• The effect of water-soluble carbohydrate concentration and type on in vitro rumen methane output of perennial ryegrass determined using a 24-hour batch-culture gas production technique

      Purcell, Peter J; Boland, T.M.; O'Kiely, Padraig; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF 07 517 (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2014)
      The objective of this study was to examine the effects of water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) concentration and type on the in vitro rumen methane (CH4) output of perennial ryegrass (PR) using a 24-hour batch-culture gas production technique. Dried and milled PR was incubated either alone (PR-O) or with added sucrose (PR-S), inulin (PR-I), or sucrose plus inulin (PR-S+I; sucrose:inulin ratio of 1:4) in sealed glass bottles [0.5 g total substrate dry matter (DM) per bottle] at 39 °C for 24 hours with buffered rumen fluid. The WSC types were added (except for PR-O) so that the WSC concentration in each fermentation bottle at the start of the incubation was either 180 (i.e., PR-O), 225, 270, 315, or 360 g/kg of total substrate DM incubated. There were linear decreases in CH4 output per gram of DM disappeared (CH4/ivDMD) and per mmol of total volatile fatty acid output (CH4/tVFA) with increasing WSC concentration in the incubated substrate. The WSC type had no effect on in vitro rumen CH4 output. It is concluded that since CH4/ivDMD and CH4/tVFA were reduced by increasing the concentration of WSC incubated with PR, it would be worthwhile to undertake in vivo experiments to examine these effects on in vivo CH4 emissions per unit of animal product.
    • Investigating the role of stocking rate and prolificacy potential on profitability of grass based sheep production systems

      Bohan, A.; Creighton, Philip; Boland, T.M.; Shalloo, Laurence; Earle, Elizabeth; McHugh, Noirin; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15/S/696 (Elsevier BV, 2018-02-21)
      The objective of this study was to simulate and compare the profitability of a grass based sheep production system under three stocking rates and two prolificacy rates. Analysis was conducted using the Teagasc Lamb Production Model (TLPM), a stochastic budgetary simulation model of a sheep farm. Experimental data from the Teagasc Athenry Research Demonstration Flock was used to parameterise the model at three stocking rates (10, 12 and 14 ewes/ha) and two prolificacy potentials (1.5 and 1.8 lambs weaned per ewe joined to the ram). The TLPM assessed the performance of the key factors affecting profitability and was also used to evaluate the spread in profitability associated with some stochastic variables included in the analysis. The number of lambs weaned per hectare increased with stocking rate and prolificacy potential from 16 lambs/ha to 27 lambs/ha resulting in carcass weight produced per hectare ranging from 272 kg/ha to 474 kg/ha. Increasing stocking rates resulted in lower individual lamb performance from grass and milk, thereby increasing the proportion of lambs which required concentrate for finishing, which resulted in higher input costs on a per animal basis. As the number of lambs weaned per hectare increased, net profit increased from €361/ha to €802/ha. Across all stocking rates, increasing weaning rate from 1.5 to 1.8 lambs weaned per ewe joined increased net profit, on average, by €336/ha. Increasing stocking rate, at 1.5 lambs weaned per ewe joined, increased net profit on average by €15/ha while increasing stocking rate, at 1.8 lambs weaned per ewe joined increased net profit on average by €87/ha. Risk analysis showed that across all stocking rates the high prolificacy scenarios achieved greater profits across the variation in input variables. Results from this study indicate that lambs weaned per hectare linked with grass growth and utilisations are the key drivers of profitability on Irish grass based sheep production systems.
    • Pasture allowance, duration, and stage of lactation—Effects on early and total lactation animal performance

      Claffey, A.; Delaby, L.; Lewis, E.; Boland, T.M.; Kennedy, Emer; Dairy Levy (American Dairy Science Association, 2019-10)
      Pasture availability in early spring can be limited due to climatic effects on grass production, increasing the likelihood of feed deficits in early lactation of spring-calving pasture-based systems. We hypothesized that restricting pasture allowance (PA) when animals are at peak milk production will have more negative implications on milk production compared with restricting animals before this period. A total of 105 cows were assigned to 1 of 7 grazing treatments from March 14 to October 31, 2016 (33 wk). The control treatment was offered a PA to achieve a postgrazing sward height > 3.5 cm and mean pasture allowance of 15.5 kg of dry matter per cow. The remaining treatments were offered a PA representing 60% of that offered to the control for a duration of 2 or 6 wk from March 14 (mid-March; MMx2 and MMx6), March 28 (end of March; EMx2 and EMx6), or April 11 (mid-April; MAx2 and MAx6). Within grazing treatment, animals were also assigned to 1 of 2 calving dates (early and late) based on days in milk (DIM) on March 14. Early calved (EC) cows were ≥36 DIM, while late calved (LC) were ≤35 DIM. Restricting PA for 2 and 6 wk reduced daily milk yield (−1.6 and −2.2 kg/cow, respectively), cumulative milk protein yield (−4.0 and −6.3 kg/cow, respectively), and cumulative milk solids yield (−5.8 and −9.5 kg/cow, respectively) in the first 10 wk of the experiment. Daily milk yield was similar across the treatments at the end of the 33-wk period (16.8 kg/cow, average of all treatments), as was daily milk solids yield (1.40 kg/cow). Cows in the EC group produced less milk over the first 10 wk of the experiment (20.0 kg/cow per day) compared with the LC animals (22.1 kg/cow per day). However, body weight was greater (+15 kg/cow) in the EC animals compared with the LC, while body condition score was similar (2.85). This outcome indicates that animals that are restricted later in early lactation (circa onset of peak milk production) partition a greater proportion of available energy to maintenance, resulting in greater losses in milk production. These data indicate that despite the immediate reduction in milk production, restricting intake of grazing cows to 80% of that required to achieve spring grazing targets for postgrazing sward height for up to 6 wk may be used as a method of managing short-term pasture deficits on farm with minimal effects on total lactation performance.