• The eating quality of beef from young dairy bulls derived from two breed types at three ages from two different production systems

      Nian, Yingqun; Kerry, J. P.; Prendiville, Robert; Allen, Paul; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 08/07/2017)
      Expansion of the Irish dairy herd has led to more dairy breed male calves being available for beef production. This study investigated the physico-chemical and sensory characteristics of beef from Holstein-Friesian (HF) and Jersey × HF (JEX) young bulls fed pasture grass only or pasture grass plus 2 kg concentrate during their first grazing season and slaughtered at 15, 19 or 22 mo of age. Longissimus thoracis (LT) muscles were collected from 67 carcasses. Postmortem pH, ultimate pH (pHu), meat colour, chemical composition, collagen content and solubility were evaluated. After ageing for 21 d, Warner-Bratzler shear force and cooking loss were determined, and assessments by a trained sensory panel were conducted. Meat from older animals was darker. The pHu, moisture and ash contents decreased, while residual roast beef flavour length increased with age. However, increasing age to slaughter did not negatively influence tenderness. JEX beef had lower cooking loss, was darker and redder, in addition to having higher sensory scores for initial tenderness and fattiness than HF beef. Warner-Bratzler variables were positively correlated with cooking loss and chewiness and were negatively correlated with intramuscular fat (IMF) content, soluble collagen and initial tenderness. In summary, most young dairy bull beef samples were acceptably tender after 21 d of ageing and half of them had acceptable IMF content. Slaughter age affected beef colour, pHu, chemical composition and flavour length. The eating quality of meat from the JEX breed type was considered to be superior to that of the HF breed type. Diet during the first season had no effect on meat quality traits.
    • The economics of reseeding on a dairy farm

      Shalloo, Laurence; Creighton, P.; O'Donovan, Michael (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2011)
      Herbage production and utilization on Irish dairy farms is well below its potential. A number of factors influence herbage production and utilization, not least the level of annual reseeding (introduction of a new grass ley) on the farm. The potential farm performance is reduced by old permanent pasture due to the combined effects of reduced out-of-season herbage production and lower overall herbage yield when compared to perennial ryegrass. Based on the sales of grass seed, it is estimated that approximately 2% of the land area on dairy farms in Ireland is reseeded annually. This has created a situation where the overall percentage of perennial ryegrass in sward is low. The objective of the present study was to investigate the economic benefits of reseeding through simulating the consequences of reseeding different proportions of the farm on an annual basis. Four levels of an annual reseeding programme were evaluated: 1%, 5%, 10% and 15% of the farm reseeded annually; evaluated at three milk prices (20 c/L, 27c/L and 33 c/L). Increasing the level of reseeding resulted in an increase in total and seasonal herbage production and, when accompanied by an increased stocking rate, increased herbage utilization. At a milk price of 27 c/L, farm profitability was €20 764, €24 794, €30 073 and €33 515 on a 40 ha farm when 1%, 5%, 10% and 15%, respectively, of the farm was reseeded annually. Irrespective of milk price, increasing the level of reseeding had a positive effect on profitability and the highest gain was achieved at the highest milk price. Sensitivity analysis showed that sward persistency and, to a lesser extent, herbage utilization had significant effects on the benefit from reseeding.
    • Effect of a bacteriophage cocktail in combination with modified atmosphere packaging in controlling Listeria monocytogenes on fresh-cut spinach

      Boyacioglu, O.; Sulakvelidza, A.; Sharma, M.; Goktepe, I. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2016-12-14)
      A Listeria monocytogenes-specific bacteriophage cocktail was evaluated for its activity against a nalidixic acid-resistant L. monocytogenes (Lm-NalR) isolate on fresh-cut spinach stored under modified atmosphere packaging at various temperatures. Pieces (~2 × 2 cm2) of fresh spinach inoculated with 4.5 log CFU/cm2 Lm-NalR were sprayed with the phage cocktail (6.5 log plaque-forming units [PFU]/cm2) or a control. The samples were stored at 4°C or 10°C for up to 14 d in sealed packages filled with either atmospheric air (AA) or modified atmosphere (MA). At 4°C under AA, the phages significantly (P ≤ 0.05) lowered the Lm-NalR populations on spinach, compared to control-treated inoculated samples, by 1.12 and 1.51 log CFU/cm2 after 1 and 14 d, respectively. At 4°C under MA, Lm-NalR was significantly reduced by 1.95 log CFU/cm2 compared to control leaves after both 1 and 14 d. At 10°C under AA, the phages significantly reduced Lm-NalR by 1.50 and 2.51 log CFU/cm2 after 1 and 14 d compared to the control. Again at 10°C under MA, the phages significantly reduced Lm-NalR by 1.71 and 3.24 log CFU/cm2 compared to control after 1 and 14 d, respectively. The results support the potential of lytic bacteriophages in effectively reducing populations of L. monocytogenes on freshcut leafy produce, under both AA and MA conditions.
    • Effect of age and nutrient restriction pre partum on beef suckler cow serum immunoglobulin concentrations, colostrum yield, composition and immunoglobulin concentration and immune status of their progeny

