that quota removal could cause significant regional restructuring of milk production, which is likely to present some challenges to the dairy processing sector.
    • Capturing the economic benefit of Lolium perenne cultivar performance

      McEvoy, M.; O'Donovan, Michael; Shalloo, Laurence; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2011)
      Economic values were calculated for grass traits of economic importance in Irish grass-based ruminant production systems. Traits considered were those that had the greatest potential to influence the profitability of a grazing system. These were: grass dry matter (DM) yield in spring, mid-season and autumn, grass quality (dry matter digestibility; DMD), 1st and 2nd cut silage DM yield and sward persistency. The Moorepark Dairy Systems Model was used to simulate a dairy farm. Economic values were calculated by simulating the effect of a unit change in the trait of interest while holding all other traits constant. The base scenario involved a fixed herd size and land area (40 ha), and an annual DM yield of 13 t/ha. The economic values generated under the base scenario were: € 0.152/kg for DM yield in spring, € 0.030/kg for DM yield in mid-season and € 0.103/kg for DM yield in autumn; € 0.001, € 0.008, € 0.010, € 0.009, € 0.008 and € 0.006 per 1 g/kg change in DMD for the months of April to September, respectively; € 0.03/kg for 1st cut silage DM yield, € 0.02/kg for 2nd cut silage DM yield; and − € 4.961 for a 1 percent reduction in persistency. Alternative scenarios were examined to determine the sensitivity of the economic values to changes in annual DM yield, sward utilisation and a scenario where silage production was the focus of the system. The economic values were used to calculate a total merit index for each of 20 perennial ryegrass cultivars based on production data from a 3 year plot study. The rank correlation between the merit index values for the cultivars under the base scenario and the scenario involving a reduction in herbage utilisation was 1.0, while that with the scenario involving reduced annual DM yield was 0.94. It is concluded that the total merit index can be used to identify cultivars that can generate the greatest economic contribution to a grass-based production system, regardless of system or intensity of grass production.
    • Changes in yield and composition of barley, wheat and triticale grains harvested during advancing stages of ripening

      Stacey, P.; O'Kiely, Padraig; Hackett, Richard; Rice, B.; O'Mara, Frank P.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      This study involved an evaluation of the changes in grain yield, nutritive value, ensilability and harvesting losses of intensively managed winter cereals harvested during the advancing stages of ripening. Five cereal crops (barley cv. Regina and wheat cv. Madrigal in 2001; barley cv. Regina, wheat cv. Falstaff and triticale cv. Fidelio in 2002) were assessed. Twenty plots per crop were arranged in a randomised complete block design, with five times of harvest (four for barley in 2002) and four replicate blocks per harvest. Dry matter (DM) yields changed relatively little between harvest dates, but fresh yields declined (P < 0.001) over time due to the moisture loss associated with ripening. Time-course changes in indices of nutritive value, such as concentrations of crude protein, starch and ash, and organic matter digestibility, were relatively small and did not follow a consistent pattern. Ensilability indices, such as DM and watersoluble carbohydrate concentrations and buffering capacity, indicated that satisfactory fermentations were likely if such crops were ensiled; buffering capacity, generally declining with advancing maturity. Harvesting losses were not clearly related to growth stage at harvest. It is concluded that winter cereal grain (barley, wheat and triticale) DM yields and quality were relatively constant as ripening progressed from DM concentrations of around 550 to >800 g/kg.
    • Characterisation of dairy soiled water in a survey of 60 Irish dairy farms

