• Animal welfare research – progress to date and future prospects

      Boyle, Laura A; Conneely, M.; Kennedy, Emer; O’Connell, N.; O'Driscoll, Keelin; Earley, Bernadette (Teagasc, 2022-02-26)
      RECORDABSTRACTARTICLE Animal welfare research – progress to date and future prospects OTHER Author(s): L. Boyle 1 , M. Conneely 1 , E. Kennedy 1 , N. O’Connell 2 , K. O’Driscoll 1 , B. Earley 3 , Publication date (Electronic): 26 February 2022 Journal: Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research Publisher: Compuscript Keywords: Animal welfare, beef, dairy, pig, poultry, welfare assessment Abstract The welfare status of an animal is dependent on its ability to cope and exist in harmony with its environment, such that good physical and psychological health is maintained. Improving animal welfare is an increasingly important aspect of livestock production systems due, in a large extent, to increased consumer concerns about animal production practices. Animal welfare is an integrated part of quality assurance programmes for sustainable animal production, considering that welfare, health, management, economy, consumer acceptance and environmental impact are interdependent. The major welfare concerns in the livestock industry in recent years relate to the rearing and management of dairy calves, the welfare of the dairy cow, effect of husbandry management procedures on the welfare of beef cattle, rearing of sows in gestation and farrowing crates, and the broiler (meat) chicken sector. The paper will focus on scientific research underpinning these welfare concerns, with a particular focus on research conducted on the island of Ireland.
    • Associations between colostrum management, passive immunity, calf-related hygiene practices, and rates of mortality in preweaning dairy calves

      Barry, John; Bokkers, Eddie A.M.; Berry, Donagh; de Boer, Imke J.M.; McClure, J. Trenton; Kennedy, Emer; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Elsevier, 2019-09-11)
      Calves are particularly vulnerable to health issues before weaning and experience high rates of mortality. Poor colostrum quality or substandard colostrum management, combined with poor hygiene, can increase disease susceptibility, contributing to elevated mortality rates. This study aimed to assess colostrum and calf management together with subsequent mortality rates in preweaning calves. Forty-seven Irish spring-calving, pasture-based dairy herds were enrolled in the study. To investigate whether colostrum and hygiene practices change as the calving season progresses, each farm was visited in both the first and last 6 wk of the calving season. The concentration of IgG in 250 colostrum samples and 580 calf serum samples was determined by radial immunodiffusion assay. Mean colostrum IgG concentration was 85 mg/mL, and mean calf serum IgG concentration was 30.9 and 27.1 mg/mL, respectively, in the first and last 6 wk of the calving season. Smaller herd size and younger age at sampling were associated with higher calf serum IgG concentration. Dairy breed calves were associated with higher serum IgG concentrations compared with beef breed calves; no association was detected based on sex. For feeding equipment hygiene, we assessed the presence of protein residues and found that hygiene levels tended to worsen from the first to the final 6 wk of the calving season. We found no association between feeding equipment hygiene and herd size or 28-d calf mortality rate. Colostrum and calf management practices were not associated with either calf serum IgG concentration or 28-d calf mortality rate. We found that IgG concentration in colostrum produced in Irish dairy herds was generally good, although large variation existed, emphasizing the need for assessment of colostrum before feeding. Results also suggested that hygiene practices associated with calf rearing can be improved, particularly in the latter half of the calving season.
    • Calf health from birth to weaning. III. Housing and management of calf pneumonia