      McGee, Mark; Drennan, Michael J; Caffrey, Patrick J.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      The effect of cow age (multiparous (MP) v. primiparous (PP)) and nutritional restriction pre partum (grass silage ad libitum v. straw only ad libitum for the last 15 (s.d. 3.3) days of gestation) on cow serum immunoglobulin (Ig) concentration, on colostrum yield, composition and Ig concentration and on calf serum Ig concentrations (at ~8 and 48 h post partum) using spring-calving Limousin Holstein-Friesian cows and their progeny was studied over 3 years. The method of colostrum administration (stomach tube vs. assisted suckling within 1 h post partum) on calf immune status was also investigated. When feeding colostrum the target was to give each calf 50 mL per kg birthweight via stomach tube. Colostrum yield and Ig concentration were measured following administration of oxytocin and hand-milking of half (Experiments 1 and 2) or the complete udder (Experiment 3). Following an 8-h period after birth during which suckling was prevented a further colostrum sample was obtained. There was no significant difference in first milking colostrum Ig subclass concentrations between the within-quarter fractions or between the front and rear quarters of the udder in either MP or PP cows. Colostrum Ig subclass concentrations at second milking were 0.46 to 0.65 of that at first milking. Compared to MP cows offered silage, colostrum yield and the mass of colostrum IgG1, IgG2, IgM, IgA and total Ig produced was lower (P < 0.001) for PP cows and the mass of IgG1, IgM and total Ig produced was lower (P < 0.05) for MP cows offered straw. Calves from PP cows and MP cows offered straw had significantly lower serum IgG1 and total Ig concentrations at 48 h post partum than calves from MP cows offered silage but there was no difference (P > 0.05) between colostrum feeding methods. In conclusion, calves from PP cows and MP cows offered straw had a lower humoral immune status than those from MP cows offered grass silage.
    • The effect of antimicrobials on verocytotoxin bacteriophage transduction under bovine rumen fluid and broth conditions

      Nyambe, Sepa; Burgess, Catherine; Whyte, P.; Bolton, Declan; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; 11/F/051 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 15/11/2017)
      The verocytotoxin genes in verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli (VTEC) are carried by bacteriophages, incorporated into the bacterial genome (prophage). Antibiotics may promote phage replication and release to infect other cells (transduction), thus leading to the emergence of new VTEC strains. This study investigated transduction of a verocytotoxin2-encoding bacteriophage (3538(vtx2::cat)) under laboratory conditions, including the effect of antibiotic treatments. Luria-Bertani Miller broth and rumen fluid (raw and sterilised by irradiation) were inoculated with the donor (C600φ3538(Δvtx2::cat)) and recipient (E. coli C600::kanamycinR) strains (4 log10 cfu/mL) and incubated at 38°C. Antibiotic treatments (minimal inhibitory and sub-inhibitory concentrations of ampicillin, cefquinome, oxytetracycline and sodium sulfamethazine) were applied after 3 h. Samples were tested for donor, recipient, cell-free phage and transductants at times t = 0, 3, 4, 6, 27 (24 h post-antibiotic treatment) and 51 h. Free phage was detected in the untreated broth and rumen samples, as were the transductants confirmed by polymerase chain reaction. The antibiotic treatments did not significantly (P > 0.01) increase the concentrations of free phage or transductants detected. It was therefore concluded that, under laboratory conditions, the antibiotics tested did not induce bacteriophage lysis, release and infection of new bacterial cells beyond that constitutively found in the phage population.
    • Effect of autumn/spring nitrogen application date and level on dry matter production and nitrogen efficiency in perennial ryegrass swards