      Minogue, Denis; French, Padraig; Bolger, T.; Murphy, P. N. C. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2016-01-13)
      Dairy farming in Ireland generates an effluent known as dairy soiled water (DSW), which consists of a relatively dilute mixture of cow faeces, urine, spilt milk and detergents that is typically applied to grassland. However, relatively little is known about the volumes generated, nutrient content and management factors that influence volume and concentration. Sixty dairy farms that had a separate storage tank for storing DSW were selected for this study. The spatial distribution of the farms reflected the spatial distribution of dairy cows across the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland, with each farm representing between 10,000 and 20,000 dairy cows. Samples were analysed for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), ammonium N (NH4-N), total nitrogen (TN), potassium (K), phosphorus (molybdate-reactive and total) (MRP and TP) and dry matter (DM) content. Management characteristics and parlour properties were quantified. Factors influencing volume and concentration of DSW were determined using mixed model multiple regression analysis. On average, 9784 l (standard error 209 l) of DSW, including rainfall, was produced cow−1 year−1 and this contained significant quantities of total N, P and K (587, 80 and 568 mg l−1, respectively). A typical Irish dairy farm stocked at 1.9 cows ha−1 could therefore supply approximately 13, 2 and 12 kg ha−1 of total N, P and K, respectively, across the farm, annually to meet some of the nutrient requirements for herbage production and potentially replace some of the synthetic fertilizer use. Seventy one percent of samples were within the regulated concentration limits of soiled water for BOD (<2500 mg l−1), rising to 87% during the closed period for slurry spreading (mid October to mid-late January), while 81% were within the concentration limits for DM (<1% DM), rising to 94% during the closed period. The efficiency of a milking parlour (cows per unit, time taken) plays a key role in determining the volume of DSW generated. This, in turn, also influences the concentration of nutrients and other chemicals. Large variability was found in nutrient concentrations and this presents a challenge for effective nutrient management to maximise the fertilizer replacement value of DSW.
    • Colour of subcutaneous adipose tissue and muscle of Irish beef carcasses destined for the Italian market.

      Dunne, Peter G.; O'Mara, Frank P.; Monahan, Frank J; Moloney, Aidan P; National Development Plan, 2000–2006; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
      The purposes of this study were (i) to objectively measure the colour of carcass fat and muscle of heifers that had been previously selected, subjectively, for the Italian market and (ii) to define instrumental colour values which would describe the required fat colour for that market. On one day during each of 5 months (11 April, 13 June, 10 October, 10 November and 19 December) the ‘b’ (yellowness) value of carcass fat was measured at two positions (proximal pelvic limb area and the area between 9th rib and 4th lumbar vertebra) and the ‘L’ (lightness) and ‘a’ (redness) values of two muscles (M. longissimus dorsi (LD) and M. rhomboideus thoracis (RT)) were measured using a Minolta chromameter. Measurement date had a significant effect (P < 0.05) on ‘b’ values of fat at both positions, with carcasses displaying the most yellow fat on 13 June (P < 0.05). The LD was palest and most red on 11 April (P < 0.05) and the RT tended to be palest on 13 June but most red (P < 0.05) on 11 April. The ‘L’ value differed between muscles on 11 April (P < 0.01) and 19 December (P < 0.05) and the ‘a’ value differed between muscles on all dates except 13 June. The majority of carcasses on each date fell between muscle ‘L’ values of 31 and 35, regardless of muscle, and between muscle ‘a’ values of 18 and 22. It is concluded that application of a “cut-off” value to muscle colour would be futile but as 81% of accepted carcasses had fat ‘b’ values below 14.2, regardless of position, that this could be used as a threshold of acceptable yellowness.
    • Comparative growth and management of white and red clovers

      Black, Alistair D; Laidlaw, A.S.; Moot, D.J.; O'Kiely, Padraig (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      The aim of this paper is to provide the underpinning scientific basis for the optimum management of white and red clovers. Critical morphological and canopy characteristics which influence the yield and persistence of white and red clover in swards, and how management factors (choice of cultivar, defoliation and nitrogen (N) fertilizer) modify these are considered. Canopy development is vitally important as it determines the extent to which a) light is intercepted for photosynthesis needed for growth and b) the base of the sward is deprived of the red component in daylight, inhibiting branching of stolons and crowns in white and red clover, respectively. The role of cultivar, defoliation and N fertilizer in determining yield and persistence of the two legumes, mainly in mixtures with grass, are discussed principally in terms of morphological development and exploitation of light. It is concluded that optimum management for grass/white clover places emphasis on building up stolons and maximising contribution of clover leaf area to the upper layers of the mixed canopy and, while red clover is more competitive to grass than white clover, that benefit is lost when a grass/red clover sward is grazed.
    • Comparative performance and economic appraisal of Holstein-Friesian, Jersey and Jersey×Holstein-Friesian cows under seasonal pasture-based management

