Articles published in 2022 but not yet assigned to specific volume number

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  • Linear type trait genetic trends in Irish Holstein-Friesian dairy animals

    Berry, D.P.; Ring, S.C.; Kelleher, M.M.; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine; 16/RC/3835 (Teagasc, 2022-11-04)
    The objective of the present study was to investigate the genetic trends of 18 subjectively scored linear type traits describing animal morphology, as well as udder, teat, feet and leg conformation. The analysis was undertaken using 2,932,700 Holstein-Friesian females born in the Republic of Ireland between the years 2000 and 2020, inclusive. The results indicate that Holstein-Friesian females have progressively become shorter in stature as well as shallower (i.e. body depth) and less angular. The reduction in genetic merit for stature score since the year 2004 was, however, only observed in non-herdbook-registered heifers. Furthermore, the reducing score in body depth (i.e. narrower) and angularity (i.e. less angular) was approximately twice as fast in non-herdbook-registered heifers as it was in herdbook-registered heifers. Differences in the genetic merit of the body-related traits for calves born versus those that became cows only existed prior to 2010 with little biological differences thereafter; this observation was common across most of the linear type traits. Genetic merit for locomotion in non-herdbook-registered animals has deteriorated over the 20-yr period, while the foot angle over that period is becoming lower; no such trends were observed for the herdbook-registered animals. Large differences not only in the trends themselves, but also in the mean genetic merit for udder traits existed when comparing herdbook-registered calves versus non-registered calves. In conclusion, genetic merit for many of the traits evaluated has trended relatively consistent in a given direction, albeit the cumulative change in genetic s.d. units per traits over the 20-yr period was very small.
  • Irish cattle farmers’ experiences and perceptions of negative framing of farm animal welfare in the media

    Duley, A.; Connor, M.; Vigors, B. (Teagasc, 2022-11-04)
    RECORDABSTRACTARTICLE Irish cattle farmers’ experiences and perceptions of negative framing of farm animal welfare in the media RESEARCH-ARTICLE Author(s): A. Duley 1 , , M. Connor 1 , B. Vigors 2 Publication date (Electronic): 04 November 2022 Journal: Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research Publisher: Compuscript Keywords: Agriculture, farm animal welfare, farmer perception, media framing, rural sociology Abstract Increased urbanisation in recent decades has created a knowledge gap between farming and the Irish public. Mainstream media has begun filling this gap through reports on farm animal welfare (FAW) incidents that sometimes frame farming in a negative way. This negative framing can influence how farmers perceive the information communicated in these media stories and colour their experiences. Furthermore, perceived societal pressures may contribute to farmers feeling overwhelmed or negatively impact their mental health. In the context of FAW, the latter is particularly relevant as poor farmer mental health has been associated with poorer animal welfare. However, little is known about how the negative framing of FAW stories influence farmers’ perceptions and experiences. The aim of this study was to explore how negatively framed media stories about FAW incidents affect cattle farmers’ perceptions of animal welfare. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with seven Irish beef and dairy farmers using vignettes displaying negatively framed FAW incidents presented in the media. Five themes were identified: (1) job satisfaction and motivation, (2) impact on the human–animal relationship, (3) the importance of community, (4) negative portrayal of farmers and (5) need for FAW education. Findings suggest that negative framing of FAW in the media, as well as rural restructuring in Ireland, may negatively affect farmers’ motivation which could have indirect implications for the welfare of their animals.
  • A short survey of key silage-making practices on Northern Ireland dairy farms, and farmer perceptions of factors influencing silage quality

    Ferris, C.P.; Laidlaw, A.S.; Wylie, A.R.G. (Teagasc, 2022-11-07)
    Northern Ireland dairy farmers (n = 174) were surveyed to identify key silage-making practices, and factors perceived to influence the quality of grass silage made on their farms. The majority of farmers (65%) harvested grass for silage three times/year: 62% normally used a contractor, while 47% routinely used a silage additive. Delays to mowing and delays to harvesting due to adverse weather or poor ground conditions were perceived to have a large or very large impact on silage quality (68% and 53% of farmers, respectively). Inadequate wilting, poor-quality swards on owned land, on rented land and “contamination” of first-cut grass with autumn or winter growth herbage were all perceived as having a large or very large impact on silage quality (32%, 27%, 40%, 30% of farmers, respectively). Over the previous decade, 11%, 41% and 37% of farmers claimed a small, moderate or large improvement in silage quality, mainly due to earlier cutting of grass and ensiling better quality swards.
  • Solutions to enteric methane abatement in Ireland