      O'Donovan, Michael; Delaby, L; Stakelum, G; Dillon, Pat; National Development Plan 2000–2006 (Teagasc, 2004)
      The influence of autumn/spring N-application date and level on grass dry matter (DM) production in spring and on N uptake, recovery and efficiency were examined over 3 years (1998, 1999 and 2000, identified as Year 1, 2 and 3, respectively). Seven N-application dates were investigated in years 2 and 3 while four application dates were investigated in Year 1. The application dates were 21 October (T1), 11 November (T2), 2 December (T3), 23 December (T4), 12 January (T5), 3 February (T6) and 23 February (T7). Three N-application rates (kg N/ha) were used: 30 (N30), 60 (N60) and 90 (N90) plus a zero-N control (N0). Herbage DM yields were determined on: 18 March (H1) and 8 April (H2). Two herbage masses (HM) (40 mm above ground level) at initial Napplication date were investigated: a high HM (HHM) of 500 kg DM/ha and a low HM (LHM) of 100 kg DM/ha. The HM at initial N-application date in Year 1 was HHM, in Year 2 LHM and in Year 3 both HHM and LHM. There was a significant effect of Year (P<0.001), HM (P<0.001), N-application date (P<0.001) and N level (P<0.001) on DM production at both H1 and H2. At H1 there was a significant interaction between N-application date and level for DM production. N-application date had a significant (P<0.001) effect on N recovery at both H1 and H2. The highest N recovery rate at the two harvest dates was at T5, while the lowest was at T1 and T2. At H1 and H2 there was a significant effect (P<0.001) of application date on response to applied N. The responses were 7.5, 8.0, 8.3, 12.0, 15.7, 7.3 and 5.6 (kg DM/kg N) (s.e. 1.88) for T1 to T7,respectively, at H1, while the corresponding values at H2 were 10.3, 8.7, 6.1, 15.2, 17.6,11.4 and 15.1 (s.e. 1.88). At H2 the response to applied N was 15.6, 11.5 and 9.1 (kg DM/kg N) for N30, N60 and N90, respectively (P<0.05). Regression analysis indicated that highest DM production was achieved with T5 for both H1 and H2 harvest dates, while the lowest responses were associated with T1, T2 and T3 application dates.
    • Effect of beef sire expected progeny difference for carcass conformation on live animal muscularity scores and ultrasonic muscle and fat depths, and on carcass classification and composition of their progeny

      Drennan, Michael J; McGee, Mark (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2008)
      The objective was to examine the effect of sire expected progeny difference (EPD) for carcass conformation score on the live animal and carcass traits of their progeny. In each of 4 years a Charolais sire of high and one of average EPD for carcass conformation score were mated to spring-calving suckler cows and the bull and heifer progeny were taken to slaughter at 455 (s.d. 25.2) and 607 (s.d. 29.5) days of age in 4 and 3 years, respectively. The difference in EPD between the sire EPD groups for carcass conformation and fat scores (scale 1 to 15), and carcass weight were, 0.45 units, −0.53 units and 9.7 kg, respectively. Muscularity scores were recorded at weaning (7 to 9 months of age) and pre-slaughter, and ultrasound measurements were recorded pre-slaughter. Carcass weight, and conformation and fat scores were recorded at slaughter and an 8-rib pistola from the right side of each carcass was dissected into lean, fat and bone. There was no significant effect of sire EPD group on live weight or carcass weight, but kill-out proportion, ultrasound muscle depth and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation muscularity scores were greater (P < 0.001) for progeny of the high than the average EPD group. Bull progeny of high EPD sires had better (P < 0.001) Signet muscularity scores and carcass conformation scores than bull progeny from average EPD sires, whereas there was no effect of sire EPD group on heifer progeny. Compared to progeny of the average EPD sire group, those from the high EPD group had a lower weight of kidney and channel fat (P 0.06) and carcass fat score (P < 0.05), lower proportions of fat (P < 0.001) and bone (P < 0.01) in the pistola, and higher weight of pistola, both absolutely (P < 0.01) and relative to carcass weight (P < 0.05), higher proportions of lean and high-value cuts in the pistola and higher carcass value (P < 0.001). Linear regression analysis showed that a 1 unit increase in sire EPD for carcass conformation score increased (P < 0.01) carcass lean proportion by 19.4 g/kg. In conclusion, although sire EPD for carcass conformation score was reflected in the conformation score of intensively-reared bull progeny and not in extensively-reared heifer progeny, carcass lean proportion and carcass value were higher for both genders.
    • Effect of biostimulants on cold resistance and productivity formation in winter rapeseed and winter wheat

