• 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 interactive effects of fertiliser nitrogen with dung and urine on nitrous oxide emissions in grassland

      Hyde, B.P.; Forrestal, Patrick J.; Jahangir, M.M.R.; Ryan, M.; Fanning, A.F.; Carton, Owen T.; Lanigan, Gary; Richards, Karl G.; Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; RSF 13S430; 11S138 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 08/09/2016)
      Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an important and potent greenhouse gas (GHG). Although application of nitrogen (N) fertiliser is a feature of many grazing systems, limited data is available on N2O emissions in grassland as a result of the interaction between urine, dung and fertiliser N. A small plot study was conducted to identify the individual and interactive effects of calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) fertiliser, dung and urine. Application of CAN with dung and urine significantly increased the mass of N2O-N emission. Importantly, the sum of N2O-N emitted from dung and CAN applied individually approximated the emission from dung and CAN fertiliser applied together, that is, an additive effect. However, in the case of urine and CAN applied together, the emission was more than double the sum of the emission from urine and CAN fertiliser applied individually, that is, a multiplicative effect. Nitrous oxide emissions from dung, urine and fertiliser N are typically derived individually and these individual emission estimates are aggregated to produce estimates of N2O emission. The presented findings have important implications for how individual emission factors are aggregated; they suggest that the multiplicative effect of the addition of CAN fertiliser to urine patches needs to be taken into account to refine the estimation of N2O emissions from grazing grasslands.
    • Determination of Listeria monocytogenes numbers at less than 10 cfu/g

      Hunt, K.; Vacelet, M.; Jordan, Kieran; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Dairy Processing Technology Centre; 11/F/008; TC 2014 0016. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 09/06/2017)
      Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen that causes a relatively rare foodborne disease called listeriosis, with a high mortality rate of 20%-30% and an undefined dose response. Current European Union regulations permit up to 100 colony-forming units (cfu)/g in food at the end of its shelf life, where the food has been shown not to support the growth of this pathogenic bacterium. Therefore, enumeration of L. monocytogenes at low numbers in food is important. The objective of this study was to reduce the detection limit of L. monocytogenes in food by a factor of 10. The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 11290-2 method for enumeration of L. monocytogenes in food recommends spreading 0.1 mL of a 1:10 dilution of the food on the surface of an agar plate (detection limit 100 cfu/g), or 1.0 mL spread in equal parts on the surface of three agar plates (detection limit: 10 cfu/g). The pour-plate method (using 1 or 10 mL of an appropriate dilution) was compared to the spread-plate method using the ISO-approved chromogenic medium Agar Listeria according to Ottaviani and Agosti (ALOA). Using the pour-plate method, the colony morphology and halo formation were similar to the spread-plate method from pure cultures and inoculated foods. Using the pour-plate method in a 140 mm Petri dish, 10 mL of a 1:10 dilution of food allowed determination of numbers as low as 1 cfu/g. Applying this method, L. monocytogenes in naturally contaminated food samples were enumerated at numbers as low as 1-9 cfu/g.
    • Sinapinic and protocatechuic acids found in rapeseed: isolation, characterisation and potential benefits for human health as functional food ingredients

      Quinn, Leah; Gray, Stephen G.; Meaney, Steven; Finn, Stephen; Kenny, Owen; Hayes, Maria (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 13/12/2017)
      Rapeseed is one of the world’s major oilseeds, and rapeseed oil is produced by pressing of the seeds. This process results in the production of a low-economic-value by-product, rapeseed meal, which is commonly used as animal feed. Rapeseed meal is rich in bioactive phenolic compounds, including sinapinic acid (SA) and protocatechuic acid (PCA). Isolation of these bioactive compounds from a by-product of rapeseed oil production is largely in agreement with the current concept of the circular economy and total utilisation of crop harvest using a biorefinery approach. In this review, current information concerning traditional and novel methods to isolate phenolic compounds – including SA and PCA – from rapeseed meal, along with in vitro and in vivo studies concerning the bioactivity of SA and PCA and their associated health effects, is collated. These health effects include anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-diabetes activities, along with histone deacetylase inhibition and protective cardiovascular, neurological and hepatic effects. The traditional extraction methods include use of solvents and/or enzymes. However, a need for simpler, more efficient methodologies has led to the development of novel extraction processes, including microwave-assisted, ultrasound-assisted, pulsed electric field and high-voltage electrical discharge extraction processes.
    • 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.
    • Assessment of water-limited winter wheat yield potential at spatially contrasting sites in Ireland using a simple growth and development model

