• A laboratory study of the effects of water dissolved gypsum application on hydraulic conductivity of saline-sodic soil under intermittent ponding conditions

      Sahin, U.; Anapali, O. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2005)
      Reclamation of saline-sodic soils has great importance in agricultural management. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the methods used to apply water and gypsum on hydraulic conductivity of a saline-sodic soil with an electrical conductivity of 28 dS/m and exchangeable sodium percentage of 46%. The experiment was conducted under laboratory conditions using disturbed and non-cropped soil columns. A total of 45 cm of water was applied to each column with 3, 6, or 9 separate water applications. Finely ground gypsum (< 0.5 mm maximum particle diameter) was either incorporated into the surface 2 to 3 cm of soil or was dissolved into the leaching water at a rate corresponding to 3.82 t/ha. Six or nine separate water applications of gypsum dissolved into leaching water significantly increased hydraulic conductivity (P < 0.01). Soil hydraulic conductivity increased (P < 0.01) with depth at separate applications of gypsum.
    • Manipulating the ensilage of wilted, unchopped grass through the use of additive treatments

      McEniry, Joseph; O'Kiely, Padraig; Clipson, N.W.J.; Forristal, P.D.; Doyle, E.M.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      Baled silage composition frequently differs from that of comparable conventional precision-chop silage. The lower final concentration of fermentation products in baled silage makes it more conducive to the activities of undesirable microorganisms. Silage additives can be used to encourage beneficial microbial activity and/or inhibit detrimental microbial activity. The experiment was organised in a 2 (chop treatments) × 6 (additive treatments) × 2 (stages of ensilage) factorial arrangement of treatments (n = 3 silos/treatment) to suggest additive treatments for use in baled silage production that would help create conditions more inhibitory to the activities of undesirable microorganisms and realise an outcome comparable to precision-chop silage. Chopping the herbage prior to ensiling, in the absence of an additive treatment, improved the silage fermentation. In the unchopped herbage, where the fermentation was poorer, the lactic acid bacterial inoculant resulted in an immediate increase (P < 0.001) in lactic acid concentration and a faster decline (P < 0.001) in pH with a subsequent reduction in butyric acid (P < 0.001) and ammonia-N (P < 0.01) concentrations. When sucrose was added in addition to the lactic acid bacterial inoculant, the combined treatment had a more pronounced effect on pH, butyric acid and ammonia-N values at the end of ensilage. The formic acid based additive and the antimicrobial mixture restricted the activities of undesirable microorganisms resulting in reduced concentrations of butyric acid (P < 0.001) and ammonia-N (P < 0.01). These additives offer a potential to create conditions in baled silage more inhibitory to the activities of undesirable microorganisms.
    • Meta-analysis to investigate relationships between somatic cell count and raw milk composition, Cheddar cheese processing characteristics and cheese composition

      Geary, Una; Lopez-Villalobos, N.; O'Brien, Bernadette; Garrick, D.J.; Shalloo, Laurence (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2013)
      The relationship between elevated somatic cell count (SCC) and raw milk composition, cheese processing and cheese composition, was investigated by meta-analysis using available literature representing 45 scientific articles. With respect to raw milk composition there was a significant positive relationship between SCC and the protein and fat contents and a significant negative relationship between SCC and the lactose content. In relation to cheese processing, there was a significant negative relationship between SCC and recoveries of protein and fat. As SCC increased cheese protein content declined and cheese moisture content increased.
    • A methodological framework to determine optimum durations for the construction of soil water characteristic curves using centrifugation

      Vero, Sara E.; Healy, Mark G.; Henry, Tiernan; Creamer, Rachel E.; Ibrahim, Tristan G.; Forrestal, Patrick J.; Richards, Karl G.; Fenton, Owen T.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 30/12/2016)
      During laboratory assessment of the soil water characteristic curve (SWCC), determining equilibrium at various pressures is challenging. This study establishes a methodological framework to identify appropriate experimental duration at each pressure step for the construction of SWCCs via centrifugation. Three common temporal approaches to equilibrium – 24-, 48- and 72-h – are examined, for a grassland and arable soil. The framework highlights the differences in equilibrium duration between the two soils. For both soils, the 24-h treatment significantly overestimated saturation. For the arable site, no significant difference was observed between the 48- and 72-h treatments. Hence, a 48-h treatment was sufficient to determine ‘effective equilibrium’. For the grassland site, the 48- and 72-h treatments differed significantly. This highlights that a more prolonged duration is necessary for some soils to conclusively determine that effective equilibrium has been reached. This framework can be applied to other soils to determine the optimum centrifuge durations for SWCC construction.
    • Microarray analysis of spring barley cultivars displaying differing sensitivity to physiological leaf spot (PLS)