      Gaveliiene, V.; Pakalniškytė, L.; Novickienė, L.; Balčiauskas, L. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2018-10)
      The aim of the study was to investigate the effects of biostimulants on the resistance to freezing under laboratory-controlled cold conditions and on the growth, development, overwintering and productivity of winter rapeseed and winter wheat in natural field experiments. The effect of free amino acids, macroelements and microelements that contain biostimulants Ruter AA, Terra Sorb and Razormin was tested on cultivars of rapeseed, ‘Hornet H’, and winter wheat, ‘Skagen’ and ‘Kovas’, applying morphometrical methods. We found that biostimulants applied to rapeseed at BBCH 13–14 stage and to wheat at BBCH 14–15 stage under controlled cold stress conditions increased the freezing tolerance of seedlings. Biostimulants more actively increased the freezing resistance of rapeseed seedlings at –5°C compared to that of wheat seedlings. The temperature of –7°C was mortal to rape seedlings, while the resistance of wheat seedlings increased under the influence of the tested biostimulants compared to that of the control seedlings. In natural field experiments, these biostimulants produced a significant effect on plant growth in autumn, acclimation to the cold, plant overwintering, vegetation renewal and, due to this, formation of productivity elements. The effects of Razormin (200 mL/ha), Terra Sorb (2 L/ha) and Ruter AA (1 L/ha) were significantly higher on growth parameters of winter wheat compared to the productivity of winter rapeseed.
    • The effect of boar breed type on reproduction, production performance and carcass and meat quality in pigs

      McCann, M.E.E.; Beatie, V.E.; Watt, D.; Moss, B.W. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2008)
      A total of 720 sows were inseminated with semen from eight commercially available boar breed types (Landrace, Large White, Duroc, Landrace Large White, Landrace  Duroc, Landrace Large White Duroc, Large White Duroc and Landrace Large White Pietrain). There were no effects of purebred versus crossbred boar breed type on reproductive performance or on production performance of progeny. The only carcass evaluation parameter affected was V measurement (backfat thickness at the edge of the eye muscle) which was 2 mm thicker (P < 0.05) for the progeny of crossbred boars. Meat from pigs of purebred boars breed had a higher proportion of intramuscular fat than that from crossbred boars breed (26.5 v 21.1 g/kg, respectively, P < 0.05). There were inconsistent effects of individual boar breed type on performance, carcass quality and meat qua lity. Producers should consider the variation between the progeny of individual boars to achieve improved production performance. There was also a lack of relationship between backfat at the P2 position and eye muscle area or depth (r  −0.03 and −0.01, respectively) which suggests that carcass characteristics other than P2 backfat need to be included in the selection of breeding animals. Similarly, the weak correlations between carcass and meat quality traits (r < 0.3) indicate that if meat quality is to be improved, it must be specifically included in the selection criteria.
    • Effect of carrot puree edible films on quality preservation of fresh-cut carrots

      Wang, X.; Kong, D.; Ma, Z.; Zhao, R. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2016-01-13)
      The effect of edible films based on carrot puree, chitosan, corn starch, gelatin, glycerol and cinnamaldehyde on fresh-cut carrots was studied during storage. Several parameters, such as firmness, colour, weight loss, total carotenoids, total phenols, polyphenol oxidase (PPO) activity and peroxidase (POD) activity in coated carrots were determined at regular intervals and then compared with the uncoated carrots throughout the storage period. Significant and expected changes were observed in all carrot samples that were compared. The coating treatment significantly (P < 0.05) delayed the senescence, reduced the deterioration of exterior quality and retained total carotenoids well compared with control (P < 0.05). In addition, significant inhibition of PPO activity (P < 0.05) and POD activity (P < 0.05) as well as reduced accumulation of polyphenols (P < 0.05) were observed for all coated samples. All of these favourable responses induced by coating treatment on minimally processed fresh-cut carrots showed beneficial physiological effects, which would give some useful references to the fresh-cut fruit and vegetable processing industry and satisfy people’s requirements allowing for extending product shelf life without negatively affecting the sensory quality or acceptability.
    • The effect of cereal type and feeding frequency on intake, rumen fermentation, digestibility, growth and carcass traits of finishing steers offered a grass silage-based diet