      Prendiville, R.; Shalloo, Laurence; Pierce, K.M.; Buckley, Frank; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF-06-353 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2011)
      The objective of this study was to provide comparative performance data for Holstein- Friesian (HF), Jersey (J) and Jersey×Holstein-Friesian (F1) cows under a seasonal pasture-based management system and to simulate the effect of cow breed on farm profitability. Data for a total of 329 lactations, from 162 (65 HF, 48 J and 49 F1) cows, were available. Milk yield was highest for HF, intermediate for F1 and lowest for J, while milk fat and protein concentrations were highest for J, intermediate for F1 and lowest for HF. Yield of fat plus protein was highest for F1, intermediate for HF and lowest for J. Mean bodyweight was 523, 387 and 466 kg for HF, J and F1, respectively. Body condition score was greater for the J and F1 compared to HF. Reproductive efficiency was similar for the HF and J but superior for the F1. The Moorepark Dairy Systems Model was used to simulate a 40 ha farm integrating biological data for each breed group. Milk output was highest for systems based on HF cows. Total sales of milk solids and, consequently, milk receipts were higher with J and F1 compared to HF. Total costs were lowest with F1 cows, intermediate with HF and highest with J. Overall farm profitability was highest with F1 cows, intermediate with HF and lowest with J. Sensitivity analysis of milk price, fat to protein price ratio and differences in cost of replacement heifers showed no re-ranking of the breed groups for farm profit.
    • Comparison of a Calan gate and a conventional feed barrier system for dairy cows: feed intake and cow behaviour

      Ferris, C.P.; Keady, Tim; Gordon, F.J.; Kilpatrick, D.J. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      There is little published information on comparisons of individual and group feeding systems for dairy cows. Twenty-four dairy cows were used in a three-period incompletely balanced, change-over design study, to examine food intake and feeding behaviour of dairy cows offered their food via group-access electronic Calan gates, or via a conventional feed-barrier system. The food offered was in the form of a complete diet, and comprised grass silage and concentrates (60:40 dry matter (DM) basis). With the conventional feed-barrier system a maximum of eight animals were able to feed at any one time, while the Calan-gate system allowed a maximum of three animals to feed at any one time. Method of offering the ration had no effect on daily DM intake. During the 8-h period after animals were given access to fresh food, the mean number of animals feeding at any one time was 5.4 and 3.0 for the conventional and Calan-gate systems, respectively, while total intake over this period was 11.0 and 9.2 kg DM per cow, respectively. When access to feed was restricted by the use of Calan gates, animals responded by increasing their intake rate. It is concluded that total DM intake was unaffected by the use of a group Calan-gate feeding system as animals modified their feeding behaviour to maintain food intake.
    • Comparison of concentrates or concentrates plus forages in a total mixed ration or discrete ingredient format: effects on beef production parameters and on beef composition, colour, texture and fatty acid profile