      Lynch, J. P.; Fealy, Reamonn; Doyle, D.; Black, L.; Spink, John; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 19/09/2017)
      Although Irish winter wheat yields are among the highest globally, increases in the profitability of this crop are required to maintain its economic viability. However, in order to determine if efforts to further increase Irish wheat yields are likely to be successful, an accurate estimation of the yield potential is required for different regions within Ireland. A winter wheat yield potential model (WWYPM) was developed, which estimates the maximum water-limited yield achievable, within the confines of current genetic resources and technologies, using parameters for winter wheat growth and development observed recently in Ireland and a minor amount of daily meteorological input (maximum and minimum daily temperature, total daily rainfall and total daily incident radiation). The WWYPM is composed of three processes: (i) an estimation of potential green area index, (ii) an estimation of light interception and biomass accumulation and (iii) an estimation of biomass partitioning to grain yield. Model validation indicated that WWYPM estimations of water-limited yield potential (YPw) were significantly related to maximum yields recorded in variety evaluation trials as well as regional average and maximum farm yields, reflecting the model’s sensitivity to alterations in the climatic environment with spatial and seasonal variations. Simulations of YPw for long-term average weather data at 12 sites located at spatially contrasting regions of Ireland indicated that the typical YPw varied between 15.6 and 17.9 t/ha, with a mean of 16.7 t/ha at 15% moisture content. These results indicate that the majority of sites in Ireland have the potential to grow high-yielding crops of winter wheat when the effects of very high rainfall and other stresses such as disease incidence and nutrient deficits are not considered.
    • The interactive effects of various nitrogen fertiliser formulations applied to urine patches on nitrous oxide emissions in grassland

      Krol, Dominika J.; Minet, E.; Forrestal, Patrick J.; Lanigan, Gary; Mathieu, O.; Richards, Karl J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; RSF10/RD/SC/716; 11S138 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 19/09/2017)
      Pasture-based livestock agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) nitrous oxide (N2O). Although a body of research is available on the effect of urine patch N or fertiliser N on N2O emissions, limited data is available on the effect of fertiliser N applied to patches of urinary N, which can cover up to a fifth of the yearly grazed area. This study investigated whether the sum of N2O emissions from urine and a range of N fertilisers, calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) or urea ± urease inhibitor ± nitrification inhibitor, applied alone (disaggregated and re-aggregated) approximated the N2O emission of urine and fertiliser N applied together (aggregated). Application of fertiliser to urine patches did not significantly increase either the cumulative yearly N2O emissions or the N2O emission factor in comparison to urine and fertiliser applied separately with the emissions re-aggregated. However, there was a consistent trend for approximately 20% underestimation of N2O loss generated from fertiliser and urine applied separately when compared to figures generated when urine and fertiliser were applied together. N2O emission factors from fertilisers were 0.02%, 0.06%, 0.17% and 0.25% from urea ± dicyandiamide (DCD), urea + N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT) + DCD, urea + NBPT and urea, respectively, while the emission factor for urine alone was 0.33%. Calcium ammonium nitrate and urea did not interact differently with urine even when the urea included DCD. N2O losses could be reduced by switching from CAN to urea-based fertilisers.
    • Visual drainage assessment: A standardised visual soil assessment method for use in land drainage design in Ireland

      Tuohy, P.; Humphreys, James; Holden, N.M.; O'Loughlin, James; Reidy, B.; Fenton, Owen T. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 20/08/2016)
      The implementation of site-specific land drainage system designs is usually disregarded by landowners in favour of locally established ‘standard practice’ land drainage designs. This is due to a number of factors such as a limited understanding of soil–water interactions, lack of facilities for the measurement of soil’s physical or hydrological parameters and perceived time wastage and high costs. Hence there is a need for a site-specific drainage system design methodology that does not rely on inaccessible, time-consuming and/or expensive measurements of soil physical or hydrological properties. This requires a standardised process for deciphering the drainage characteristics of a given soil in the field. As an initial step, a new visual soil assessment method, referred to as visual drainage assessment (VDA), is presented whereby an approximation of the permeability of specific soil horizons is made using seven indicators (water seepage, pan layers, texture, porosity, consistence, stone content and root development) to provide a basis for the design of a site-specific drainage system. Across six poorly drained sites (1.3 ha to 2.6 ha in size) in south-west Ireland a VDA-based design was compared with (i) an ideal design (utilising soil physical measurements to elucidate soil hydraulic parameters) and (ii) a standard design (0.8 m deep drains at a 15 m spacing) by model estimate of water table control and rainfall recharge/drain discharge capacity. The VDA method, unlike standard design equivalents, provided a good approximation of an ideal (from measured hydrological properties) design and prescribed an equivalent land drainage system in the field. Mean modelled rainfall recharge/drain discharge capacity for the VDA (13.3 mm/day) and ideal (12.0 mm/day) designs were significantly higher (P < 0.001, s.e. 1.42 mm/day) than for the standard designs (0.5 mm/day), when assuming a design minimum water table depth of 0.45 m.
    • A note on the effects of paddock size on the white clover content of swards grazed by sheep

