The aim of the Teagasc Animal and Grassland Research & Innovation Programme is to increase the profitability, competitiveness and sustainability of Irish livestock production through research and innovation.

Collections in this community

Recent Submissions

  • Prepubertal nutrition alters Leydig cell functional capacity and timing of puberty

    Anand-Ivell, Ravinder; Byrne, Colin J.; Arnecke, Jonas; Fair, Sean; Lonergan, Pat; Kenny, David A.; Ivell, Richard; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/116 (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2019-11-21)
    Leydig cell functional capacity reflects the numbers and differentiation status of the steroidogenic Leydig cells in the testes and becomes more or less fixed in early adulthood with the final establishment of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis after puberty. Factors influencing Leydig cell functional capacity and its role in puberty are poorly understood. Using a bovine model of dairy bulls fed four different nutritional regimes from 1 month to 12 months, and applying circulating Insulin-like peptide 3 (INSL3) as an accurate biomarker of Leydig cell functional capacity, showed that a high plane of nutrition in the first 6 months of life, but not later, significantly increased INSL3 in young adulthood. Moreover, INSL3 concentration at 4 months indicated a marked differential in early feeding regime and correlated well (negatively) with the timing of puberty, as reflected by the age in days for the first production of an ejaculate with >50 million sperm and >10% forward motility, as well as with testis size at 18 months. Reversing the diet at 6 months was unable to rectify the trend in either parameter, unlike for other parameters such as testosterone, body weight, and scrotal circumference. This study has shown that early prepubertal nutrition is a key factor in the development of Leydig cell functional capacity in early adulthood and appears to be a key driver in the dynamic progression of puberty.
  • Factors affecting ewe longevity on sheep farms in three European countries

    McLaren, A.; McHugh, Noirin; Lambe, N. R.; Pabiou, T.; Wall, E.; Boman, I. A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Research Council of Norway; Norwegian Association of Sheep and Goat Breeders; UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-08)
    The ability to identify ewes that can outperform their contemporaries, in terms of how long they remain productive in the flock, will help towards improving flock efficiency and profitability. The main objectives of this study were to: (1) identify the main reasons for mortality or culling within diverse sheep production systems in Ireland, Norway and UK; (2) investigate the influence of early life factors on ewe longevity within each of these systems; and (3) determine whether common approaches or recommendations could be employed to improve ewe longevity. The main reasons for mortality or culling were, in addition to old age, mastitis (Irish and Norwegian sheep) and tooth loss (UK hill sheep). In each country, there were significant differences in age at last lambing due to the year the ewe was born (but in no consistent pattern), and due to her flock of birth (P < 0.05). From the Norwegian data, there was some indication ewes from younger dams lambed for the last time at a younger age, however, this trend was not seen in the Irish or UK data. Ewes born as singletons, in the Irish data, lambed for the last time at an older age than those that had been born in larger litters, although this was not observed in the other data sets. Age at first lambing and some breed proportions (proportion of Texel and Suffolk particularly) of the animal (both not fitted in the Norwegian or UK analyses) were found to have a highly significant (P < 0.0001) effect on age at last lambing in the Irish analyses. The results suggest that longevity is influenced by a range of different factors and the early life predictors investigated could not be used to provide consistent recommendations across countries, production systems and breeds that would influence ewe longevity. One common definition or solution to select ewes for longer productive life in divergent sheep flocks may not be appropriate.
  • Evaluation of the n-alkane technique for estimating the individual intake of dairy cows consuming diets containing herbage and a partial mixed ration