    Cummins, S.; Lanigan, G.J.; Richards, K.G.; Boland, T.M.; Kirwan, S.F.; Smith, P.E.; Waters, S.M.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Teagasc, 2022-11-10)
    The efficiency of Ireland’s grass-based livestock systems can be attributed to high outputs, low production costs and a low carbon footprint relative to housed systems. Methane (CH4) is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) of which enteric fermentation from livestock production is a key source, being directly responsible for 57% of Irish agricultural GHG emissions. There are a number of strategies including dietary manipulation and breeding initiatives that have shown promising results as potential mitigation solutions for ruminant livestock production. However, the majority of international research has predominantly been conducted on confined systems. Given the economic viability of Irish livestock systems, it is vital that any mitigation methods are assessed at pasture. Such research cannot be completed without access to suitable equipment for measuring CH4 emissions at grazing. This review documents the current knowledge capacity in Ireland (publications and projects) and includes an inventory of equipment currently available to conduct research. A number of strategic research avenues are identified herein that warrant further investigation including breeding initiatives and dietary manipulation. It was notable that enteric CH4 research seems to be lacking in Ireland as it constituted 14% of Irish agricultural GHG research publications from 2016 to 2021. A number of key infrastructural deficits were identified including respiration chambers (there are none currently operational in the Republic of Ireland) and an urgent need for more pasture-based GreenFeed™ systems. These deficits will need to be addressed to enable inventory refinement, research progression and the development of effective solutions to enteric CH4 abatement in Ireland.
  • Evaluating the timing of insecticide application to manage barley yellow dwarf virus and yield in winter barley

    Walsh, L. E.; Lacey, S.; Doyle, D.; Gaffney, M. T.; Mc Namara, L.; Department of Agriculture, Fod and the MArine; 14/s/879 (Teagasc, 2022-11-30)
    Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) is an important viral disease of grain crops worldwide and a major cause of yield loss. The risk periods for BYDV infection coincide with milder temperature that prolongs aphid flight and facilitates viral transmission through primary and secondary aphid movement in the crop. Secondary aphid movement is associated with greater BYDV spread in winter cereals. A critical component of BYDV management is therefore delaying sowing of winter cereals and correctly timing insecticide application to maximise crop protection. Previous research in Ireland considered insecticide timing in early (September) and late (October onwards) sown cereals. Early research did not consider action thresholds around temperature, aphid flight and risk of secondary spread. This research set out to understand the optimal timing of insecticide application in October sown winter barley to reduce BYDV infection and yield impact. A critical temperature of 3°C was used as a threshold for aphid development that leads to movement and BYDV spread, and insecticide treatments were applied to the crop at predictable intervals in relation to temperature. Results show that BYDV symptoms and yield are affected by spray time, location and year, although only significant with regard to the reduction of BYDV symptoms. For both BYDV symptoms and yield, there was a significant difference between untreated (control) plots and “early” and “late” applications of insecticide, again more notable for BYDV symptoms than yield. This work indicates the value of optimising a single insecticide spray for control of October sown cereals and supports decision-making in the management of cereal crops.
  • Yield response of field beans (Vicia faba) to plant population and sowing date in a temperate climate

    Murphy, L.C.; Sparkes, D.L.; Spink, J.H.; Alves, S.; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship programme; Irish Farmers Association (Teagasc, 2022-12-23)
    Sowing date and seed rate influence crop establishment, growth, yield and profitability. The growth and yield of field beans (Vicia faba) in response to sowing date and seed rate was examined over three seasons, 2016–2019, in Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland. Early winter sowings (October) established better than late winter sowings in November and January. No significant difference was found in establishment from mid-February to mid-March. Yield was generally highest from October sowings for the winter cultivar. Yields were similar from February, March and April sowings for the spring cultivar, with March generally yielding higher across the three seasons. Yield was also found to increase significantly with seed rate for both winter and spring cultivars. The economic optimum plant population was estimated for the October and March sowing dates, by fitting a standard (linear + exponential) curve. There is no published information on the optimum plant populations for field beans in Ireland and we believe we are the first to report these findings. The estimated economic optimum plant populations varied between 13 and 38 plants/m2 for both varieties, with an average optimum of 25.5 plants/m2. This range falls within the current recommendations for sowing field beans in Ireland, demonstrating that increasing plant populations above the current commercial practice for field beans in Ireland, will not increase yield or profitability.
  • A note on current pyrethroid susceptibility in the bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi in Ireland