      Moran, Mary G.; Dix, Philip J.; Burke, James I. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2016-01-13)
      Physiological leaf spot (PLS) is a disorder of spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), which has become more pronounced in recent years. The initial symptoms are small chlorotic/brown spots on the upper four leaves, which may develop into necrotic lesions with an irregular shape. As PLS occurs on leaves that are directly exposed to sunlight, it is thought that high light stress could be a trigger for the condition. This study concentrates on two cultivars, Cooper and Crusader, which display differential sensitivity to PLS. Biochemical measurements and enzyme assays revealed substantial difference in levels of ascorbate, type III peroxidases, and superoxide dismutase between the chosen cultivars during the 2003 growing season. A global gene expression study, using these field samples, was performed by microarray analysis. This supported the biochemical findings and highlighted additional sets of genes differentially expressed between the cultivars. Transcripts of particular interest, which appeared, included calcium signalling genes, cold-responsive genes and those involved in the assembly of Photosystem I. We conclude that susceptibility to PLS is related to levels of expression of genes with a role in countering the effects of oxidative stress.
    • The microbiological and chemical composition of baled and precision-chop silages on a sample of farms in County Meath

      McEniry, Joseph; O'Kiely, Padraig; Clipson, N.W.J; Forristal, P.D.; Doyle, E.M.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      Baled and precision-chop silages were examined on a sample of farms in the Irish midlands to determine microbiological and chemical composition at feedout. Silage making practices and chemical composition were similar to those in national surveys. Wilting was an integral part of baled silage production and was reflected in a more restricted fermentation (higher pH and water-soluble carbohydrates, with lower fermentation acids and buffering capacity) compared to precision-chop silage. Yeast numbers were higher in baled silage, suggesting a more aerobic environment within the bale. Although the fermentation appeared similar in the outer and inner horizons of baled silage, yeast, lactic acid bacteria and Enterobacteria numbers were higher in the outer horizon suggesting less exacting anaerobiosis adjacent to the surface of the bale.
    • Milk quality and cheese diversification

      Sheehan, Jeremiah J (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2013)
      Abolition of EU milk quotas in 2015 is projected to result in a 2.75 billion litre increase in Irish milk production by 2020. Although cheese offers vital market opportunities for this increased milk production, traditional cheese markets such as Cheddar, are predicted to grow more slowly than for other semi-soft and semi-hard cheese types. Innovation is now focused on achieving greater diversity in cheese types manufactured on Irish commercial plants and on development of new products with specific properties for target markets. This innovation is best illustrated by the current Teagasc – Irish Dairy Board collaboration. This review considers the relative influence of milk quality on diversification of the portfolio of cheeses manufactured from a seasonally-produced Irish milk supply with particular reference to milk microbial profile and to milk enzyme complement for the manufacture and ripening of non-Cheddar cheese varieties.
    • Mixing sweet cream buttermilk with whole milk to produce cream cheese

      Bahrami, Masoud; Ahmadi, Dariush; Beigmohammad, Faranak; Hosseini, Fakhrisadat (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2015-12-30)
      Buttermilk is an important by-product of the manufacture of butter. Sweet-cream buttermilk (SCBM) is similar in composition to skim milk, except for its high phospholipid and milk fat globular membrane protein content. The main objective of this investigation was to produce optimum quality cream cheese by replacing whole milk with different proportions of SCBM (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50%). Statistical analysis showed that there were significant differences (p < 0.05) between the chemical and organoleptic properties of the samples. As the percentage of SCBM increased, the chemical composition of total solids, fat, protein, fat in dry matter (FDM) and ash of cheese milk decreased significantly, leading to a softer, moister curd. Samples prepared with more than 25% SCBM were not acceptable to the taste panel. The cream cheeses prepared using 25% and 30% SCBM had the highest yields. Total solids and FDM were strong predictors of cheese yield (r2 ≈ 0.589). The results also showed that the best range for replacement using SCBM is 20–25%.
    • Modelling fat and protein concentration curves for Irish dairy cows

