• Beef production from feedstuffs conserved using new technologies to reduce negative environmental impacts

      O'Kiely, Padraig; Crosson, Paul; Hamilton, William J.; Little, Enda; Stacey, Pamela; Walsh, Karl; Black, Alistair D; Crowley, James C.; Drennan, Michael J; Forristal, Dermot; et al. (Teagasc, 2007-12-01)
      Most (ca. 86%) Irish farms make some silage. Besides directly providing feed for livestock, the provision of grass silage within integrated grassland systems makes an important positive contribution to effective grazing management and improved forage utilisation by grazing animals, and to effective feed budgeting by farmers. It can also contribute to maintaining the content of desirable species in pastures, and to livestock not succumbing to parasites at sensitive times of the year. Furthermore, the optimal recycling of nutrients collected from housed livestock can often be best achieved by spreading the manures on the land used for producing the conserved feed. On most Irish farms, grass silage will remain the main conserved forage for feeding to livestock during winter for the foreseeable future. However, on some farms high yields of whole-crop (i.e. grain + straw) cereals such as wheat, barley and triticale, and of forage maize, will be an alternative option provided that losses during harvesting, storage and feedout are minimised and that input costs are restrained. These alternative forages have the potential to reliably support high levels of animal performance while avoiding the production of effluent. Their production and use however will need to advantageously integrate into ruminant production systems. A range of technologies can be employed for crop production and conservation, and for beef production, and the optimal options need to be identified. Beef cattle being finished indoors are offered concentrate feedstuffs at rates that range from modest inputs through to ad libitum access. Such concentrates frequently contain high levels of cereals such as barley or wheat. These cereals are generally between 14% to 18% moisture content and tend to be rolled shortly before being included in coarse rations or are more finely processed prior to pelleting. Farmers thinking of using ‘high-moisture grain’ techniques for preserving and processing cereal grains destined for feeding to beef cattle need to know how the yield, conservation efficiency and feeding value of such grains compares with grains conserved using more conventional techniques. European Union policy strongly encourages a sustainable and multifunctional agriculture. Therefore, in addition to providing European consumers with quality food produced within approved systems, agriculture must also contribute positively to the conservation of natural resources and the upkeep of the rural landscape. Plastics are widely used in agriculture and their post-use fate on farms must not harm the environment - they must be managed to support the enduring sustainability of farming systems. There is an absence of information on the efficacy of some new options for covering and sealing silage with plastic sheeting and tyres, and an absence of an inventory of the use, re-use and post-use fate of plastic film on farms. Irish cattle farmers operate a large number of beef production systems, half of which use dairy bred calves. In the current, continuously changing production and market conditions, new beef systems must be considered. A computer package is required that will allow the rapid, repeatable simulation and assessment of alternate beef production systems using appropriate, standardised procedures. There is thus a need to construct, evaluate and utilise computer models of components of beef production systems and to develop mathematical relationships to link system components into a network that would support their integration into an optimal system model. This will provide a framework to integrate physical and financial on-farm conditions with models for estimating feed supply and animal growth patterns. Cash flow and profit/loss results will be developed. This will help identify optimal systems, indicate the cause of failure of imperfect systems and identify areas where applied research data are currently lacking, or more basic research is required.
    • CropQuest: Minor Crops Report

      Zahoor, Faisal; Forristal, Dermot; Gillespie, Gary; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/119 (Teagasc, 2015)
      In this report as part of the DAFM funded CROPQUEST desk study, a brief description outlining the characteristics of a range of minor crops, their uses/markets and their potential, if known, for production in Ireland is presented. The crops include: Amaranth, Borage, Calendula, Camelina, Crambe, Echium, Flax / Linseed, Hemp, Hops, Lentils, Lupins, Oats, Poppy, Quinoa
    • Laboratory Development of a Passive Proportional Sampler for Overland FlowStudies in Agricultural Fields

      Ryan, T. Declan; Forristal, Dermot (Canadian Society for Bioengineering / Société Canadienne de Génie Agroalimentaire et de Bioingénierie, 06/02/2015)
      Water-quality in many rivers remains poor and needs to be improved. Diffuse pollution continues to cause difficulties. Some instruments are available which can monitor pollution of rivers from land. They allow measurement and sampling of overland flow (OLF), but they do not offer the precision required (proportional sampling and samples 0.1% of OLF). A laboratory unit was constructed to mimic instrument performance in the field. This was used to test three sampler designs. A V-notch weir was used in the first sampler and a Sutro weir in the second and third as this unit possessed a proportional discharge to head ratio, which the Vnotch weir did not have. Other parameters investigated included ground slope, sampler slope, pipe size and port location. The remaining issues of nozzle size (0.7, 1.0 and 2.0 mm), the number of 1.0 mm nozzles and the effect of aspiration were investigated. The arrangement with the Sutro weir and three 1.0 mm nozzles in series gave proportional discharge and the target low sampling rate of 0.1%. This will allow the calculation of sediment and chemical losses for the monitored area and will put the loss in context with other losses in a catchment.
    • Precise Application of Fertiliser

      Forristal, Dermot; Plunkett, Mark (The Fertilizer Association of Ireland in association with Teagasc, 2017-05)
      The role of the fertiliser spreader is often under estimated in the delivery of fertilisers (N, P & K) as evenly and as accurately as possible. Fertilisers are a significant cost in grassland and tillage farming systems, representing between 20 to 30% of total production costs for either a cereal or grass silage crop. There are many steps involved in determining the actual rate of fertiliser from soil sampling to preparing a fertiliser plan. To profit from fertiliser planning it is essential that fertilisers are applied precisely and accurately. There are a number of factors to consider before spreading fertiliser such as: 1. Selecting the correct machine for the bout width and fertiliser to be used 2. Using good quality fertiliser 3. Correct setting of the machine Technical bulletin No. 3 produced by the Fertilizer Association of Ireland in conjunction with Teagasc identifies the steps to consider for the precise application of fertilisers to optimise farm profitability and sustainability.
    • Technologies for restricting mould growth on baled silage

      O'Kiely, Padraig; Forristal, Dermot; O'Brien, Martin; McEniry, Joseph; Laffin, Christopher; Fuller, Hubert T.; Egan, Damian; Doohan, Fiona; Doyle, Evelyn M.; Clipson, Nicholas J.W.; et al. (Teagasc, 01/12/2007)
      Silage is made on approximately 86% of Irish farms, and 85% of these make some baled silage. Baled silage is particularly important as the primary silage making, storage and feeding system on many beef and smaller sized farms, but is also employed as a secondary system (often associated with facilitating grazing management during mid-summer) on many dairy and larger sized farms (O’Kiely et al., 2002). Previous surveys on farms indicated that the extent of visible fungal growth on baled silage was sometimes quite large, and could be a cause for concern. Whereas some improvements could come from applying existing knowledge and technologies, the circumstances surrounding the making and storage of baled silage suggested that environmental conditions within the bale differed from those in conventional silos, and that further knowledge was required in order to arrive at a secure set of recommendations for baled silage systems. This report deals with the final in a series (O’Kiely et al., 1999; O’Kiely et al., 2002) of three consecutive research projects investigating numerous aspect of the science and technology of baled silage. The success of each depended on extensive, integrated collaboration between the Teagasc research centres at Grange and Oak Park, and with University College Dublin. As the series progressed the multidisciplinary team needed to underpin the programme expanded, and this greatly improved the amount and detail of the research undertaken. The major objective of the project recorded in this report was to develop technologies to improve the “hygienic value” of baled silage.