    George, A.; Meally, H.; Foster, S.; Williamson, M.; Walsh, L.; Carroll, J.; Gaffney, M.T.; McNamara, L.; South East Technological University, President’s Fellowship scheme; Teagasc (Teagasc, 2022-12-28)
    The objective of this study was to observe the response of the bird cherry oat aphid, Rhopalosiphum padi (Linnaeus, 1758) to field rate equivalents of insecticides, by using bioassays of vials coated with the pyrethroid, λ-cyhalothrin. The results from the geographically separated Irish R. padi colonies indicated a susceptible response, which was a similar finding to the UK which showed sensitivity in this species of cereal aphids. Monitoring the susceptibility status of aphids using bioassays gives information regarding developments of any tolerance, which could be a precursor, or resistance against the target chemical insecticide, which is an important integrated pest management tool.
  • Identification and distribution of leatherjackets (Tipula spp.) in the Republic of Ireland

    Moffat, A.; Gaffney, M. T.; Brennan, F.; Cole, L.; Jackson, G.; Konkolewska, A.; McNamara, L.; Teagasc (Teagasc, 2022-12-28)
    The soil-dwelling larval stage of crane flies, commonly known as leatherjackets, are classified as agricultural pests in Europe, and pests of turf in North America and Canada. They cause significant damage and yield loss in many cropping systems through their feeding on plant roots and stems at ground level. The effective chemical control for these pests, chlorpyrifos (available since 1965), was prohibited across Europe in 2019. This has left severely restricted control options for growers. Unlike Northern Ireland and Great Britain, no leatherjacket surveys or routine identifications have been conducted across Ireland. Therefore, the leatherjacket species of agronomic importance has not been confirmed. Since lifecycles, feeding behaviour and damage periods differ between species, identifying the most common species is a vital first step in any pest management strategy. Here we report key findings from a 2-yr structured survey of Irish crops, conducted in 2019 and 2021, where 135 sites were sampled. Both grassland and cereal crops were inspected. Soil cores and soil samples were collected and larval abundance determined. The European crane fly, Tipula paludosa Meigen, accounted for approximately 70% of larvae collected and identified (n = 337). In 2019, 40% of grasslands exceeded the threshold of 1 million larvae/ha, while only 3.3% of cereal fields were over the threshold of 600,000 larvae/ha. These results indicate that agricultural grasslands in Ireland have the potential to be significantly impacted by leatherjacket damage, although this may vary temporally and geographically across the island. Without effective control options, yield losses will be highly probable.
  • Effects of early spring N-fertilisation strategies on grass production and nitrogen recovery

    McNamara, K.A.; Casey, I.; Humphreys, James; European Union; Irish Dairy Levy (Teagasc, 2022-11-02)
    Application rate and application date of fertiliser nitrogen (N) are important factors determining grass production response and N recovery by grassland in spring. This study was conducted at two sites with different soil types (sandy loam and clay loam) in Ireland in spring 2005 and 2006. In comparison with a non-fertilised (zero-N) control, urea N was applied at rates of 60 and 90 kg N/ha either as single or split applications on eight dates ranging between 11 January and 14 March. Grass was harvested on four occasions between 21 February and 25 April. Split fertiliser N applications provided the best outcome in relation to grass DM production, apparent recovery of fertiliser N (ARFN) and cost of additional grass produced compared with single applications. Likewise, in this study the optimum date to commence fertiliser N application was 21 January combined with a second application on 26 February in terms of the cost-effectiveness of the fertiliser N input to increase grass DM production.
  • Lipid and protein oxidation and colour stability during display in high oxygen modified atmosphere packaging of beef from late-maturing bulls fed rumen protected fish oil