      Quinn, N.; Killen, L.; Buckley, Frank (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      The objective of this study was to acquire a well-fitting, single-equation model that would represent the fat and protein concentration curves of milk from Irish dairy cows. The dataset consisted of 16,086 records from both spring and autumn calving cows from both experimental and commercial herds. Many models cited in the literature to represent milk yield were examined for their suitability to model constituent curves. Models were tested for goodness-of-fit, adherence to the assumptions of regression analysis, and their ability to predict total fat and protein concentration for an entire lactation. Wilmink’s model best satisfied these criteria. It had the best Mean Square Prediction Error (goodness-of-fit) value, it satisfied the assumptions of regression analysis (multicollinearity, heteroskedasticity, autocorrelation and normality of distribution), and it predicted the actual concentration of the constituents to within 0.01 percentage point.
    • Modelling the exposure to Cronobacter sakazakii by consumption of a cocoa-milk-based beverage processed by pulsed electric fields

      Pina-Perez, M. C.; Guillier, Laurent; Rodrigo, D.; Martinez, A. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2014)
      Infants’ exposure (Nf ) to Cronobacter sakazakii via the consumption of infant-rich-inpolyphenols cocoa-milk-based beverages (CCX-M) treated with high-intensity pulsed electric fields (PEF) was evaluated. Monte Carlo simulation enabled the prediction of the variability in C. sakazakii load in beverages at the time of consumption to be estimated. Different scenarios (initial contamination levels; PEF treatment conditions; and time-temperature combinations of CCX-M beverages storage after treatment) were simulated. Cocoa addition and PEF treatment resulted in the most influential input factors to control bacterial final load. Cronobacter spp. exposure risk was reduced by a maximum of 100 times at 95% of iterations due to addition of cocoa at 5 g/100 mL, corresponding to scenario 3 (PEF: 15 kV/cm–3,000 μs; storage 120 h at 8 °C). Moreover, the probability of illness for a healthy population was reduced from 2.15 × 10-8, in the baseline scenario, to 4.78 × 10-10 due to cocoa addition and application of 15 kV/cm–3,000 μs PEF treatment.
    • Monitoring of nitrogen leaching on a dairy farm during four drainage seasons

      Ryan, Michael; Brophy, C.; Connolly, J.; McNamara, K.; Carton, Owen T. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      The effect of four commonly used dairy farm management systems (treatments), on nitrogen leaching to 1 m was studied over a 4-year period from October 2001 to April 2005. The treatments were (i) grazed plots receiving dirty water, (ii) 2-cut silage plots receiving slurry, (iii) grazed plots and (iv) 1-cut silage plots receiving slurry. All plots had fertiliser N applied; the soil was free-draining overlying fissured limestone. Mean 4-year N input (kg/ha) was 319 and mean annual stocking density was ~2.38 LU/ha. The annual average and weekly NO3-N and NH4-N concentrations in drainage water were analysed for all years, using a repeated measures analysis. For the annual NO3-N data, there was an interaction between treatment and year (P < 0.001). There were significant differences (P < 0.05) in NO3-N concentrations between the treatments in all years except the third. For the NH4-N data there was no interaction between treatment and year or main effect of treatment but there were differences between years (P < 0.01). Mean weekly concentrations were analysed separately for each year. For NO3-N, in all years but the third, there was an interaction between treatment and week (P < 0.001); this occurred with NH4-N, in all 4 years. Dirty water was significantly higher than grazed-fertiliser only and 1-cut silage in NO3-N concentrations in 2001–02; in 2002–03, dirty water and 2-cut silage were significantly higher than the other treatments; while in 2004–05, dirty water and grazed-fertiliser only were significantly higher than the other two treatments. The overall 4-year mean NO3-N and NH4-N concentrations were 8.2 and 0.297 mg/L, respectively.
    • Mycotoxin occurrence on baled and pit silages collected in Co. Meath