      Drennan, Michael J; McGee, Mark; Moloney, Aidan P (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      The effect of concentrate cereal type (rolled barley-based v. rolled wheat-based) and concentrate feeding frequency (one 6 kg feed v. two 3 kg feeds per day) on intake, rumen fermentation, diet digestibility and performance of finishing steers offered grass silage to appetite was evaluated over four experiments using a total of 154 animals. Not all four feeding treatments were used in each of the four experiments. The duration of the growth measurement period was 152, 112, 111 and 113 days for experiments 1 to 4, respectively, after which all animals were slaughtered. Dietary dry matter (DM) intake and in vivo digestibility, final live weight, kill-out proportion, carcass weight, carcass conformation score, carcass fat score and daily liveweight and estimated carcass gain were not affected (P > 0.05) by cereal type or feeding frequency. Cereal type or feeding frequency had no effect (P > 0.05) on feed conversion efficiency (FCE) expressed as either live-weight or carcass gain per unit DM intake. Neither mean rumen fluid pH or concentrations of ammonia or L-lactate were influenced by cereal type or feeding frequency. The mean molar proportion of propionate was higher and that of butyrate lower (P < 0.05) with wheat than with barley. Estimated carcass weight gain and FCE to carcass were similar for wheat based and barley-based concentrate as a supplement to grass silage offered either as one feed or two equal feeds daily.
    • Effect of concentrate feeding level in winter and turnout date to pasture in spring on biological and economical performance of weanling cattle in suckler beef production systems

      McGee, Mark; Drennan, Michael J; Crosson, Paul (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2014)
      Three experiments were carried out to determine the effects of supplementary concentrate feeding level (Low, LC; High, HC) to grass silage and/or turnout date to pasture in spring (Early, ET; Late, LT) for a second grazing season on performance to slaughter of spring-born, weaned beef calves (n = 188). Experiment 1 comprised of two concentrate levels (0.5 and 1.5 kg/day). Experiment 2 comprised of two turnout dates (19 March, 9 April). Experiment 3 comprised of two concentrate levels (0.5 kg and 2.0 kg/day) and two turnout dates (22 March, 12 April). In Experiment 1, live-weight gain during the indoor winter period was 25 kg higher (P < 0.001) for HC, whereas during the subsequent grazing season it was 17 kg higher (P < 0.05) for LC resulting in similar (P > 0.05) total live-weight gain for both treatments. In Experiment 2, live weight at turnout to pasture was 11 kg lower (P < 0.001) for ET than LT, whereas 8 days after late turnout, it was 15 kg lower (P < 0.01) for LT than ET. This difference in live weight was still evident 28 days later (P < 0.01) but not (P > 0.05), subsequently. In Experiments 1 and 2, live-weight gain during the finishing period and carcass weight, conformation and fat scores did not differ (P > 0.05) between the treatments. In Experiment 3, at turnout to pasture, HC were 35 kg heavier (P < 0.001) than LC, and ET were 12 kg lighter (P < 0.05) than LT, whereas 8 days after late turnout, ET were 13 kg heavier (P < 0.05) than LT. There was a concentrate level × turnout date interaction (P < 0.05) for live weight at the end of the grazing season, whereby the LC, LT treatment were lighter than the other treatments, which did not differ. Live weight at slaughter and carcass weight did not differ (P > 0.05) between the concentrate levels, whereas they were higher (P < 0.05) for ET than LT. Economic and stochastic analysis of Experiment 3 indicated that, in the context of whole-farm systems, (i) feeding HC was dependent on date of sale such that only where progeny were sold at the start of the second grazing season, net farm margin (NFM) was increased, (ii) ET only increased NFM where progeny were retained through to finish and, (iii) taking progeny through to finish was more profitable than selling earlier in the animals’ lifetime. In conclusion, subsequent compensatory growth at pasture diminishes the growth and economic advantage from concentrate supplementation or early turnout to pasture, of young late-maturing cattle.
    • Effect of creep feeding, dietary fumaric acid and level of dairy product in the diet on post-weaning pig performance

      Lawlor, Peadar G; Lynch, P Brendan; Caffrey, Patrick J. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2005)
      Fumaric acid (FA), level of dairy product in the diet and creep feeding were evaluated in three experiments using individually fed pigs (weaned at ca. 21 days and weighing about 6 kg). They were assigned at random to treatments. In Experiment 1, the treatments were: (1) no pre-weaning creep and no FA post-weaning, (2) no pre-weaning creep and 20 g/kg FA post-weaning, (3) pre-weaning creep and no FA post-weaning, and (4) pre-weaning creep and 20 g/kg FA post-weaning. In Experiment 2, the treatments were: (1) 50 g/kg dried whey, (2) 50 g/kg whey with 20 g/kg FA, (3) 50 g/kg whey with 30 g/kg FA, (4) 200 g/kg whey, (5) 200 g/kg whey with 20 g/kg FA, (6) 200 g/kg whey with 30 g/kg FA. In Experiment 3, the treatments were: (1) high dairy product (whey plus skim milk powder) diet, (2) high dairy product diet with 20 g/kg FA, (3) low dairy product diet, (4) low dairy product diet with 20 g/kg FA. The number of pigs per treatment in Experiments 1, 2 and 3 was 16, 10 and 10, respectively. All diets contained barley, wheat, herring meal and full-fat soybean meal. In Experiment 1, FA inclusion increased intake (518 ν. 466, s.e.d. 21.5 g/day, P < 0.05), daily gain (339 ν. 280, s.e.d. 18.1 g/day, P < 0.01) and improved feed conversion rate (1.55 ν. 1.70, s.e.d. 0.06, P < 0.05) in the first 3 weeks post-weaning. In Experiment 2, there was no effect of treatment. In Experiment 3, increasing the level of dairy product in the diet increased feed intake (P = 0.06) and daily gain (P < 0.05) and improved feed conversion rate (P < 0.01). The conclusions are that FA improved post-weaning performance and that increasing the level of dairy products in postweaning diets also improved performance.
    • The effect of cultivator/ridger type on the physical properties of ridge, power requirement and potato yield