      Lorenz, Ingrid; Earley, Bernadette; Gilmore, John; Hogan, Ian; Kennedy, Emer; More, Simon J (Biomed Central, 2011-10-21)
      Calfhood diseases have a major impact on the economic viability of cattle operations. A three part review series has been developed focusing on calf health from birth to weaning. In this paper, the last of the three part series, we review disease prevention and management with particular reference to pneumonia, focusing primarily on the pre-weaned calf. Pneumonia in recently weaned suckler calves is also considered, where the key risk factors are related to the time of weaning. Weaning of the suckler calf is often combined with additional stressors including a change in nutrition, environmental change, transport and painful husbandry procedures (castration, dehorning). The reduction of the cumulative effects of these multiple stressors around the time of weaning together with vaccination programmes (preconditioning) can reduce subsequent morbidity and mortality in the feedlot. In most studies, calves housed individually and calves housed outdoors with shelter, are associated with decreased risk of disease. Even though it poses greater management challenges, successful group housing of calves is possible. Special emphasis should be given to equal age groups and to keeping groups stable once they are formed. The management of pneumonia in calves is reliant on a sound understanding of aetiology, relevant risk factors, and of effective approaches to diagnosis and treatment. Early signs of pneumonia include increased respiratory rate and fever, followed by depression. The single most important factor determining the success of therapy in calves with pneumonia is early onset of treatment, and subsequent adequate duration of treatment. The efficacy and economical viability of vaccination against respiratory disease in calves remains unclear.
    • Characteristics of feed efficiency within and across lactation in dairy cows and the effect of genetic selection

      Hurley, A. M.; Lopez-Villalobos, N.; McParland, Sinead; Lewis, Eva; Kennedy, Emer; O'Donovan, Michael; Burke, Jennifer L.; Berry, Donagh; Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; European Union (Elsevier, 2017-11-23)
      The objective of the present study was to investigate the phenotypic inter- and intra-relationships within and among alternative feed efficiency metrics across different stages of lactation and parities; the expected effect of genetic selection for feed efficiency on the resulting phenotypic lactation profiles was also quantified. A total of 8,199 net energy intake (NEI) test-day records from 2,505 lactations on 1,290 cows were used. Derived efficiency traits were either ratio based or residual based; the latter were derived from least squares regression models. Residual energy intake (REI) was defined as NEI minus predicted energy requirements based on lactation performance; residual energy production (REP) was defined as net energy for lactation minus predicted energy requirements based on lactation performance. Energy conversion efficiency was defined as net energy for lactation divided by NEI. Pearson phenotypic correlations among traits were computed across lactation stages and parities, and the significance of the differences was determined using the Fisher r-to-z transformation. Sources of variation in the feed efficiency metrics were investigated using linear mixed models, which included the fixed effects of contemporary group, breed, parity, stage of lactation, and the 2-way interaction of parity by stage of lactation. With the exception of REI, parity was associated with all efficiency and production traits. Stage of lactation, as well as the 2-way interaction of parity by stage of lactation, were associated with all efficiency and production traits. Phenotypic correlations among the efficiency and production traits differed not only by stage of lactation but also by parity. For example, the strong phenotypic correlation between REI and energy balance (EB; 0.89) for cows in parity 3 or greater and early lactation was weaker for parity 1 cows at the same lactation stage (0.81), suggesting primiparous cows use the ingested energy for both milk production and growth. Nonetheless, these strong phenotypic correlations between REI and EB suggested negative REI animals (i.e., more efficient) are also in more negative EB. These correlations were further supported when assessing the effect on phenotypic performance of animals genetically divergent for feed intake and efficiency based on parental average. Animals genetically selected to have lower REI resulted in cows who consumed less NEI but were also in negative EB throughout the entire lactation. Nonetheless, such repercussions of negative EB do not imply that selection for negative REI (as defined here) should not be practiced, but instead should be undertaken within the framework of a balanced breeding objective, which includes traits such as reproduction and health.
    • Comparison of rapid laboratory tests for failure of passive transfer in the bovine