    Wright, M.M.; Auldist, M.J.; Kennedy, Emer; Dunshea, F.R.; Galvin, N.; Hannah, M.C.; Wales, W.J.; DJPR; Victoria; Dairy Australia (Elsevier BV, 2020-07)
    Estimation of dry matter intake (DMI) using the n-alkane technique was evaluated in lactating dairy cows fed fresh herbage and a partial mixed ration (PMR). Four dietary treatments were investigated in a 2 × 2 factorial experiment using 16 Holstein-Friesian dairy cows. Dietary treatments were combinations of low and high amounts of fresh herbage (8 or 14 kg DM/cow per day) and PMR supplement (6 or 12 kg DM/cow per day). The pre-experimental period was 14 days followed by a 10-day experimental period. Cows were housed in individual metabolism stalls to allow for accurate measurement of DMI and total fecal output. Fecal n-alkane recovery rates were calculated to determine the most accurate corrections for incomplete fecal n-alkane recovery. The n-alkane technique accurately estimated DMI when corrected for incomplete fecal recovery using both published recovery rates and recovery rates calculated in this experiment. The most accurate application of recovery rates was with those calculated for each combination of dietary treatments, compared with using an average recovery rate. This research has important implications for the future use of the n-alkane technique, especially in PMR feeding systems. The discrepancy between estimated (when treatment recovery rates were applied) and measured herbage DMI increased with the amount of herbage offered but was not affected by amount of PMR. It was also found that the recovery rates of all natural n-alkanes increased as the amount of herbage increased. This research demonstrates that the n-alkane technique can be used to accurately estimate individual cow intake when fresh herbage and PMR are offered separately, evidenced by strong Lin’s concordance estimates.
  • Application of next generation sequencing for the elucidation of genes and pathways involved in the host response to bovine respiratory syncytial virus

    Johnston, D; Earley, B; McCabe, M. S.; Blackshields, G.; Lemon, K.; Duffy, C.; McMenamy, M.; Cosby, S. L.; Kim, J.; Taylor, J. F.; et al. (2021-06-16)
    Objective: To identify genes and pathways involved in the host response to bovine respiratory syncytial virus.
  • Characteristics of offspring derived from conventional and X-sorted bovine sperm

    Maicas, C.; Hutchinson, I.A.; Cromie, A.R.; Lonergan, P.; Butler, Stephen; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (American Dairy Science Association, 2020-08)
    The objective of this retrospective study was to compare survival during the first year of life and adult performance of offspring derived from artificial insemination (AI) with X-sorted or conventional sperm processed from the same ejaculates. We analyzed a data set that included AI of dairy heifers and lactating cows with fresh conventional sperm (3 × 106 sperm per straw), fresh X-sorted sperm (1 or 2 × 106 sperm per straw), or frozen X-sorted sperm (2 × 106 sperm per straw). The data set contained records of 5,179 offspring born on 396 farms. Offspring were classified as born from conventional sperm (CONV) if they were the product of an insemination with fresh conventional sperm, or born from X-sorted sperm (SS) if they were product of any of the 3 X-sorted sperm treatments. Generalized linear mixed models were used to evaluate the effect of sperm treatment on (1) survival during the first year of life; (2) reproductive performance, lactation performance, and survival of female offspring; and (3) slaughter characteristics of male offspring. Stillbirth rates and mortality rates during the first 2 mo of life were greater for male calves (2.8 and 5.0%, respectively) than for female calves (1.6 and 2.0%, respectively). No differences between offspring derived from SS and CONV were detected for incidences of stillbirth or mortality during the first 12 mo of life within sex of calf. Reproductive performance, milk volume, milk fat, milk protein yields during first; second; and third lactations, and survival to third lactation did not differ between female offspring derived from CONV and SS. Across all age groups, CONV steers had heavier carcasses than SS steers (325.3 vs. 318.3 kg), but there were no differences in weight between CONV and SS steers within any of the age groups (≤24, 25–27, 28–30, and >30 mo of age). The distribution of slaughter age did not differ between CONV and SS steers when the analysis was restricted to herds that reared steers derived from both types of sperm. Carcass conformation and fat scores of steers were not affected by sperm treatment. There was no difference in carcass weight between young bulls (≤2 yr) derived from CONV or SS. In conclusion, the results provide no evidence of differences in survival during the first year of life between offspring derived from CONV or SS, or for any of the reproductive and lactation performance characteristics studied between female offspring derived from CONV or SS. Modest differences in carcass weight between CONV and SS steers were detected, but this may reflect differences in management and husbandry in the rearing herds rather than the sex-sorting process. A controlled study using steers derived from conventional or X-sorted sperm from split ejaculates and reared under the same husbandry conditions is needed to clarify whether there is a true difference in body weight gain due to the sex-sorting process.
  • Stability of powdered infant formula during secondary shelf-life and domestic practices