      McElhinney, C.; Danaher, Martin; Elliott, C.; O'Kiely, Padraig (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2015-12-30)
      Recent studies of baled silages produced in Ireland have identified considerable filamentous fungal contamination. Many of these fungi are toxigenic, capable of producing secondary metabolites, namely mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are potentially detrimental to livestock health and some can pose a risk to consumers of animal products. Baled (n=20) and pit (n=18) silages from a sample of farms (n=38) in Co. Meath were examined to assess the occurrence of mycotoxins and ascertain whether sampling position within the pit silos (feed face vs. 3 m behind the feed face) has an effect on mycotoxin content or other chemical compositional variables. Of the 20 mycotoxins assayed, baled silages contained [mean of positive values (no. of values in mean)] mycotoxin concentrations (μg/kg dry matter) of beauvericin 36 (2), enniatin (enn.) A 9.3 (3), enn. A1 54 (8), enn. B 351 (9), enn. B1 136 (10), mycophenolic acid (MPA) 11,157 (8) and roquefortine C (Roq. C) 1037 (8) and pit silages contained beauvericin 25 (2) enn. A1 18 (2), enn. B 194 (9), enn. B1 57 (3), MPA 287 (6), Roq. C 3649 (6) and zearalenone 76 (1). There was no difference (P>0.05) observed in the mycotoxin concentrations between baled and pit silages, and 11 of the 20 mycotoxins assayed were below the limits of detection. The position of sampling had no effect on the mycotoxin concentration detected in pit silages. It is concluded that mycotoxin concentrations detected in these pit and baled silages in Co. Meath did not exceed EU regulation or guidance limits, and that similar chemical composition and mycotoxin concentration values occurred at the pit silage feed face and 3 m behind this feed face.
    • Nitrogen dynamics in a mature Miscanthus x giganteus crop fertilized with nitrogen over a five year period

      Finnan, John; Burke, B. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2014)
      The objective of this study was to investigate N dynamics and response to N fertilization in a mature crop of Miscanthus x giganteus. A crop of Miscanthus x giganteus sown in 1994 was fertilized with five N rates (0, 38, 63, 90 and 125 kg N/ha/year) over a five year period (2008–2012) in Carlow, Ireland. Foliar chlorophyll concentrations were directly related to N fertilization level throughout the study and rose after N applications until July before falling with the onset of N remobilisation. Shoot numbers were unaffected by N fertilization until the final years of the study when they increased with N level. Crop height was unaffected by fertilization in the early years of the study but in the final years of the study, it increased with N level until July after which the effect diminished. There was a small but significant stimulation of harvested biomass yields in autumn (average 15 t/ha) with increasing N fertilization, but there was no effect on harvested yields in spring (average 10.5 t/ha). The N concentration in the rhizome network gradually built up during the course of the study and was proportional to N application. Aboveground biomass N content was also proportional to N application. Nitrogen remobilisation between the October and February harvests was small; abscissed leaves accounted for most of the N loss over this period. The deleterious environmental consequences of N fertilizer may outweigh any potential economic benefits if increases in biomass production are small or non-existent.
    • Non-carcass parts and carcass composition of high dairy genetic merit Holstein, standard dairy genetic merit Friesian and Charolais × Holstein-Friesian steers