      de Wolf, P.; Schulte, Rogier P.; Lantinga, E. A. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
      The maintenance of a high white clover content in mixed swards under sheep grazing has been a challenge to date. This paper presents the results of an experiment in which the effect of the length of a grazing period on the botanical composition of a mixed sward was studied. Paddocks ranging in size from 0.014 to 0.133 ha were rotationally grazed by a flock of seven dry ewes. Consequently, grazing periods ranged from 1 to about 8 days. On all paddocks, the proportion of perennial ryegrass declined progressively during the grazing season, regardless of paddock size. The proportions of both white clover and creeping bentgrass content increased on all paddocks during the same period. For white clover, the size of the increase was negatively related to paddock size, whereas a positive relationship was found between the paddock size and the magnitude of the increase in creeping bentgrass. This suggests that the proportion of white clover may be increased under sheep grazing by implementation of strip-grazing.
    • Surveys of cereal diseases in Northern Ireland, 1976 to 2000

      Mercer, P. C.; Ruddock, A. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
      A number of disease surveys was carried out on the three main cereals grown in N. Ireland from 1976 to 2000, namely spring and winter barley and winter wheat. Although not all crops were surveyed in each year, the surveys provide a good picture of changes in disease spectra over the years. The most dramatic change in spring barley disease has been the almost complete disappearance of Blumeria graminis (mildew) and its replacement as the dominant disease by Rhynchosporium secalis (leaf blotch). Leaf-spotting ascribed to physiological causes also became more common in the latter years of the surveys. The disease spectrum of winter barley was more consistent from year to year, with Rhynchosporium secalis as the most common pathogen. Barley yellow dwarf virus was relatively severe in 1984, but in no other years. In winter wheat, there was a major change with the almost complete eclipse of Phaeosphaeria nodorum leaf blotch by Mycosphaerella graminicola (septoria tritici blotch). Gaeumannomyces graminis (take-all) was frequently severe. Surveys of cultivar popularity generally showed a rapid change in varieties over a relatively short time. Surveys of fungicide usage tended to show an increase in numbers of sprays applied, in spite of the fact that commercial pressures should have been acting towards a reduction in spraying.
    • Effects over time of fertiliser P and soil series on P balance, soil-test P and herbage production

      Herilhy, Mary M.; McCarthy, J.; Breen, James; Moles, Richard (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
      Quantification of the balance between P input and offtake (P balance), and the consequent effect on soil-test P, is essential for management of sustainable soil and fertiliser nutrient supply. Results of measurements on 31 cut swards showed that change in P balance over 4 years was significantly affected by both P treatment and soil series. The more negative P balances were in high-P soils, and in soils of non-limestone parent material compared with limestone parent material. Initial mean Morgan P of 4.3 and 12.6 mg/l, in low and high index groups (0 to 6.0 and ≥6.1 mg/l) decreased to 1.7 and 4.4 mg/l after 4 years with no P treatment, in response to annual changes of ca. 25 to 35 kg/ha in P balance. Decreases were progressively smaller with increased P input, and smaller in non-limestone than limestone soils. The ratio of negative P balance to change in Morgan P varied from 20:1 to 70:1 depending on soil P index and parent material. Five sites gave a response to P in the final year following annual P inputs of 20 and 40 kg/ha, although Morgan P was ≤3.0 mg/l at 12 sites in the preceding autumn and 3.1 to 6.0 at nine sites. The results showed that both P balance and soil series should be taken into account in efficient fertiliser management, and that data from cut swards can be extrapolated to grazed swards when adjusted for P offtake. However, the results did not support the assumption that inputs balance offtakes in direct proportion.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Effects of the design of a milking unit on vacuum variations during simulated milking

      O'Callaghan, Edmund, J. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
      The vacuum variations at the apex of an artificial teat during simulated milking were measured in a factorial-design laboratory test involving six cluster types, two internal diameters (13.5 mm and 16 mm) of long milk tube (LMT), three water flow rates (4, 6 and 8 l/min), simultaneous (4 × 0) and alternate (2 × 2) pulsation patterns and three pulsator ratios (60, 64, and 68%). Four of the six clusters were fitted with wide-bore tapered liners and represented all combinations of two claw volumes (150 or 420 ml) and two short-milk-tube bores (8.5 mm and 13.5 mm). Two clusters were fitted with narrow-bore liners (22 and 25 mm) that had large-bore short milk tubes and large claw volumes. The vacuum variations were expressed as mean vacuum at the teat-end during the b-phase of pulsation (TVB), mean vacuum at the teat end measured over complete pulsation cycles (TV), minimum vacuum measured over complete pulsation cycles (TVM) and amplitude of vacuum fluctuation measured over complete pulsation cycles (TVF). The highest level of TVB was recorded with wide-bore tapered liners. For a milking unit fitted with a wide-bore tapered liner TVF was reduced and TVM increased by increasing either the bore of the short milk tube or the volume of the claw. When the bore of the LMT was increased TVB, TV and TVF increased. Simultaneous pulsation gave higher TVB (P < 0.001) and higher TVF (P < 0.001) than alternate pulsation for all cluster types. The overall effects of altering pulsator ratio were significant but small in practical terms. There were significant interactions between cluster type and water flow rate and pulsation pattern for TVB, TV, TVM and TVF.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The effect of herbage mass and allowance on herbage intake, diet composition and ingestive behaviour of dairy cows