      Hogan, Ian; Doherty, Michael L.; Fagan, John; Kennedy, Emer; Conneely, Muireann; Brady, Paula; Ryan, Clare; Lorenz, Ingrid (Biomed Central, 2015-08-25)
      Background Failure of passive transfer of maternal immunity via colostrum can occur in the bovine, and a number of blood tests have been developed to test calves for this failure. It is not clear which test is most suitable for this purpose. The objective was to examine the most commonly used tests for failure of passive transfer and to decide which is most suitable for routine laboratory use. 126 serum samples were taken from calves of dairy cows after birth but prior to colostrum feeding, and at 48 h of age. Five different tests were compared against radial immunodiffusion which is considered the appropriate reference method. These tests were serum gamma-glutamyltransferase levels, serum protein levels, serum globulin levels, an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and the zinc sulphate turbidity test. Results The tests examined displayed high sensitivity but widely varying specificity. Examination of the use of different cut-off points allowed some improvement in specificity at the expense of sensitivity, but the tests which had performed best at the original cut-off points still displayed the best performance. Gamma-glutamyltransferase levels as a measure of colostrum absorption returned, in this study, the best balance between sensitivity and specificity. The ELISA used in this study and serum globulin levels displayed performance similar to the gamma-glutamyltransferase levels. Serum total protein was less successful than others examined at providing both sensitivity and specificity but may, when performed via refractometer, be useful for on-farm testing. As currently performed the poor sensitivity for which the zinc sulphate turbidity test is most often criticized is evident. Modification of the cut-off point to increase specificity is less successful at balancing these parameters than the ELISA, gamma-glutamyltransferase levels, and globulin levels. Conclusions Gamma-glutamyltransferase levels, ELISA testing and circulating globulin levels performed best in detecting failure of passive transfer in serum samples, although all three had some practical considerations.
    • Determining the predictive capability of a Clinical Assessment Scoring Chart to differentiate severity of the clinical consequences of neonatal calf diarrhea relative to gold-standard blood gas analysis

      Dillane, Patrick; Krump, Lea; Kennedy, Emer; Sayers, Riona; Sayers, Gearóid P. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2020-04-09)
      Neonatal calf diarrhea (NCD) is a major problem to calf health worldwide, in terms of both morbidity and mortality. A five-point ordinal scale clinical assessment scoring (CAS) chart was utilized to assess calves suffering from NCD-related clinical abnormalities (acidosis and dehydration) on commercial farms. The objective of this research was to determine the predictive capability of this CAS chart against gold standard blood gas parameters, designed to assist farmers in the accurate assessment of the clinical consequences of NCD. A total of 443 diarrheic and non-diarrheic calves were enrolled in the study. The CAS chart rated a calf’s health from no clinical signs to varying degrees of clinical severity on a 0 (clinically normal) to 4 (grave) scale, based on clinical indicators including calf demeanour, ear position, mobility, suckle reflex, desire-to-feed, and enophthalmos. Blood gas analysis was conducted for individual calves, consisting of pH, base excess, Na+, K+, Ca2+, Cl−, glucose, total hemoglobin, bicarbonate, anion gap, and strong ion difference. Statistical evaluation was performed by comparison of the CAS score with blood gas profiles using ordinal logistic regression and a non-parametric estimation of the Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC). The ROC analysis indicated that the CAS chart had acceptable specificity (>95%) with low sensitivity (<60%) in differentiating clinically normal from acidotic/dehydrated cases. Assessment of individual severity classes indicated that the chart can predict and differentiate both clinically normal and advanced cases from the other severity classes (peak estimations >80%) but had reduced accuracy in differentiating mild and moderate cases (peak estimations >50%). The chart, as presented, provides a simple tool to differentiate clinically normal from calves suffering the consequences of diarrhea, but fails to accurately differentiate severity for NCD related acidosis and dehydration. Further efforts are required to enhance the sensitivity and differential diagnostic value of this type of chart.
    • Does iodine supplementation of the prepartum dairy cow diet affect serum immunoglobulin G concentration, iodine, and health status of the calf?