      McGee, Mark; Keane, Michael G.; Neilan, R.; Moloney, Aidan P; Caffrey, Patrick J. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2008)
      The increased use of Holstein genetic material in the dairy herd has consequences for beef production. A total of 24 spring-born calves comprising 8 Holsteins (HO), 8 Friesians (FR) and 8 Charolais × Holstein-Friesians (CH) were reared from calfhood to slaughter. At the end of the second grazing season they were assigned to a 3 (breeds; HO, FR and CH) × 2 (slaughter weights; 620 and 730 kg) factorial experiment and fin¬ished indoors. After slaughter carcasses were classified for conformation and fatness, all organs and non-carcass parts were weighed, and the right side of each carcass was dissected into fat, bone and muscle. Non-carcass parts, carcass weight, kill-out propor¬tion, carcass conformation score and m. longissimus area were 405, 398 and 368 (s.e. 8.31) g/kg empty body weight, 355, 344 and 383 (s.e. 9.4) kg, 509, 520 and 545 (s.e. 8.99) g/kg, 1.0, 2.0 and 3.1 (s.e. 0.16), 7616, 7096 and 9286 (s.e. 223.4) mm2 for HO, FR and CH, respectively. Corresponding proportions of carcass muscle and fat were 631, 614 and 656 (s.e. 8.4), and 165, 200 and 165 (s.e. 10.5) g/kg. Increasing slaughter weight increased the proportion of total non-carcass parts, carcass weight, carcass fat score and fat proportion, and reduced carcass muscle and bone proportions. It is concluded that differences in kill-out proportion between the two dairy breeds was primarily due to the lower proportion of gastrointestinal tract (GIT) in FR, and the higher kill-out proportion of CH was mainly due to lower proportions of GIT, internal organs and internal fat. In terms of beef production, HO and FR were broadly comparable for most traits except carcass conformation score and carcass fat proportion, which were lower for HO. CH was superior to the dairy breeds in all important production traits.
    • A non-destructive method for estimating onion leaf area

      Corcoles, J. I.; Dominguez, A.; Moreno, M.A.; Ortega, J. F.; de Juan, J. A. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2016-01-13)
      Leaf area is one of the most important parameters for characterizing crop growth and development, and its measurement is useful for examining the effects of agronomic management on crop production. It is related to interception of radiation, photosynthesis, biomass accumulation, transpiration and gas exchange in crop canopies. Several direct and indirect methods have been developed for determining leaf area. The aim of this study is to develop an indirect method, based on the use of a mathematical model, to compute leaf area in an onion crop using non-destructive measurements with the condition that the model must be practical and useful as a Decision Support System tool to improve crop management. A field experiment was conducted in a 4.75 ha commercial onion plot irrigated with a centre pivot system in Aguas Nuevas (Albacete, Spain), during the 2010 irrigation season. To determine onion crop leaf area in the laboratory, the crop was sampled on four occasions between 15 June and 15 September. At each sampling event, eight experimental plots of 1 m2 were used and the leaf area for individual leaves was computed using two indirect methods, one based on the use of an automated infrared imaging system, LI-COR-3100C, and the other using a digital scanner EPSON GT-8000, obtaining several images that were processed using Image J v 1.43 software. A total of 1146 leaves were used. Before measuring the leaf area, 25 parameters related to leaf length and width were determined for each leaf. The combined application of principal components analysis and cluster analysis for grouping leaf parameters was used to reduce the number of variables from 25 to 12. The parameter derived from the product of the total leaf length (L) and the leaf diameter at a distance of 25% of the total leaf length (A25) gave the best results for estimating leaf area using a simple linear regression model. The model obtained was useful for computing leaf area using a non-destructive method.
    • Note on a portable simulator for analysis of milking machine porformance

      O'Callaghan, Edmund, J. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
      A portable flow simulator was developed for recording vacuum variations in commercial milking machine clusters. The cluster in the milking unit under evaluation was mounted on the frame of the simulator and the flow of water through each liner was regulated by separate flow meters. By placing an artificial teat into the liners the flow characteristics during actual milking were simulated. Measurement vacuum sensors were mounted in the claw, in one artificial teat, in the pulsation chamber and in the milk pipeline. Analog and digital outputs were recorded. The system was validated by comparing the outputs with those obtained with a laboratory flow simulator and with recordings taken during cow milking. The recordings with the portable simulator and the laboratory simulator were identical; the profiles of the analogue signals obtained with the portable simulator and from cow milking were similar. The portable flow simulator will allow recording of vacuum variations in commercial milking machines during simulated or actual milking.
    • A note on challenge trials to determine the growth of Listeria monocytogenes on mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus)