      Cooke, D.W.I; Monaghan, Frank J; Brophy, P.; Boland, Maurice (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
      Diets consisting primarily of concentrates or of concentrates plus silage in a total mixed ration (TMR) or discrete ingredient format were compared for effects on beef production traits and on beef quality. Sixty continental cross heifers (377 kg, s.d. 31) were allocated to one of the following feeding regimens for 96 days pre-slaughter: (i) a control ration of grass silage, maize silage, a cereal-based concentrate and straw at proportionately, 0.23, 0.15, 0.59 and 0.03 of dietary dry matter, respectively; (ii) a total mixed ration (TMR) with the same dietary ingredients as the control ration; (iii) a high concentrate ration (HC) of a cereal-based diet and straw at proportionately 0.95 and 0.05 of dietary dry matter, respectively. Subcutaneous fat samples were taken from all animals at slaughter and the strip-loin was excised from 10 animals per group for colour, texture and fatty acid determination. The HC and TMR groups had higher (P < 0.05) daily live-weight gain, slaughter weight and carcass weight than the control group. Muscle protein was highest (P < 0.01) in the TMR group while muscle marbling was highest (P < 0.01) in the HC group. Subcutaneous fat from the HC group was less (P < 0.001) yellow than fat from the other groups. Fatty acid analysis of intramuscular fat showed that the HC group had higher C18:1 and lower C18:3 proportions than the control group (P < 0.05). The n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratio of intramuscular fat from the HC group was higher (P < 0.05) than that of the other groups. The results suggest that, at similar feed intakes, TMR feeding offers advantages for beef production over feeding ingredients separately, and yields muscle with a higher protein concentration, while high concentrate feeding yields whiter subcutaneous fat and intramuscular fat with a less nutritionally favourable n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratio.
    • A comparison of finishing strategies to fixed slaughter weights for Holstein Friesian and Belgian Blue × Holstein Friesian steers

      Keane, Michael G. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      Cattle finishing strategies may involve feeding a high energy diet throughout or following a period of moderate growth. The objective of this study was to compare Holstein Friesian (HF) and Belgian Blue × Holstein Friesian (BB) steers (24 per breed type, initial live weight 434 and 431 kg for HF and BB, respectively) finished to 560 kg or 620 kg target slaughter weight, on either a concentrate diet ad libitum from the start of the finishing period (C), or on a concentrate diet ad libitum following an 84-day period on grass silage (SC). Slaughter weights were similar for HF and BB, but kill-out proportion, carcass weight and carcass conformation class were superior (P < 0.001), and carcass fat score was inferior (P < 0.001), for BB. Total concentrate, dry matter and net energy intakes were higher (P < 0.001) for HF, and efficiency of utilization of net energy for carcass-weight gain was lower (P < 0.01). Mean daily live-weight gain was higher for C than SC (P < 0.001) and for slaughter at 560 kg than at 620 kg (P < 0.05). Killout proportion was higher for C than SC (P < 0.05) and for 620 kg compared to 560 kg slaughter weight (P < 0.001). Measures of fatness were unaffected by feeding treatment but all were higher (P < 0.01) for the 620 kg slaughter weight. Net energy required per unit carcass-weight gain was higher for C than SC (P < 0.001) and for 620 kg than for 560 kg slaughter weight (P < 0.001). When slaughtered at 620 kg live weight there was no difference between the feeding treatments in net energy required per unit carcass-weight gain. While both breed types had similar live-weight gain BB had 9% greater (P < 0.01) carcass-weight gain and were 14% more efficient (P < 0.01) in converting feed energy to carcass weight. Neither breed type had commercially acceptable carcasses at 560 kg slaughter weight when finished on SC.
    • Comparison of flail-harvested, precision-chopped and round-bale silages for growing beef cattle