    Condurso, Concetta; Cincotta, Fabrizio; Merlino, Maria; STANTON, CATHERINE; Verzera, Antonella; Italian Ministry for Education, University and Research (MIUR); AIM 1823923-3; CUP J44I18000190006 (Elsevier BV, 2020-10)
    Powdered infant formula (PIF) and lactose-free PIF during secondary shelf-life (SSL) and under domestic practices was investigated to verify their stability up to the expiration date and under the label instructions for milk reconstitution. Particular attention was given to variations in Maillard reaction and lipid peroxidation products identified and quantified by HS-SPME-GC-MS. Two types of PIF: Type A based on bovine milk and Type B a lactose-free product based on glucose syrup were analysed. The PIF were analysed at regular time intervals beyond the labelled expiration date after opening, and reconstituted using water at 70 °C, 80 °C and 90 °C. A large number of volatile compounds were identified and significant statistically differences resulted during SSL and water temperature used for reconstitution that were correlated to the PIF composition. The study showed that water temperature for reconstitution of samples and the SSL has to be adapted to PIF composition.
  • Variability in greenhouse gas emission intensity of semi-intensive suckler cow beef production systems

    Samsonstuen, Stine; Åby, Bente A.; Crosson, Paul; Beauchemin, Karen A.; Wetlesen, Marit S.; Bonesmo, Helge; Aass, Laila; Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences; The Agriculture and Food Industry Research Funds; Geno Breeding and AI Association; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-09)
    Emission intensities from beef production vary both among production systems (countries) and farms within a country depending upon use of natural resources and management practices. A whole-farm model developed for Norwegian suckler cow herds, HolosNorBeef, was used to estimate GHG emissions from 27 commercial beef farms in Norway with Angus, Hereford, and Charolais cattle. HolosNorBeef considers direct emissions of methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) from on-farm livestock production and indirect N2O and CO2 emissions associated with inputs used on the farm. The corresponding soil carbon (C) emissions are estimated using the Introductory Carbon Balance Model (ICBM). The farms were distributed across Norway with varying climate and natural resource bases. The estimated emission intensities ranged from 22.5 to 45.2 kg CO2 equivalents (eq) (kg carcass)−1. Enteric CH4 was the largest source, accounting for 44% of the total GHG emissions on average, dependent on dry matter intake (DMI). Soil C was the largest source of variation between individual farms and accounted for 6% of the emissions on average. Variation in GHG intensity among farms was reduced and farms within region East, Mid and North re-ranked in terms of emission intensities when soil C was excluded. Ignoring soil C, estimated emission intensities ranged from 21.5 to 34.1 kg CO2 eq (kg carcass)−1. High C loss from farms with high initial soil organic carbon (SOC) content warrants further examination of the C balance of permanent grasslands as a potential mitigation option for beef production systems.
  • Quality indices and sensory attributes of beef from steers offered grass silage and a concentrate supplemented with dried citrus pulp

    Salami, Saheed A.; O'Grady, Michael N.; Luciano, Giuseppe; Priolo, Alessandro; McGee, Mark; Moloney, Aidan P.; Kerry, Joseph P.; European Union; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/122, FEFAN (Elsevier BV, 2020-10)
    This study investigated the quality composition, oxidative stability and sensory attributes of beef (longissimus thoracis, LT) from steers offered grass silage and a concentrate supplement in which barley was replaced by 40% and 80% (as-fed basis) of dried citrus pulp (DCP). Dietary treatment did not influence the antioxidant status (α-tocopherol and total phenolic contents) and activities of LT (radical scavenging activity, ferric reducing antioxidant power and iron chelating activity). Feeding DCP significantly increased the proportion of conjugated linoleic acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids in beef. Lipid and colour stability of fresh beef patties stored in modified atmosphere packs (MAP) were unaffected by dietary treatment but feeding 40% DCP reduced (P < .05) lipid oxidation in aerobically-stored cooked beef patties. Beef patties stored in MAP for up to 7 days were assessed by sensory panellists to be juicier for those fed 40% DCP compared to 0% and 80% DCP. Results indicated that substitution of barley with DCP improved the fatty acid profiles of beef without negatively influencing the eating quality of beef.
  • Effect of thermoresistant protease of Pseudomonas fluorescens on rennet coagulation properties and proteolysis of milk