      Bernik, R.; Vucajnk, F. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2008)
      In 2002, 2003 and 2004, field trials were carried out in Slovenia in the form of random blocks with five replications. Three potato cultivators/ridgers were used on medium textured soil. The aim was to establish which potato cultivator/ridger was the most suitable for inter-row space cultivation, ridge shaping and achievement of the highest possible potato yield, work-rate and productivity. A drawn cultivator/ridger with spring tines on a parallelogram framework and wing ridge heads attached (STC), was com¬pared with a drawn cultivator/ridger with rigid tines on a parallelogram framework and cogwheel ridge discs attached (RTC) and with a rotary, PTO-driven cultivator/ridger (RC). The latter created the largest cross-sectional area of the ridge and proved to be the most efficient at crushing soil aggregates in the inter-row space and at ridge shap¬ing. It also allowed the lowest cone resistance at the ridge centre and in the central part of the ridge side. A higher number of tubers per plant resulted from ridges made by the PTO-driven cultivator/ridger giving a higher total yield of tubers than with the other two cultivators/ridgers. In comparison with the drawn cultivators/ridgers, the PTO-driven cultivator/ridger shaped ridges with better physical properties on medium textured soil; however both drawn cultivators/ridgers had greater work-rates, and also needed less energy to cultivate a unit of area.
    • The effect of decoupling on farming in Ireland: A regional analysis

      Shrestha, S.; Hennessy, Thia; Hynes, Stephen (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      Data from the Irish National Farm Survey and Census of Agriculture were used to analyse the regional implications of the decoupling of direct payments for farmers in Ireland. A mathematical programming model was used to estimate the regional effects of decoupling while a micro-simulation model was exploited to map the geographic distribution of decoupled payments. The results show that under the historical decoupling scheme, milk quota will shift from less efficient to larger more efficient farms in all regions. Beef cattle numbers are projected to decrease on all farms, with the exception of the Mideast and Southeast regions where numbers are projected to increase. The regional effect of decoupling on sheep farming was marginal with all regions projected to benefit from the policy change. The analysis also shows, using a static micro-simulation model that a shift to a flat rate national calculation of the decoupled payment would result in a significant movement of revenues from the southern regions to the northwestern regions of the country. In particular, large beef and dairy farmers in the southern regions would lose out while small dairy and sheep farmers in the western and northern regions would be most likely to gain.
    • The effect of dietary crude protein concentration on growth performance, carcass composition and nitrogen excretion in entire grower-finisher pigs

      Carpenter, D. A.; O'Mara, Frank P.; O'Doherty, John V (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
      Two experiments, a performance experiment (n = 72) and a nitrogen balance (n = 16) experiment were conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary crude protein (CP) concentration on growth performance, carcass characteristics and nitrogen excretion of pigs. Dietary CP concentrations in experimental diets (g/kg) were 207.5, 170, 150 and 122.5 for treatments 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively, and were offered to individually-fed entire-male grower-finisher pigs (45 to 95 kg). The diets were formulated to contain 13.7 MJ digestible energy and 11 g total lysine/per kg. Synthetic lysine, methionine, threonine and tryptophan were added to achieve ideal protein status. There was a linear increase in food intake as CP concentration decreased (P < 0.05). There was a quadratic response in daily live-weight gain and food conversion ratio (P < 0.05) to the change in CP concentration (P < 0.05), with an improvement in daily gain and food conversion ratio occurring as CP concentration declined to 150 g/kg and a deterioration in these parameters thereafter. There was a linear decrease (P < 0.05) in lean meat proportion as CP concentration decreased. There was a linear decrease in urinary output (P < 0.05), urinary pH (P < 0.01) and slurry pH (P < 0.05) as dietary CP concentration decreased. There was a quadratic response in urinary nitrogen output (P < 0.05), total nitrogen output (P < 0.05) and N utilization as dietary CP decreased. In conclusion, a dietary CP level of 150 g/kg was optimal in terms of growth performance and reduced nitrogen excretion.
    • The effect of dietary garlic and rosemary on grower-finisher pig performance and sensory characteristics of pork