      Charmley, E; Firth, S (Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research, 2004)
      The effects of silage conservation method on silage composition and animal performance were examined in two experiments. In Experiment 1, unwilted, flail-chopped silages made with or without an additive (sodium nitrite and hexamethylene tetramine) were compared with wilted, round-bale silage. The dry matter (DM) concentration of round bale silage (460 g/kg) was higher than that of flail silage (214 g/kg) and this restricted fermentation and N solublisation. When fed to growing cattle, intake (P<0.01), live-weight (LW) gain (P<0.001) and LW gain to feed ratio (P<0.05) were greater for round-bale silage than for flail silage. In Experiment 2, flail-harvested silage was compared with wilted, precision-chopped and round-bale silages conserved either without or with pre-slicing immediately before baling. The DM concentration of flail, precision-chopped and round-bale silages were 163, 334 and 468 g/kg, respectively. Fermentation in flail silage was more extensive than in precision-chopped and particularly round-bale silages, but insoluble-N concentration was unaffected. Round-bale silage was more digestible (P<0.05) than flail or precision-chopped silages. Voluntary intake was higher for steers fed round-bale silages compared to flail silage (P<0.05), while intake of steers fed precision-chopped silage was intermediate (P>0.05). Steers fed round-bale silages had higher LW gain (1.0 kg/day) than those fed flail (0.7 kg/day) or precision-chopped silage (0.8 kg/day; P<0.05). Efficiency of utilization of DM for LW gain was similar for all silages. Pre-slicing at baling had no effect on animal performance. It is concluded that the increased performance by cattle offered silages made by the wilted round-bale system was largely due to higher voluntary intake.
    • A comparison of grassland vegetation from three agri-environment conservation measures

      O hUallachain, Daire; Finn, John A.; keogh, B.; Fritch, R.; Sheridan, H.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2016-12)
      Semi-natural grassland habitats have declined significantly throughout Europe. To halt the decline, grassland conservation measures have been included in most European agri-environment schemes. This is the first study to compare the botanical composition of grassland habitats managed under the Irish Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS). Sixty fields on drystock pastoral farms in receipt of agri-environment payments for grassland conservation were surveyed, with 20 fields being enrolled in each of the following AEOS options: Traditional Hay Meadow (THM), Species-Rich Grassland (SRG) and Natura 2000 species-rich grassland (Natura). The vegetation quality of sites enrolled in the Natura measure was higher than the quality of those enrolled in the THM and SRG measures. Natura sites had the greatest species richness, with a mean >40 species per site, which included approximately 17 species indicative of high botanical quality. Traditional Hay Meadows sites had the lowest species richness (mean: 29 species per site) and were dominated by species associated with improved grassland. Some THM sites had good levels of botanical richness and were similar in composition to Natura sites, with some Natura sites having lower vegetation quality, more similar to that of THM sites. Species-Rich Grassland had botanical richness that was intermediate between THM and Natura sites. A thorough assessment of the effectiveness of these measures was confounded by a lack of quantitative objectives for the target community composition to be attained. We discuss limitations and potential opportunities regarding the design, targeting, implementation and cost-effectiveness of these agri-environment measures.
    • Comparison of herbage yield, nutritive value and ensilability traits of three ryegrass species evaluated for the Irish Recommended List

      Burns, G. A.; O'Kiely, Padraig; Grogan, D.; Watson, S.; Gilliland, T. J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF 07 526 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2016-01-13)
      This study examined 169 of the newest varieties of three ryegrass species, perennial (Lolium perenne L.), Italian (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) and hybrid (Lolium boucheanum Kunth), from Recommended List trials in Ireland. The traits examined were yield, dry matter concentration, three nutritive value traits (in vitro dry matter digestibility, water-soluble carbohydrate on a dry matter basis and crude protein concentration) and two ensilability traits (buffering capacity and water soluble carbohydrate concentration on an aqueous phase basis). Varietal monocultures of each species underwent a six cut combined simulated grazing and silage management in each of two years following sowing. Perennial ryegrass yielded less than both other species in one-year-old swards, but less than only Italian ryegrass in two-year-old swards, but generally had the higher in vitro dry matter digestibility and crude protein values. Italian ryegrass displayed the most favourable ensilability characteristics of the three species with perennial ryegrass less favourable and hybrid ryegrass intermediate. Overall, despite the high yields and favourable nutritive value and ensilability traits recorded, the general differences between the three ryegrass species studied were in line with industry expectations. These findings justify assessing the nutritive value and ensilability of ryegrass species, in addition to yield, to allow farmers select species that match farming enterprise requirements.
    • A comparison of husked and naked oats under Irish conditions