      Conneely, Muireann; Berry, Donagh; Sayers, Riona; Murphy, Jessica P.; Doherty, Michael L.; Lorenz, Ingrid; Kennedy, Emer (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2014-08)
      Absorption of adequate IgG from colostrum is critical to provide the newborn calf with adequate immunological protection and resistance to disease. Excessive iodine supplementation of the prepartum ewe reduces IgG absorption of her offspring; it is possible that excessive iodine supplementation of the prepartum dairy cow may similarly impair the ability of the calf to acquire immunological protection. The objectives of this study were to determine whether the iodine status, health status, and ability of calves to absorb IgG from colostrum were affected by prepartum iodine supplementation strategies of their dams. Dairy cows (n = 127) received one of the following levels of iodine supplementation precalving: 15 mg of iodine/kg of dietary dry matter (DM) (HI); no additional iodine supplementation (MI); 5 mg/kg of dietary DM (SI); and 15 mg of iodine/kg of DM for the first 3.5 wk of the precalving period and no additional supplementation for the second 3.5 wk (HMI). Calves were assigned to 1 of 6 experimental treatments, based on the prepartum iodine supplementation treatment of their dam and the precalving treatment group of the cows from which the colostrum fed was obtained: (1) HI_HI: born to HI dams, fed HI colostrum (i.e., colostrum produced by cows in the HI group); (2) MI_MI: born to MI dams, fed MI colostrum; (3) SI_SI: born to SI dams, fed SI colostrum; (4) HI_MI: born to HI dams, fed MI colostrum; (5) MI_HI: born to MI dams, fed HI colostrum; and (6) HMI_HMI: born to HMI dams, fed HMI colostrum. Concentration of calf serum IgG and plasma inorganic iodine (PII) was measured at 0 and 24 h of age. Apparent efficiency of absorption for IgG was determined. Health scores were assigned to calves twice weekly and all episodes of disease were recorded. Cow experimental treatment group affected calf PII at 0 h of age; the PII of calves born to HI dams (987.2 µg/L) was greater than that of calves born to MI dams (510.1 µg/L), SI (585.2 µg/L), and HMI dams (692.9 µg/L). Calf experimental treatment group affected calf PII at 24 h of age; the PII of HI_HI (1,259.2 µg/L) and HI_MI (1,177.8 µg/L) calves was greater than MI_MI (240.7 µg/L), SI_SI (302.2 µg/L), HMI_HMI (320.7 µg/L), and MI_HI (216.3 µg/L) calves. No effect of experimental treatment was observed on the concentration of IgG measured in calf serum at 24 h of age, or on apparent efficiency of absorption. Experimental treatment had no effect on the likelihood of a calf being assigned a worse nasal, eye and ear, cough, or fecal score within the study period, nor did it affect the probability of a calf receiving treatment for a disease a greater number of times. Prepartum iodine supplementation of cows at 15mg/kg of DM increased the iodine levels in their calves at birth and 24 h of age, but did not affect their ability to absorb IgG from colostrum. Supplementation with iodine above the minimum requirements established by the National Research Council was unnecessary to ensure appropriate iodine levels in calves at birth.
    • Effect of feeding colostrum at different volumes and subsequent number of transition milk feeds on the serum immunoglobulin G concentration and health status of dairy calves