    Paludetti, Lizandra F.; Kelly, Alan L.; Gleeson, David; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Program; Dairy Levy project (American Dairy Science Association, 2020-05)
    This study aimed to investigate the effect of different activity levels of a thermoresistant protease, produced by Pseudomonas fluorescens (ATCC 17556), on the cheesemaking properties of milk and proteolysis levels. Sterilized reconstituted skim milk powder was inoculated with the bacteria, and after incubation, centrifuged to obtain a supernatant-containing protease. Raw milk was collected and inoculated to obtain a protease activity of 0.15, 0.60, and 1.5 U/L of milk (treatments P1, P4, and P10, respectively). One sample was not inoculated (control) and noninoculated supernatant was added to a fifth sample to be used as a negative control. Samples were stored at 4°C for 72 h. After 0, 48, and 72 h, the rennet coagulation properties and proteolysis levels were assessed. The protease produced was thermoresistant, as no significant differences were observed in the activity in the pasteurized (72°C for 15 s) and nonpasteurized supernatants. The chromatograms and electrophoretograms indicated that the protease preferably hydrolyzed κ-casein and β-casein, and levels of proteolysis increased with added protease activity over storage time. The hydrolysis of αS-caseins and major whey proteins increased considerably in P10 milk samples. At 0 h, the increase in the level of protease activity decreased the rennet coagulation time (RCT, min) of the samples, possibly due to synergistic proteolysis of κ-casein into para-κ-casein. However, over prolonged storage, hydrolysis of β-casein and αS-casein increased in P4 and P10 samples. The RCT of P4 samples increased over time and the coagulum became softer, whereas P10 samples did not coagulate after 48 h of storage. In contrast, the RCT of P1 samples decreased over time and a firmer coagulum was obtained, possibly due to a lower rate of hydrolysis of β-casein and αS-casein. Increased levels of protease could result in further hydrolysis of caseins, affecting the processability of milk over storage time.
  • An economic comparison of pasture-based production systems differing in sward type and cow genotype

    McClearn, B.; Shalloo, L.; Gilliland, T.J.; Coughlan, F.; McCarthy, B.; Dairy Research Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (American Dairy Science Association, 2020-05)
    The objective of this study was to compare the economic performance of 2 sward types [perennial ryegrass (PRG; Lolium perenne L.) sown with or without white clover (Trifolium repens L.)] grazed by 3 cow genotypes. Physical performance data were collected from a 4-yr systems experiment based at Clonakilty Agricultural College, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Ireland. The experiment compared 2 sward types (PRG-only swards and PRG–white clover swards), with each sward type being grazed by cows from 3 genotypes [Holstein-Friesian (HF), Jersey × HF (JEX), and Norwegian Red × JEX (3-way)]. All systems were stocked at 2.75 cows/ha with fixed fertilizer applications and concentrate supplementation. The data supplied 6 production systems (2 sward types × 3 cow genotypes). The production systems were modeled using the Moorepark Dairy Systems Model (stochastic budgetary simulation model) under 2 scenarios, one in which land area was fixed and one in which cow numbers were fixed. The analysis was completed across a range of milk prices, calf prices, and reseeding programs. The analysis showed that in the fixed-land scenario with a milk price of €0.29/L, adding white clover to PRG swards increased profitability by €305/ha. In the same fixed-land scenario, JEX cows were most profitable (€2,606/ha), followed by 3-way (€2,492/ha) and HF (€2,468/ha) cows. In the fixed-cow scenario, net profit per cow was €128 greater for PRG–white clover swards compared with PRG-only swards. In this scenario, JEX was the most profitable per cow (€877), followed by HF (€855) and 3-way (€831). The system that produced the highest net profit was JEX cows grazing PRG–white clover swards (€2,751/ha). Regardless of reseeding frequency or variations in calf value, JEX cows grazing PRG–white clover swards consistently produced the highest net profit per hectare.
  • Effect of dietary inclusion of benzoic acid (VevoVitall®) on the microbial quality of liquid feed and the growth and carcass quality of grow-finisher pigs