      Hackett, Richie (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2018-02-22)
      During the harvesting of husked oats (Avena sativa L.), the kernel remains tightly enclosed by a lignified lemma and palea, collectively termed the husk or hull. In naked oats, which are the same species as husked oats, the lemma is much less lignified and the kernel threshes free during harvesting. The absence of the largely indigestible husk increases the nutritive value of naked oats compared to that of husked oats, particularly for non-ruminants and poultry. There is little information regarding the potential of naked oats as an arable crop in Ireland. The objective of this study was to determine the productivity of naked oats under Irish conditions. Field experiments were carried out in the south east of Ireland to compare the grain yield and grain quality of both autumn-sown and spring-sown naked and husked oat cultivars. Grain yield of naked oat cultivars was significantly lower than that of husked oat cultivars, irrespective of whether they were autumn sown or spring sown. However, when the kernel yield of husked oat cultivars was estimated, differences in yield between the two types were much smaller, and in some cases, kernel yield of naked oat cultivars exceeded that of husked oat cultivars. Grain quality, as indicated by hectolitre weight and grain N concentration, was generally greater for naked oat cultivars than for husked oat cultivars. It is concluded that under Irish conditions, naked oats have the potential to produce kernel yields equivalent to husked oats. The grain produced is of high quality and may be particularly suited for the nutrition of non-ruminants.
    • Comparison of methods for the identification and sub-typing of O157 and non-O157 Escherichia coli serotypes and their integration into a polyphasic taxonomy approach

      Prieto-Calvo, M.A.; Omer, M.K.; Alveseike, O.; Lopez, M.; Alvarez-Ordonez, A.; Prieto, M.; Research Council of Norway; INIA, Spain; Foundation for Levy on Foods; Norwegian Research Fees Fund for Agricultural Goods; et al. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 30/12/2016)
      Phenotypic, chemotaxonomic and genotypic data from 12 strains of Escherichia coli were collected, including carbon source utilisation profiles, ribotypes, sequencing data of the 16S–23S rRNA internal transcribed region (ITS) and Fourier transform-infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopic profiles. The objectives were to compare several identification systems for E. coli and to develop and test a polyphasic taxonomic approach using the four methodologies combined for the sub-typing of O157 and non-O157 E. coli. The nucleotide sequences of the 16S–23S rRNA ITS regions were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), sequenced and compared with reference data available at the GenBank database using the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) . Additional information comprising the utilisation of carbon sources, riboprint profiles and FT-IR spectra was also collected. The capacity of the methods for the identification and typing of E. coli to species and subspecies levels was evaluated. Data were transformed and integrated to present polyphasic hierarchical clusters and relationships. The study reports the use of an integrated scheme comprising phenotypic, chemotaxonomic and genotypic information (carbon source profile, sequencing of the 16S–23S rRNA ITS, ribotyping and FT-IR spectroscopy) for a more precise characterisation and identification of E. coli. The results showed that identification of E. coli strains by each individual method was limited mainly by the extension and quality of reference databases. On the contrary, the polyphasic approach, whereby heterogeneous taxonomic data were combined and weighted, improved the identification results, gave more consistency to the final clustering and provided additional information on the taxonomic structure and phenotypic behaviour of strains, as shown by the close clustering of strains with similar stress resistance patterns.
    • Comparison of milk production from clover-based and fertilizer-N-based grassland