      Stakelum, G; Dillon, Pat (Teagasc, 2004)
      An experiment was conducted to examine the effects of herbage mass [HM, based on regrowth intervals of 35 (T) and 21 (S) days] and herbage allowance [HA, 20.2 (H) and 12.7 (L) kg organic matter (OM)/cow] on herbage OM intake (OMI), dietary composition and ingestive behaviour of dairy cows. Four groups of three cows each were used in a 4 × 4 greco-latin square design along with four oesophageal-fistulated cows. The treatment periods were 7 days and the squares (SQ) were repeated three times in a balanced way. The experiment was conducted from 11 April to 3 July 1986. The HM (organic matter) above 3 cm was 3064, 3472 and 3515 kg/ha for T and 2395, 1113 and 2396 kg/ha (s.e. 94) for S, for SQ 1 to 3, respectively. Organic matter digestibility (OMD) was 842, 799 and 778 g/kg for T, and 851, 842 and 804 g/kg for S (s.e. 0.9), for SQ 1 to 3, respectively. Sward height (cm) after grazing was 8.5 and 7.6 for T and S, and 9.6 and 6.5 for H and L (s.e. 0.18), respectively. OMI was 15.2, 14.8 and 15.2 kg for TH, 12.3, 11.9 and 10.7 kg for TL, 15.8, 14.8 and 14.5 kg for SH and 11.9, 11.1 and 11.2kg for SL (s.e. 0.24), for SQ 1 to 3, respectively. The OMD of the diet was closely related to proportion of live leaf in the diet and sward OMD. Average biting rate increased with decreasing HM (R2 0.65). Grazing time was 8.93, 9.11 and 9.06 h for TH, 8.13, 7.96 and 7.91 h for TL, 8.96, 9.59 and 9.29 h for SH and 8.56, 9.36 and 8.52 h for SL (s.e. 0.155), for SQ 1 to 3, respectively. Multiple regression analysis showed that OMI was significantly related to HM (+0.48 kg/t), OMD of the sward (+0.18 kg per 10 g/kg) and pre-experimental milk yield (+0.37 kg/kg) (R2 0.89). The increase in OMI with potential milk yield, as indicated by pre-experimental yield, accounted for 0.80 of the supplementary energy requirements.
    • Abstracts of papers presented at the 33rd Foodscience and Technology Research Conference, University College, Cork

      Presenters, Conference; Hanrahan, J. P. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
    • 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 suckler cow genotype and nutrition level during the winter on voluntary intake and performance and on the growth and slaughter characteristics of their progeny

      Drennan, Michael J; McGee, Mark (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2004)
      A 4-year study comparing Hereford × Friesian (HF) and Limousin × Friesian (LF) spring-calving cows and two grass silages on the performance of suckler cows and their progeny was undertaken using 163 cows. Cows were offered, to appetite, grass silage of either low (L) or moderate (M) digestibility in late pregnancy and early lactation. Cows and their calves spent from April until weaning in October at pasture. Bulls were slaughtered at 16 months of age and heifers at 20 months of age. There was no significant effect of cow genotype on dry matter (DM) intake, annual live-weight change or reproductive performance but annual body condition score gain was higher (P < 0.05) for HF than for LF cows. Cows offered the M silage had higher (P < 0.001) DM intake, lower winter live-weight loss (P < 0.001) and lower (P < 0.01) live-weight gain at pasture than cows offered the L silage. Calf birth, weaning and slaughter weights were not significantly different (P > 0.05) between genotypes. The male progeny of LF cows had a higher kill-out proportion (P < 0.001) and carcass weight (P < 0.05) and lower (P < 0.05) carcass fat score than HF cows. Compared to the M silage, the male progeny from cows offered the L silage had a greater daily gain from birth to slaughter (P < 0.05), slaughter weight (P < 0.05) and carcass weight (P < 0.05). The corresponding differences for female progeny were in the same direction but were not statistically significant.