    Siphambili, S.; Moloney, Aidan; O'Riordan, Edward G.; McGee, Mark; Monahan, F.J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/SF/322 (Teagasc, 2022-11-02)
    Increasing the concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in beef enhances its nutritional value but may compromise its oxidative shelf life. In this experiment, the impact of inclusion of rumen protected fish oil (PFO) in the finishing diet of late-maturing bulls on muscle fatty acid profile, antioxidant content, lipid stability, colour and protein oxidation was investigated. Charolais-sired suckler bulls were offered ad libitum, for 101 d pre-slaughter, a barley-based concentrate (C) or a concentrate containing rumen PFO. Following post-mortem ageing for 14 d, M. Longissimus thoracis muscle was subjected to simulated retail display (4°C, 1,000 lux for 12 h out of 24 h) for 3, 7 and 10 d in modified atmosphere packs (O2:CO2; 80:20). The concentrations of C22:6n-3, n-6 PUFA and total PUFA and the n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio were higher (P < 0.001) in muscle of PFO bulls compared to C bulls, while the α-tocopherol concentration was lower (P < 0.01). The concentrations of C18:3n-6, C20:4n-6, n-3 PUFA and highly peroxidisable PUFA were lower (P < 0.05) on day 14 compared to day 0 of display. Lipid oxidation after 10 d of display was higher (P < 0.05) in muscle of PFO bulls compared to C bulls but not to an extent that would be detected by a consumer. Colour stability was not affected. It is concluded that the increase in PUFA concentration achieved had minor effects on bull beef shelf life.
  • Field margin botanical diversity, composition and quality on intensively managed farming systems

    Larkin, Julie; Ó hUallacháin, Daire; Finn, John; Sheridan, Helen; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme (Teagasc, 2022-11-02)
    Remaining semi-natural habitats are important refuges for farmland biodiversity, and field margins are one such habitat. Field margins consist of strips of herbaceous vegetation that are located between field boundary features such as hedgerows and the main grassland or arable field. However, little is known about their extent or ecological quality on intensively managed farmlands in Ireland. This lack of knowledge can only be addressed through the application of a standardised assessment methodology, which we developed and implemented in this study. A survey of field margins was conducted on 92 intensively managed farms, across three enterprise types (arable, beef and dairy farms) in Ireland. We describe the botanical composition and assess the ecological quality of field margins based on threshold levels of the percentage cover of positive, neutral and negative botanical indicator species that are predominantly informed by existing European Union (EU)-accepted methods for vegetation classification. Positive indicator species occurred in 77% of margins and had a mean cover of 10%. There was a high incidence of negative indicator species, occurring in 93% of margins with a mean cover of 55%. Using our quality appraisal system, 16% of field margins were of high or very high quality, and the majority (55%) were of low or very low quality. Compared to either arable or dairy farms, beef farms had a greater percentage of higher-quality margins, higher species richness and greater percentage of positive indicator species. Retaining areas of high-quality farmland habitat and enhancing those areas that have become ecologically degraded will be key to achieving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) objective of protecting landscapes and biodiversity. However, the implementation of appropriate management decisions requires effective evaluation of the current ecological condition of these habitats. Field margins are ubiquitous habitats in Irish farmlands and comprise a significant proportion of overall farmland habitat area. However, our results show that the majority in more intensively managed systems are in a botanically impoverished condition. Our standardised field margin quality assessment technique may offer an appropriate method of tracking change in habitat quality in response to conservation actions to improve habitat quality.
  • Exploring adolescents’ perceptions of dairy farming careers in Ireland: views of students studying agricultural science in secondary school

    Beecher, Marion; Ryan, A.; Gorman, M. (Teagasc, 2022-06-24)
    A global challenge for dairy farmers is the attraction and retention of people to careers in primary agriculture. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of Irish secondary-level students studying agricultural science towards careers in dairy farming. Quantitative data were collected via a national survey (n = 976) prior to collection of qualitative data via two focus groups. Descriptive statistics including frequencies, percentages and means were used to analyse the quantitative data. Data analysis of the survey results identified general themes, which contributed to a deductive assessment of the overarching hypothesis, supplemented by inductive reasoning based on the analysis of the data from the focus groups. From the survey, adolescents perceived dairy farming as a physically demanding job with a poor work–life balance without any extra financial reward compared to other careers. In the focus groups, participants expressed concerns about environmental sustainability and economic viability. They also identified the ageing farming population as making it a less attractive career for young people. The paper supports arguments for greater integration of actual labour market opportunities into the secondary school curriculum to raise aspirations for 21st century careers in dairy farming, among other careers. There is an opportunity within the agricultural science curriculum to encourage students to explore the wide spectrum of emerging careers in food systems including dairy farming through classroom discussion, ideally with a variety of role models employed in the agricultural sector.
  • The distribution, type, popularity, size and availability of river-run gravel and crushed stone for use in land drainage systems and their suitability for mineral soils in Ireland