      Leong, Dara; Alvarez-Ordonez, Avelino; Jordan, Kieran; Safefood (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 30/12/2015)
      In the EU, food is considered safe with regard to Listeria monocytogenes if the number of micro-organisms does not exceed 100 colony forming units (cfu)/g throughout its shelf-life. Therefore, it is important to determine if a food supports growth of L. monocytogenes. Guidelines for conducting challenge tests for growth assessment of L. monocytogenes on foods were published by the European Union Reference Laboratory (EURL) in 2014. The aim of this study was to use these guidelines to determine if refrigerated, fresh, whole, closed-cap, prepackaged mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) support the growth of L. monocytogenes. Three batches of mushrooms were artificially inoculated at approximately 100 cfu/g with a three-strain mix of L. monocytogenes and incubated for 2 days at 8°C followed by 4 days at 12°C. L. monocytogenes numbers were determined (in triplicate for each batch) on days 0, 2 and 6. Water activity, pH and total bacterial counts were also determined. There was no increase in the number of L. monocytogenes above the threshold of 0.5 log cfu/g in any of the replicates. In 8 of 9 replicates, the numbers decreased indicating that A. bisporus do not support the growth of L. monocytogenes. As the EU regulations allow < 100 cfu/g if the food cannot support growth of L. monocytogenes, the significance of this study is that mushrooms with < 100 cfu/g may be within the regulations and therefore, quantitative rather than qualitative determination may be required.
    • A note on muscle composition and colour of Holstein-Friesian, Piedmontese × Holstein-Friesian and Romagnola × Holstein-Friesian steers.

      Keane, Michael G.; Allen, Paul (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2009)
      Holstein-Friesian (HF), Piedmontese × Holstein-Friesian (PM) and Romagnola × Holstein-Friesian (RO) steers were compared for muscle composition and colour. A total of 120 steers in a 3 breed types (HF, PM and RO) × 2 feeding levels (low and high) × 2 finishing periods (short, S and extended, E) factorial experiment were used. Three samples of m. longissimus were taken for chemical analysis, measurement of drip loss and Hunterlab colour measurements. Muscle moisture and protein concentrations were lower, and lipid concentration was higher for HF than for PM and RO, which were similar. There were no effects of feeding level on chemical composition, but after blooming all colour values except hue were lower for the higher feeding level. The E finishing period reduced moisture, protein, drip-loss, L (lightness), a (redness) and chroma values. It is concluded that PM and RO had similar muscle composition but HF had a higher lipid concentration. Feeding level had few effects on muscle composition, but extended finishing increased all measures of fatness and reduced colour values.
    • A note on the chemical composition and in vitro digestibility of contrasting stover components of maize grown in climatically marginal conditions and harvested at differing maturities.

      Lynch, J.P.; O'Kiely, Padraig; Doyle, E. M. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2014)
      This study evaluated the nutritive value of three contrasting components of maize stover (leaf, upper stem, lower stem) at three harvest dates. The leaf component had a greater in vitro dry matter digestibility (DMD) and a lower NDF concentration, compared to the stem components. Delaying harvest reduced the in vitro DMD of the stem components to a greater extent than leaf, reflecting lower increases in the NDF and lignin concentrations in leaf tissue. The stem components of maize stover had a lower nutritive value than the leaf component, and had a larger decrease in digestibility with delayed harvest.
    • A note on the comparison of three near infrared reflectance spectroscopy calibration strategies for assessing herbage quality of ryegrass

      Burns, G.A.; O'Kiely, Padraig; Grogan, D.; Gilliland, T.J. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2014)
      Perennial ryegrass (n = 1,836), Italian ryegrass (n = 137) and hybrid ryegrass (n = 103) herbage was taken from harvested plots from the Irish national variety evaluation scheme and analysed for in vitro dry matter digestibility, water soluble carbohydrate concentration, crude protein concentration and buffering capacity. Spectral data were obtained using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy and three calibration strategies (global, species-specific or local) were utilised to relate the reference values to the spectral data. The local strategy generally provided the poorest estimation of herbage composition, with global and species-specific calibration strategies producing similarly accurate estimates of each quality trait. The higher accuracy and easier maintenance of the global strategy make it the recommended calibration method for analysing quality of ryegrass.