Characterisation of dairy soiled water in a survey of 60 Irish dairy farms
KeywordDairy soiled water
Dairy parlour management
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CitationMinogue, D., French, P., Bolger, T., et al. (2016). Characterisation of dairy soiled water in a survey of 60 Irish dairy farms. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research, 54(1), pp. 1-16, doi:10.1515/ijafr-2015-0001
AbstractDairy farming in Ireland generates an effluent known as dairy soiled water (DSW), which consists of a relatively dilute mixture of cow faeces, urine, spilt milk and detergents that is typically applied to grassland. However, relatively little is known about the volumes generated, nutrient content and management factors that influence volume and concentration. Sixty dairy farms that had a separate storage tank for storing DSW were selected for this study. The spatial distribution of the farms reflected the spatial distribution of dairy cows across the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland, with each farm representing between 10,000 and 20,000 dairy cows. Samples were analysed for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), ammonium N (NH4-N), total nitrogen (TN), potassium (K), phosphorus (molybdate-reactive and total) (MRP and TP) and dry matter (DM) content. Management characteristics and parlour properties were quantified. Factors influencing volume and concentration of DSW were determined using mixed model multiple regression analysis. On average, 9784 l (standard error 209 l) of DSW, including rainfall, was produced cow−1 year−1 and this contained significant quantities of total N, P and K (587, 80 and 568 mg l−1, respectively). A typical Irish dairy farm stocked at 1.9 cows ha−1 could therefore supply approximately 13, 2 and 12 kg ha−1 of total N, P and K, respectively, across the farm, annually to meet some of the nutrient requirements for herbage production and potentially replace some of the synthetic fertilizer use. Seventy one percent of samples were within the regulated concentration limits of soiled water for BOD (<2500 mg l−1), rising to 87% during the closed period for slurry spreading (mid October to mid-late January), while 81% were within the concentration limits for DM (<1% DM), rising to 94% during the closed period. The efficiency of a milking parlour (cows per unit, time taken) plays a key role in determining the volume of DSW generated. This, in turn, also influences the concentration of nutrients and other chemicals. Large variability was found in nutrient concentrations and this presents a challenge for effective nutrient management to maximise the fertilizer replacement value of DSW.
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Production and carcass traits of high dairy genetic merit Holstein, standard dairy genetic merit Friesian and Charolais × Holstein-Friesian male cattleMcGee, Mark; Keane, Michael G.; Neilan, R.; Moloney, Aidan P; Caffrey, Patrick J. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2005)The increased proportion of Holstein genetic material in the dairy herd has consequences for beef production in Ireland. A total of 72 spring-born male calves (24 Holsteins (HO), 24 Friesian (FR) and 24 Charolais × Holstein-Friesians (CH)) were reared from calfhood to slaughter. Calves were artificially reared indoors and spent their first summer at pasture following which they were assigned, on a breed basis, to a factorial combination of two production systems (intensive 19-month bull beef and extensive 25-month steer beef) and two slaughter weights (560 and 650 kg). After slaughter the pistola hind quarter was separated into fat, bone and muscle. Live-weight gain, carcass gain, kill-out proportion, carcass conformation and carcass fat scores were 830, 811 and 859 (s.e. 14.9) g/day, 540, 533, 585 (s.e. 7.7) g/day, 526, 538 and 561 (s.e. 3.0) g/kg, 1.51, 2.18 and 2.96 (s.e. 0.085), and 3.40, 4.25 and 4.06 (s.e. 0.104) for HO, FR and CH, respectively. Corresponding values for pistola weight as a proportion of carcass weight, pistola muscle proportion and pistola fat proportion were 458, 459 and 461 (s.e. 2.6) g/kg, 657, 645 and 667 (s.e. 3.7) g/kg, and 132, 161 and 145 (s.e. 4.1) g/kg. Compared with the intensive system, animals on the extensive system had a lower (P < 0.001) daily live-weight gain, kill-out proportion and a lower muscle proportion in the pistola. Increasing slaughter weight increased (P < 0.001) carcass weight and carcass fat score and reduced the proportion of muscle in the pistola. Allometric regression coefficients for pistola weight on side weight, and total bone, muscle and fat weights on pistola weight were 0.898, 0.755, 0.900 and 1.910 respectively. It is concluded that HO grew at least as fast as FR but had a lower killout proportion. Carcass conformation and fat scores were greater for FR than for HO and muscle proportion in the pistola was lower and total fat proportion was higher. Compared with FR, CH had heavier carcasses, a higher kill-out proportion and less fat and more muscle in the pistola.
Non-carcass parts and carcass composition of high dairy genetic merit Holstein, standard dairy genetic merit Friesian and Charolais × Holstein-Friesian steersMcGee, 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.
Relationship between dairy cow genetic merit and profit on commercial spring calving dairy farmsRamsbottom, George; Cromie, A. R.; Horan, Brendan; Berry, Donagh P. (Cambridge University Press, 2011-12)Because not all animal factors influencing profitability can be included in total merit breeding indices for profitability, the association between animal total merit index and true profitability, taking cognisance of all factors associated with costs and revenues, is generally not known. One method to estimate such associations is at the herd level, associating herd average genetic merit with herd profitability. The objective of this study was to primarily relate herd average genetic merit for a range of traits, including the Irish total merit index, with indicators of performance, including profitability, using correlation and multiple regression analyses. Physical, genetic and financial performance data from 1131 Irish seasonal calving pasture-based dairy farms were available following edits; data on some herds were available for more than 1 year of the 3-year study period (2007 to 2009). Herd average economic breeding index (EBI) was associated with reduced herd average phenotypic milk yield but with greater milk composition, resulting in higher milk prices. Moderate positive correlations (0.26 to 0.61) existed between genetic merit for an individual trait and average herd performance for that trait (e.g. genetic merit for milk yield and average per cow milk yield). Following adjustment for year, stocking rate, herd size and quantity of purchased feed in the multiple regression analysis, average herd EBI was positively and linearly associated with net margin per cow and per litre as well as gross revenue output per cow and per litre. The change in net margin per cow per unit change in the total merit index was h1.94 (s.e.50.42), which was not different from the expectation of h2. This study, based on a large data set of commercial herds with accurate information on profitability and genetic merit, confirms that, after accounting for confounding factors, the change in herd profitability per unit change in herd genetic merit for the total merit index is within expectations.