    O’ Meara, F.M.; Gardiner, G.E.; O’ Doherty, J.V.; Lawlor, P.G.; Lawlor, Peadar; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme (Elsevier BV, 2020-07)
    Benzoic acid has long been used as a food preservative due to its antibacterial and antifungal effects. Supplementation to pig diets has also been shown to inhibit microbial free amino acid degradation and to control yeast growth in fermented liquid feed. However, the effect of dietary inclusion of benzoic acid (BA) in fresh liquid feed for grow-finisher pigs on feed quality and the resultant effects on pig growth remain unclear. The objective of the current study was to compare four inclusion levels of BA (VevoVitall®) on feed microbial quality and on the growth performance of grow-finisher pigs. Two-hundred and sixteen pigs with a starting weight of 30.0kg (± 7.43 SD) were used in the experiment. The four dietary treatments were as follows: (1) Basal diet + 0kg/t BA (0kg/t BA), (2) Basal diet + 2.5kg/t BA (2.5kg/t BA), (3) Basal diet + 5kg/t BA (5kg/t BA), (4) Basal diet + 10kg/t BA (10kg/t BA). Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) counts in the mixing tank were similar across treatments (P>0.05) but were lower in the troughs for the feed supplemented with 10kg/t BA than for all other treatments (P<0.01). The pH of the 10kg/t BA treatment was also lower than that of the other three treatments. However, this only occurred in the mixing tank (P<0.01), as in the trough, the basal diet had the lowest pH (lower than the other three treatments; P<0.01). Dietary BA inclusion did not affect average daily gain, average daily feed intake, feed conversion efficiency, final live-weight, carcass weight or carcass quality during the experimental period (P>0.05). In conclusion, while BA may limit the growth of LAB in liquid feed and stabilise feed pH, its inclusion in the diet did not improve the growth performance or carcass quality of grow-finisher pigs.
  • The use of subjectively assessed muscular and skeletal traits on live cattle to aid in differentiation between animal genetically divergent in carcass kill out metrics

    Berry, Donagh; Coyne, J. M.; Doyle, J.; Evans, R. D.; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 16/RC/3835 (Elsevier BV, 2020-04)
    Subjective linear scoring of live beef cattle is routinely undertaken as part of breed society regulations or as part of national breeding programs; linear scores describe biological extremes of animals for a range of different traits reflecting muscularity, skeletal development, and functionality. The objective of the present study was to quantify the usefulness of these linear scores measured on live growing beef cattle to predict genetic merit for kill out (KO) percent and the difference between live-weight at slaughter and carcass weight (herein known as KO difference). The data used consisted of linear scores for 16 traits on up to 67,167 cattle as well as KO information on 31,827 cattle; 1,166 animals had records for both sets of traits. Variance components were estimated using univariate animal linear mixed models while covariance components between the linear scores and the KO traits were estimated using a series of bivariate sire linear mixed models. In an additional series of analyses, the KO metrics were adjusted phenotypically for differences in live-weight at slaughter through its inclusion as a covariate in the statistical model. Heritability estimates of the linear scores varied from 0.06 (width at pins) to 0.37 (development of hind-quarter); the heritability of KO percent and KO difference were estimated to be 0.53 and 0.37, respectively. Both the phenotypic and genetic correlations between the muscular type traits and KO percent were moderately positive, albeit the genetic correlations were stronger. The phenotypic correlations ranged from 0.27 (development of inner thigh) to 0.37 (development of hind quarter) while the genetic correlations varied from 0.40 (development of inner thigh and development of loin) to 0.60 (development of hind quarter); in all cases, adjusting for differences in live-weight at slaughter had minimal impact on the estimated correlations. With the exception of depth of rump, the phenotypic and genetic correlations between the skeletal traits with KO percent were all close to zero (≤|0.24|) irrespective of whether or not differences in live-weight at slaughter were accounted for. While the genetic correlations between the muscular traits and KO difference not adjusted for differences in live-weight at slaughter were all close to zero (≤|0.30|), the correlations strengthened (≥|0.39|) once adjusted to a common live-weight at slaughter. The opposite was true for the genetic correlations between the skeletal traits and KO difference. In all, the results suggest that the muscular linear scores assessed subjectively on live animals at, on average, 10 months of age are a useful genetic (and phenotypic) predictor of KO percent at, on average, 21 months of age, but also the quantity of live-weight that does not end up as carcass, once adjusted to a common live-weight.
  • Invited review: Cattle lameness detection with accelerometers