      Conneely, Muireann; Berry, Donagh; Murphy, Jessica P.; Lorenz, Ingrid; Doherty, Michael L.; Kennedy, Emer (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2014-09)
      Transfer of sufficient IgG to the newborn calf via colostrum is vital to provide it with adequate immunological protection and resistance to disease. The objectives of the present study were to compare serum IgG concentration and health parameters of calves (1) fed different volumes of colostrum [7, 8.5, or 10% of body weight (BW)] within 2 h of birth and (2) given 0, 2, or 4 subsequent feedings of transition milk (i.e., milkings 2 to 6 postcalving). Ninety-nine dairy calves were fed 7, 8.5, or 10% of BW in colostrum within 2 h of birth and given 0, 2, or 4 subsequent feedings of transition milk. The concentration of IgG in the serum of calves was measured at 24, 48, 72, and 642 h of age by an ELISA. The apparent efficiency of absorption for IgG was determined. Health scores were assigned to calves twice per week and all episodes of disease were recorded. The effect of experimental treatment on calf serum IgG concentration differed by the age of the calf. Calves fed 8.5% of BW in colostrum had a greater mean serum IgG concentration than calves fed 7 or 10% of BW at 24, 48, and 72 h of age. At 642 h of age, serum IgG concentrations of calves fed 8.5% of BW (24.2 g/L) and calves fed 10% of BW (21.6 g/L) did not differ, although the serum IgG concentration of calves fed 8.5% of BW was still greater than that of calves fed 7% of BW (20.7 g/L). No difference in serum IgG concentration existed between calves fed 7% of BW and those fed 10% of BW at any age. No significant effect of number of subsequent feedings of transition milk on calf serum IgG concentration was detected. The apparent efficiency of absorption of calves fed 8.5% of BW in colostrum (38%) was greater than calves fed 7% of BW in colostrum (26%) and tended to be greater than in calves fed 10% of BW (29%). Calves fed further feedings of transition milk after the initial feeding of colostrum had a lower odds (0.62; 95% confidence interval: 0.41 to 0.93) of being assigned a worse eye/ear score (i.e., a more copious ocular discharge or pronounced ear droop) and a lower odds (0.5; 95% confidence interval: 0.32 to 0.79) of being assigned a worse nasal score (i.e., a more copious and purulent nasal discharge) during the study period relative to calves that received no further feedings of transition milk. In conclusion, calves fed 8.5% of BW in colostrum within 2 h of birth achieved a greater concentration of IgG in serum in the first 3 d of life than calves fed either 7 or 10% of BW. Feeding calves transition milk subsequently reduced their odds of being assigned a worse eye/ear and nasal score.
    • Genetic parameters of dairy cow energy intake and body energy status predicted using mid-infrared spectrometry of milk

      McParland, Sinead; Kennedy, Emer; Lewis, Eva; Moore, Stephen; McCarthy, Brian; O'Donovan, Michael; Berry, Donagh; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; European Commission; Marie Curie project International Research Staff Exchange Scheme SEQSEL; et al. (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2014-12)
      Energy balance (EB) and energy intake (EI) are heritable traits of economic importance. Despite this, neither trait is explicitly included in national dairy cow breeding goals due to a lack of routinely available data from which to compute reliable breeding values. Mid-infrared (MIR) spectrometry, which is performed during routine milk recording, is an accurate predictor of both EB and EI. The objective of this study was to estimate genetic parameters of EB and EI predicted using MIR spectrometry. Measured EI and EB were available for 1,102 Irish Holstein-Friesian cows based on actual feed intake and energy sink data. A subset of these data (1,270 test-day records) was used to develop equations to predict EI, EB, and daily change in body condition score (ΔBCS) and body weight (ΔBW) using the MIR spectrum with or without milk yield also as a predictor variable. Accuracy of cross-validation of the prediction equations was 0.75, 0.73, 0.77, and 0.70 for EI, EB, ΔBCS, and ΔBW, respectively. Prediction equations were applied to additional spectral data, yielding up to 94,653 records of MIR-predicted EI, EB, ΔBCS, and ΔBW available for variance component estimation. Variance components were estimated using repeatability animal linear mixed models. Heritabilities of MIR-predicted EI, EB, ΔBCS, and ΔBW were 0.20, 0.10, 0.07, and 0.06, respectively; heritability estimates of the respective measured traits were 0.35, 0.16, 0.07, and 0.08, respectively. The genetic correlation between measured and MIR-predicted EI was 0.84 and between measured and MIR-predicted EB was 0.54, indicating that selection based on MIR-predicted EI or EB would improve true EI or EB. Genetic and phenotypic associations between EI and both the milk production and body-change traits were generally in agreement, regardless of whether measured EI or MIR-predicted EI was considered. Higher-yielding animals of higher body weight had greater EI. Predicted EB was negatively genetically correlated with milk yield (genetic correlation = −0.29) and positively genetically correlated with both milk fat and protein percent (genetic correlation = 0.17 and 0.16, respectively). Least squares means phenotypic EI of 198 animals stratified as low, average, and high estimated breeding values for MIR-predicted EI (animal phenotypes were not included in the genetic evaluation) were 154.3, 156.0, and 163.3 MJ/d, corroborating that selection on MIR-predicted EI will, on average, result in differences in phenotypic true EI.
    • Inter-relationships among alternative definitions of feed efficiency in grazing lactating dairy cows