      Cullen, S.P.; Monahan, Frank J; Callan, J.J.; O'Doherty, J.V. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2005)
      The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of inclusion of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) and garlic (Allium sativum) in pig diets on apparent nutrient digestibility, pig performance, carcass characteristics and on sensory characteristics of the pork. Seventy individually-fed grower-finisher pigs (42 kg live weight) were offered one of the following diets ad-libitum: (1) control diet (based on wheat, pollard and soyabean meal), (2) control diet supplemented with rosemary at 1 g/kg (low rosemary; LR), (3) control diet supplemented with rosemary at 10 g/kg (high rosemary; HR), (4) control diet supplemented with garlic at 1 g/kg (low garlic; LG) and (5) control diet supplemented with garlic at 10 g/kg (high garlic; HG). Pigs offered diets with garlic had a lower feed intake (P < 0.01) and lower digestible energy intake (P < 0.05) compared to the pigs offered the control or rosemary diets during the grower-finisher period. Pigs offered the LG and HG diets had a better (P < 0.05) food conversion ratio (FCR) than the pigs offered the control or rosemary diets. Digestibility of dry matter and organic matter were lower (P < 0.05) for the HG diet than the LG diet. Gross energy digestibility and digestible energy concentration were lower for the HR than the LR diet. Sensory panellists found a significant difference (P < 0.001) in the sensory properties of cooked muscle from the control and HG treatments. In conclusion, the addition of garlic to the diets of grower-finisher pigs reduced feed intake and improved FCR while the addition of rosemary had no beneficial effects on growth performance or carcass characteristics.
    • Effect of feed on cholesterol concentration and oxidation products development of longissimus dorsi muscle from Iberian pigs

      Rey, A.I.; Lopez-Borte, C.J.; Buckley, J.D. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
      The effect of dietary free-range feeding or supplementation with copper and/or vitamin E in confinement on total cholesterol, neutral and polar lipids and cholesterol oxidation of the longissimus dorsi muscle from Iberian pigs was studied. Free-range fed pigs had higher (P=0.001) contents of γ-tocopherol and lower concentrations of α-tocopherol in the muscle than pigs fed diets supplemented with 100 mg/kg vitamin E. The total cholesterol content of the muscle was not significantly affected by the diets. However, the cholesterol:phospholipid ratio was higher (P<0.05), and consequently the membrane fluidity was lower, in the free-range fed pigs than in the pigs fed in confinement with either copper-supplemented (P<0.05) or vitamin E-supplemented (P<0.01) diets. The proportion of saturated fatty acids in phospholipids was greater (P<0.05) in the free-range fed group, which suggests metabolic regulation to maintain membrane structure. Free-range feeding produced higher levels of free fatty acids (P<0.01), lysophosphatidylcholine (P<0.05) and phosphatidylserine (P<0.01) and lower cholesterol esters (P<0.01) and sphingomyelin (P<0.05) in the muscle than the other groups. The ratios of phosphatidylethanolamine:phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin: phosphatidylcholine, which are indicators of membrane fluidity, were not significantly affected in any group. Dietary α-tocopheryl acetate supplementation produced lower β-epoxide (P<0.01), 7β-OH (P<0.05), and total cholesterol oxides (P<0.01) in cooked muscle after refrigerated display than in the other groups. These results indicate that supplementation with dietary α-tocopheryl acetate is more effective in reducing cholesterol oxidation than free-range feeding in cooked muscle from Iberian pigs. In evaluating oxidation, the composition of the muscle and meat treatment have to be considered as well as membrane fluidity.
    • The effect of floor type in farrowing crates on piglet welfare