      Humphreys, James; Casey, I.A.; Laidlaw, A.S. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      This study, conducted over four years (2003–2006), compared herbage production, nutritive value of herbage, the length of the grazing season and milk production per cow and per hectare from grassland systems based on (i) white clover (average 219 g/kg of herbage DM) (WC) receiving on average N application of 90 kg/ha (s.d. 6.4) in spring and successive 0.2 of the area over-seeded annually with white clover seed and (ii) fertilizer N (FN) input of 226 kg/ha (s.d. 9.7). The stocking density of Holstein- Friesian dairy cows on both systems was 2.0/ha 2003 and 2.2/ha in each of the following three years. There were 22 cows per system in 2003 and 24 cows per system in each of the following three years. Cows calved within a 12 week interval in spring with mean calving date in mid-February. Milk was produced until mid-December each year. Total annual herbage DM production was lower (P < 0.01) on WC than FN (0.92 of FN). There were no (P > 0.05) differences in the in vitro organic matter digestibilities of pre-grazing herbage. The crude protein concentration in pre-grazing herbage DM was higher (P < 0.001) on FN than WC: 219 and 209 (s.e. 8.4.) g/kg, respectively. There were no (P > 0.05) differences in annual production of milk per cow (mean 6524 kg; s.e. 83.9 kg), live-weight or body condition score between the two systems. There were no (P < 0.05) differences in the lengths of the grazing season, which averaged 254 days (s.e. 0.9). Although there was no difference in performance per cow, the higher herbage production indicates that a higher stocking rate and milk output per hectare was possible from FN than WC. Nevertheless, the WC swards supported an annual stocking density of 2.15/ha and a milk output of 14 t/ha.
    • Comparison of pasture and concentrate finishing of Holstein Friesian, Aberdeen Angus × Holstein Friesian and Belgian Blue × Holstein Friesian steers

      Keane, Michael G.; Moloney, Aidan P (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      Crossbreeding Holstein Friesian dairy cows with both early and late maturing beef breed bulls is common in Ireland. This study concerned the comparison of spring-born Holstein Friesian (HF), Aberdeen Angus × Holstein Friesian (AA) and Belgian Blue × Holstein Friesian (BB) steers slaughtered directly off pasture in the autumn or following a period of concentrate finishing indoors. Male calves (18 per breed type) were reared together until August of their second year when they were assigned to a 3 (breed type) × 3 (finishing strategy) factorial experiment. The three finishing strategies were (i) pasture only for 94 days to slaughter (PE), (ii) concentrate ad libitum indoors for 94 days to slaughter (CE), and (iii) pasture only for 94 days followed by concentrate ad libitum indoors for 98 days to slaughter (PC). For HF, AA, and BB, mean carcass weight, carcass conformation score and carcass fat score values were 275, 284 and 301 (s.e. 5.1) kg, 1.75, 2.42 and 2.89 (s.e. 0.11), and 2.48, 2.89 and 2.17 (s.e. 0.11), respectively. Pasture alone supported live-weight and carcass-weight gains of approximately 800 g/day and 400 g/day, respectively. Live-weight and carcass-weight gains on concentrate ad libitum were approximately 1400 and 870 g/day, respectively. For PE, CE and PC, mean carcass weight, carcass conformation score and carcass fat score values were 244, 287 and 329 (s.e. 5.1) kg, 1.81, 2.56 and 2.69 (s.e. 0.11), and 1.83, 2.71 and 3.01 (s.e. 0.11), respectively. It is concluded that none of the breed types reached an acceptable carcass weight on PE and only HF had acceptable carcass finish. All breed types were acceptably finished on both concentrate finishing strategies.
    • Comparison of sugar-beet pulp and barley with and without soya bean meal as supplements to silage for growing steers