      Hurley, A. M.; Lopez-Villalobos, N.; McParland, Sinead; Kennedy, Emer; Lewis, Eva; O'Donovan, Michael; Burke, Jennifer L.; Berry, Donagh; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Marie Curie project (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2015-11-14)
      International interest in feed efficiency, and in particular energy intake and residual energy intake (REI), is intensifying due to a greater global demand for animal-derived protein and energy sources. Feed efficiency is a trait of economic importance, and yet is overlooked in national dairy cow breeding goals. This is due primarily to a lack of accurate data on commercial animals, but also a lack of clarity on the most appropriate definition of the feed intake and utilization complex. The objective of the present study was to derive alternative definitions of energetic efficiency in grazing lactating dairy cows and to quantify the inter-relationships among these alternative definitions. Net energy intake (NEI) from pasture and concentrate intake was estimated up to 8 times per lactation for 2,693 lactations from 1,412 Holstein-Friesian cows. Energy values of feed were based on the French Net Energy system where 1 UFL is the net energy requirements for lactation equivalent of 1 kg of air-dry barley. A total of 8,183 individual feed intake measurements were available. Energy balance was defined as the difference between NEI and energy expenditure. Efficiency traits were either ratio-based or residual-based; the latter were derived from least squares regression models. Residual energy intake was defined as NEI minus predicted energy to fulfill the requirements for the various energy sinks. The energy sinks (e.g., NEL, metabolic live weight) and additional contributors to energy kinetics (e.g., live weight loss) combined, explained 59% of the variation in NEI, implying that REI represented 41% of the variance in total NEI. The most efficient 10% of test-day records, as defined by REI (n = 709), on average were associated with a 7.59 UFL/d less NEI (average NEI of the entire population was 16.23 UFL/d) than the least efficient 10% of test-day records based on REI (n = 709). Additionally, the most efficient 10% of test-day records, as defined by REI, were associated with superior energy conversion efficiency (ECE, i.e., NEL divided by NEI; ECE = 0.55) compared with the least efficient 10% of test-day records (ECE = 0.33). Moreover, REI was positively correlated with energy balance, implying that more negative REI animals (i.e., deemed more efficient) are expected to be, on average, in greater negative energy balance. Many of the correlations among the 14 defined efficiency traits differed from unity, implying that each trait is measuring a different aspect of efficiency.
    • Manipulation of the pre-partum diet of dairy cows to promote early adaptation to perennial ryegrass herbage

      Russo, V.M.; Wales, W.J.; Leury, B.J.; Hannah, M.C.; Kennedy, Emer; Teagasc; Agriculture Victoria Research; Dairy Australia; University of Melbourne (Teagasc, 2021-11-18)
      The diet of dairy cows in Ireland traditionally changes abruptly from predominantly pasture silage before calving to grazed perennial ryegrass immediately after calving. This potentially leads to problems with adaptation of microbes in the rumen with consequences of reduced intake and ultimately lower milk production. This experiment aimed to determine if introducing first-lactation dairy cows to perennial ryegrass herbage in the final weeks of pregnancy, thus eliminating a major dietary change at calving, could improve the adaptation process, potentially increasing dry matter intake (DMI) and milk production in early lactation. Three weeks prior to their expected calving date, 14 spring calving dairy cows were assigned to one of two treatments (n = 7): pasture silage pre-partum and perennial ryegrass herbage post-partum, or perennial ryegrass herbage both pre- and post-partum. Treatment diets were fed for 11 (±7) d pre-partum and for 14 (±0) d post-partum. For both treatments, DMI increased post-partum, but there was no difference between treatments, pre- or post-partum (5.9 and 8.8 kg DM/cow per day, respectively). There were no differences in milk yield or composition between the treatments. Body condition score declined following parturition but there were no differences between treatments. Plasma non-esterified fatty acids, glucose and β-hydroxybutyrate were also unaffected by treatment but did indicate a state of negative energy balance in early lactation. The results of this experiment suggest that pre-partum adaptation to perennial ryegrass herbage would not benefit milk production in first-lactation dairy cows in early lactation in Irish dairy farms employing this system.
    • Mid-infrared spectrometry of milk as a predictor of energy intake and efficiency in lactating dairy cows