      Lewis, Eva; Boyle, Laura; O’Doherty, J.V.; Brophy, P.; Lynch, P Brendan; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2005)
      The effect on piglet welfare of different combinations of flooring in the sow and piglet areas of farrowing crates was examined. One hundred and three multiparous sows were housed, from one week pre-farrowing through farrowing and lactation to weaning, in farrowing crates with one of five flooring combinations: SS – slatted steel in both the sow and piglet areas of the crate; SP – slatted steel sow flooring and plasticcoated expanded metal for the piglets; AP – slatted steel (with a checker-plate panel)sow flooring and plastic-coated expanded metal for the piglets; CP – expanded cast iron sow flooring and plastic-coated expanded metal for the piglets; PP – plastic-coated woven wire sow flooring and plastic-coated expanded metal for the piglets. The number of litters assigned to SS, SP, AP, CP and PP were 27, 23, 17, 18 and 18, respectively. All piglet areas had a water-heated pad. Piglets were examined for lesions, scored from zero to three according to severity, at six locations on each foot and at seven locations on each limb during the suckling period. Addition of scores at each location yielded a foot and limb lesion score. In addition, the proportion of piglets in a litter affected by at least one injury was calculated for each of the following: the carpal joints, coronets, accessory digits, footpads. Piglet behaviour was recorded for 2 h, between 1330 and 1630, at 24 h after birth. Litters were weighed at birth and at weaning, and all deaths were recorded during the suckling period. SS litters had higher foot and limb lesion scores (P < 0.001). In addition, a greater proportion of piglets in SS litters were affected by at least one injury to the carpal joint, coronet, accessory digit and footpad (P < 0.001). SP piglets were active on the heatpad in more observations than AP piglets (P < 0.05). PP piglets were inactive in other areas of the pen in more observations than SS piglets (P < 0.05). There was no effect of treatment on piglet weight gain or mortality. It is concluded that the use of slatted steel in piglet areas of farrowing crates cannot be recommended because of injuries to piglets’ feet and limbs. The combination of slatted steel in the sow area and plastic-coated expanded metal in the piglet area encourages use of the heatpad. However, use of plastic-coated woven wire in the sow area encourages piglets to use this area which puts them in danger of being overlaid by the sow.
    • Effect of fumaric acid, calcium formate and mineral levels in diets on the intake and growth performance of newly weaned pigs

      Lawlor, Peadar G; Lynch, P Brendan; Caffrey, Patrick J. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      The weaned pig has limited ability to acidify its stomach contents. The objective of this study (comprising three experiments) was to examine the effect of feeding diets containing fumaric acid (FA), calcium formate (CF) or diets of low acid binding capacity (ABC) on post-weaning pig performance. In all three experiments, pigs (10 per treatment) were weaned at 19 to 24 days, blocked on sex and weight and assigned at random to one of six treatments. In Experiment 1, treatments were: (1) control diet, (2) control 20 g/kg FA, (3) control 15 g/kg CF, (4) low Ca (2.8 g/kg) and P (5.1 g/kg) (LCaP) diet for seven days followed by the control diet, (5) LCaP diet for seven days followed by control 20 g/kg FA, and (6) LCaP diet for seven days followed by control 15 g/kg CF. In Experiment 2, treatments were: (1) control diet, (2) control 20 g/kg FA, (3) control 15 g/kg CF, (4) LCaP diet for 14 days followed by the control diet, (5) LCaP diet for 14 days followed by control 20 g/kg FA, and (6) LCaP diet for seven days followed by control diet. In Experiment 3, treatments were: (1) high Ca (HC) diet (12 g/kg), (2) medium Ca (MC) diet (9 g/kg), (3) low Ca (LC) diet (6 g/kg), (4) HC 20 g/kg FA, (5) MC 20 g/kg FA, and (6) LC 20 g/kg FA. Pigs were individually fed for 26 days. In Experiment 1, CF tended to depress daily feed intake (DFI) in the final two weeks (691 v. 759 and 749, (s.e. 19) g/day, P = 0.07) and overall average daily gain (322 v. 343 and 361 (s.e. 11) g/day, P = 0.09) compared with the control and FA supplemented diets, respectively. Feeding diets with LCaP for seven days post weaning increased DFI (208 v. 178, (s.e. 8) g/day, P < 0.01) in week 1 and tended to improve feed conversion rate in the first two weeks (1.65 v. 1.85, s.e. 0.10, P = 0.09). In Experiment 2, treatment had no significant effect on pig performance but feed conversion rate in weeks three and four was improved for Treatment 5 compared with Treatment 4 (1.30 v. 1.39 (s.e. 0.06) g/g, P < 0.01). In experiment 3, FA increased (P < 0.05) pig weight at day 14 (8.4 v. 7.7 (s.e. 0.2) kg) and feed intake in weeks one and two (223 v. 251, (s.e. 9) g/day). It is concluded that CF did not improve performance but reducing diet ABC or including FA in the diet did improve performance.