      Keane, Michael G.; National Development Plan 2000–2006 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2005)
      The optimum live-weight gain for growing steers in winter depends on the cost of feed and subsequent compensatory growth. The objectives of this experiment were: (1) to determine the response in growing steers to increasing levels of molassed sugar-beet pulp (MSBP) as a supplement to grass silage, (2) to compare MSBP and barley, and (3) to ascertain if there was a response to the inclusion of soya bean meal as a protein source with both MSBP and barley. Weanling steers (n = 154) were assigned to the following treatments: (1) silage only, (2) silage plus a low level of MSBP, (3) silage plus a low level of MSBP plus soya bean meal, (4) silage plus a high level of MSBP, (5) silage plus a high level of MSBP plus soya bean meal, (6) silage plus a high level of barley, and (7) silage plus a high level of barley plus soya bean meal. Low MSBP, high MSBP and barley levels were 1.5 kg, 3.0 kg and 3.0 kg per head daily, respectively. Where soya bean meal was included it replaced 0.2 kg/day (low) or 0.4 kg/day (high) of MSBP or barley. The duration of the treatments was 125 days (winter) after which the animals grazed together for 148 days. Silage intake decreased linearly (P < 0.001) with increasing MSBP level. Addition of soya bean meal had no effect on silage intake with low MSBP or barley but increased (P < 0.05) intake with high MSBP. Live-weight gain increased both linearly (P < 0.001) and quadratically (P < 0.01) with increasing MSBP. There was a significant live-weight response to the addition of soya bean meal which was greater at the high than at the low MSBP level and was greater for MSBP than barley. Across all treatments, growth rate at pasture was inversely related to growth rate in winter. Final live weights for the treatments as listed were 376, 395, 411, 400, 430, 427 and 428 (s.e. 14.2) kg. It is concluded that there was a curvilinear live-weight gain response to increasing MSBP level. There was no end-of-grazingseason live-weight response to the inclusion of soya bean meal with barley but there was with MSBP, particularly at the high level. MSBP with soya bean meal was equivalent to a similar quantity of barley.
    • A comparison of the feeding and grazing behaviour of primiparous Holstein-Friesian and Jersey × Holstein-Friesian dairy cows

      Vance, E.R.; Ferris, C.P.; Elliott, C.T.; Kilpatrick, D.J. (Teagasc, 2012-12)
      Food intake and feeding behaviour of Holstein-Friesian (HF) and Jersey × Holstein- Friesian (J × HF) dairy cows (14 primiparous cows of each genotype) were measured during a 54-day confinement period [cows offered a complete diet comprising conserved forage and concentrates; 66:34 dry matter (DM) basis], while herbage intakes and grazing behaviour were measured on three occasions during a 96-day grazing period. Throughout the experiment HF cows had a higher milk yield than J × HF cows (P < 0.05), while fat + protein yield was unaffected by genotype. During the confinement period HF cows had a higher food intake than the J × HF cows (P < 0.01), although DM intake/kg metabolic live weight (live weight0.75) was unaffected by genotype. With the exception of the number of ruminating bouts/day (P < 0.05), and idling time/day (P < 0.05), both of which were highest with the J × HF cows, genotype had no significant effect on any of the feeding behaviours examined during the confinement period. Herbage intake did not differ between genotypes during the grazing period, although when expressed on a kg live weight0.75 basis, intakes were highest with the J × HF cows (P < 0.05). While the smaller J × HF cows had fewer grazing bouts per day (P < 0.01), the mean duration of each grazing bout was longer (P < 0.001), resulting in a longer total grazing time (P < 0.05) and a greater number of grazing bites each day (P < 0.01). The smaller crossbred cows had to ‘work harder’ during the grazing period to achieve the same intakes as the larger HF cows.
    • The composition of dirty water on dairy farms in Ireland

      Martinez-Suller, L.; Provolo, G.; Carton, Owen T.; Brennan, D.; Kirwan, Laura; Richards, Karl G. (Teagasc, 2010)
      Considerable quantities of dirty water, composed of milking parlour wash-water, milk spillages, runoff from cattle yard areas and, possibly, effluent from silage and manure, are produced on dairy farms. In Ireland, dirty water from dairy farm facilities is normally managed by spreading on, or irrigation to, land. It has considerable potential to cause water pollution due to its high pH, 5-day biochemical oxygen demand and its N and P concentrations. The objective of the present study was to contribute to better management of dirty water on dairy farms by providing estimates of its composition using rapid methods that can be easily used on farms. During the experiment, 34 samples were collected from the facilities on the dairy farm at Teagasc, Johnstown Castle (Wexford), between 27 January and 1 May, 2006. Dry matter and specific gravity provided the best indicator of biochemical oxygen demand, total nitrogen and phosphorous, and micro and macro nutrients. The nutrient concentration of dirty water can be determined rapidly using either dry matter concentration or specific gravity, enabling farmers to include this information in the nutrient management plan for their farm.