      McParland, Sinead; Lewis, Eva; Kennedy, Emer; Moore, Stephen; McCarthy, Brian; O'Donovan, Michael; Butler, Stephen T.; Pryce, J. E.; Berry, Donagh; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; et al. (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2014-09)
      Interest is increasing in the feed intake complex of individual dairy cows, both for management and animal breeding. However, energy intake data on an individual-cow basis are not routinely available. The objective of the present study was to quantify the ability of routinely undertaken mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopy analysis of individual cow milk samples to predict individual cow energy intake and efficiency. Feed efficiency in the present study was described by residual feed intake (RFI), which is the difference between actual energy intake and energy used (e.g., milk production, maintenance, and body tissue anabolism) or supplied from body tissue mobilization. A total of 1,535 records for energy intake, RFI, and milk MIR spectral data were available from an Irish research herd across 36 different test days from 535 lactations on 378 cows. Partial least squares regression analyses were used to relate the milk MIR spectral data to either energy intake or efficiency. The coefficient of correlation (REX) of models to predict RFI across lactation ranged from 0.48 to 0.60 in an external validation data set; the predictive ability was, however, strongest (REX = 0.65) in early lactation (<60 d in milk). The inclusion of milk yield as a predictor variable improved the accuracy of predicting energy intake across lactation (REX = 0.70). The correlation between measured RFI and measured energy balance across lactation was 0.85, whereas the correlation between RFI and energy balance, both predicted from the MIR spectrum, was 0.65. Milk MIR spectral data are routinely generated for individual cows throughout lactation and, therefore, the prediction equations developed in the present study can be immediately (and retrospectively where MIR spectral data have been stored) applied to predict energy intake and efficiency to aid in management and breeding decisions.
    • An observational study using blood gas analysis to assess neonatal calf diarrhea and subsequent recovery with a European Commission-compliant oral electrolyte solution

      Sayers, Riona; Kennedy, Aideen E.; Krump, Lea; Sayers, Gearoid; Kennedy, Emer; Epsilion Ltd.; IV20151256 (American Dairy Science Association, 2016-04-06)
      An observational study was conducted on dairy calves (51 healthy, 31 with neonatal diarrhea) during outbreaks of diarrhea on 4 dairy farms. Clinical assessment scores (CAS) were assigned to each healthy and diarrheic calf [from 0 (healthy) to 4 (marked illness)]. Blood gas analysis [pH, base excess (BE), Na+, K+, Ca2+, Cl−, glucose, total hemoglobin, standard HCO3−, strong ion difference (SID), and anion gap (AG)] was completed for each calf. Repeated measurements were taken in healthy animals, and pre- and postintervention measurements were taken for diarrheic calves. The mean CAS of diarrheic calves was 1.7, with 51, 30, 17, and 2% of calves scoring 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. The mean value for blood pH, BE, AG, and SID was 7.26, −4.93 mM, 16.3 mM, and 38.59 mM, respectively. Calves were administered an oral rehydration and buffering solution (ORBS; Vitalife for Calves, Epsilion Ltd., Cork, Ireland) and reassessed. The mean CAS decreased to 0.38 (65% of calves scored 0 and 35% scored 1) at 6 to 18 h posttreatment and to 0.03 (98% of calves scored 0 and 2% scored 1) within 24 to 48 h. Significant increases in mean value for pH, BE, HCO3−, Na+, and SID, and significant decreases in AG, K+, Ca2+, and total hemoglobin were recorded posttreatment. The correlation estimates indicated that pH, HCO3−, and BE were strongly correlated with CAS, with values exceeding 0.60 in all cases. Administration of an ORBS with a high SID and bicarbonate buffer demonstrated rapid recovery from a diarrheic episode in dairy calves.