    Byrne, I.; Healy, M. G.; Fenton, Owen; Tuohy, P. (Teagasc, 2022-06-24)
    The performance of land drainage systems installed in mineral soils in Ireland is highly variable, and is dependent on, amongst other factors, the quality and suitability of the aggregate used. In Ireland, aggregate for land drainage systems is usually river-run gravel and crushed stone. This study classified the distribution, type, popularity, size and availability of aggregates for land drainage systems throughout Ireland and quantified their suitability for use in mineral soils. Eighty-six quarries were surveyed. Limestone and river-run gravel (80% of lithologies) are widespread throughout the country. The quarry aggregate sizes (“Q sizes”), reported by the quarries as either a single size, that is, “50 mm”, or a graded size, that is, 20–40 mm, were variable, changed across lithology and region and were, in most cases, larger than what is currently recommended. A particle size distribution analysis of 74 samples from 62 quarries showed that individual Q sizes increased in variability with increasing aggregate size. In some regions, the aggregate sold does not meet current national regulations, which specify an aggregate size ranging from 10 to 40 mm. The suitability of these aggregates for drainage in five soils of different textures was compared using three established design criteria. It was found that the aggregate in use is too large for heavy soil textures and is therefore unsuitable as drainage envelope material. Guidance for contractors, farmers and quarry owners will be required, and investment may be needed by quarries to produce aggregate that satisfies design criteria. An aggregate size, based on one or a combination of established aggregate design criteria, where an analysis of the soil texture is conducted and an appropriate aggregate is chosen based off its 15% passing size, is required.
  • Impact of a total mixed ration or pasture/pasture silage-based feeding strategy in the initial stages of lactation of spring-calving dairy cows on milk production, composition and selected milk processability parameters

    McKay, Z.C.; Mulligan, F.J.; Brady, E.L.; O’Sullivan, M.; Rajauria, G.; Lynch, M.B.; O’Callaghan, T.F.; Pierce, K.M.; Enterprise Ireland Innovative Partnership; Department of Agriculture Food and Marine; et al. (Teagasc, 2022-02-28)
    The objective of this experiment was to investigate the effect of feeding strategy on milk production, composition and selected processability parameters in the initial stages of lactation. Twenty Holstein Friesian cows were allocated to one of two dietary treatments (n = 10; 7 multiparous and 3 primiparous) in a randomised complete block design for 21 d from day 10 to day 31 post-calving. Treatment 1 (pasture-based system [PBS]) was a pasture/pasture silage-based diet where cows were offered ad libitum grazed pasture or pasture silage (when weather did not permit grazing) plus 3 kg DM/d or 5 kg DM/d concentrate supplementation, respectively. On average, cows grazed pasture for 7.5 d and were fed pasture silage indoors for 13.5 d. Treatment 2 (TMR) was a total mixed ration (TMR) diet made up of concentrate, plus maize silage, pasture silage, beet pulp, soya bean meal and straw. Multiparous cows were blocked on calving date and balanced for parity and milk yield. Primiparous cows were balanced for live weight. Milk attributes pertinent to composition and functionality (e.g., fatty acids and rennet coagulation time [RCT]) were examined over a 21-d experimental period from day 10 to day 31 post-calving. Cows offered PBS tended to have a lower test day milk yield (PBS = 24.2 kg/cow vs. TMR = 26.8 kg/cow, P = 0.09) and a greater milk urea nitrogen (MUN) content compared to TMR (PBS = 0.030 g/100 g milk vs. TMR = 0.013 g/100 g milk, P < 0.001). Most notably, PBS-derived milks had a greater (P < 0.001) concentration of cis-9 trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to TMR. In conclusion, milk produced during early lactation from both feeding strategies was suitable for processing. Feeding a TMR compared with ad libitum pasture/pasture silage had no impact on average milk pH, casein concentration or RCT. Cows fed a pasture/pasture silage-based diet produced milk with a desirable RCT for milk processing, while the higher MUN content from cows offered PBS did not impact the processability of milk. Furthermore, milk from cows offered PBS had greater concentrations of cis-9 trans-11 CLA, which may offer human health benefits.