    O'Leary, N.W.; Byrne, D.T.; O'Connor, A.H.; Shalloo, Laurence; Science Foundation Ireland; 13/IA/1977 (American Dairy Science Association, 2020-05)
    Locomotion scoring is time consuming and is not commonly completed on farms. Farmers also underestimate their herds' lameness prevalence, a knowledge gap that impedes lameness management. Automation of lameness detection could address this knowledge gap and facilitate improved lameness management. The literature pertinent to adding lameness detection to accelerometers is reviewed in this paper. Options for lameness detection systems are examined including the choice of sensor, raw data collected, variables extracted, and statistical classification methods used. Two categories of variables derived from accelerometer-based systems are examined. These categories are behavior measures such as lying and measures of gait. For example, one measure of gait is the time a leg is swinging during a gait cycle. Some behavior-focused studies have reported accuracy levels of greater than 80%. Cow gait measures have been investigated to a lesser extent than behavior. However, classification accuracies as high as 91% using gait measures have been reported with hardware likely to be practical for commercial farms. The need for even higher accuracy and potential barriers to adoption are discussed. Significant progress is still required to realize a system with sufficient specificity and sensitivity. Lameness detection systems using 1 accelerometer per cow and a resolution lower than 100 Hz with gait measurement functions are suggested to balance cost and data requirements. However, gait measurement using accelerometers is rather underdeveloped. Therefore, a high priority should be given to the development of novel gait measures and testing their ability to differentiate lame from nonlame cows.
  • Effects of simulated quarter and udder teat cup removal settings on strip milk and milking duration in dairy cows

    Boloña, P. Silvia; Upton, J.; Reinemann, D. J.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; University of Wisconsin-Madison (Elsevier, 2020-02-26)
    The aim of this study was to estimate the amount of milk left in quarters and udders and the milking duration for a variety of teat cup removal strategies. A combination of empirical data and simulated quarter and udder teat cup removal settings were used to make these estimates. Milking duration is an important factor in both automatic and conventional milking systems because it directly influences milking efficiency and hence can affect farm profitability. Strategies investigated in the literature to reduce milking duration include the application of different milk flow rate switch-points (milk flow rate at which the milking unit or teat cup is removed). Applying these milk flow rate switch-points can affect the amount of milk that is not harvested (strip milk). We are not aware of previous research analyzing strip milk yield and milking duration at the quarter level, across a range of quarter and udder milk flow rate switch-points. Quarter-level average milking duration decreased by 2 min, and strip milk increased 1.3 kg as quarter milk flow rate switch-point was increased from 0.2 kg/min to 1.0 kg/min. Using an end of milking criterion of removal of the teat cup at 50% of the quarter's rolling average milk flow rate resulted in a 0.4-min reduction in milking duration and a 0.08-kg increase in strip milk per quarter, compared with removal of the teat cup at 30% of the quarter's rolling average milk flow rate. Udder-level average milking duration decreased by 1.4 min, and strip milk increased by 0.76 kg (0.19 kg per quarter) as udder milk flow rate switch-point was increased from 0.2 kg/min to 1.0 kg/min. A 0.8-min reduction in cow milking duration and a 0.27-kg increase in strip milk at the udder level (0.08 kg per quarter) resulted when changing udder milk flow rate switch-point from 30% of the udder rolling average to 50% of the udder rolling average milk flow rate. This study provides quantitative estimates of the effect of teat cup milk flow rate switch-points on milking duration and strip milk yield.
  • Characterization of the lying and rising sequence in lame and non-lame sows

    Mumm, Jared Michael; Calderon Diaz, Julia; Stock, Joseph Daniel; Kerr Johnson, Anna; Ramirez, Alejandro; Azarpajouh, Samaneh; Stalder, Kenneth J.; National Pork Board; #15-004 (Elsevier BV, 2020-05)
    This study aimed to identify possible differences in the lying and standing sequence between lame and non-lame gestating sows. A total of 85 stall-housed sows (average parity 0.9 ± 1.14; range 0–4) were scored for walking lameness on a 3-point scale (1 = normal to 3=severely lame) while moving to a separate gestation stall for recording of one lying-standing event on days 30, 60 and 90 of gestation. A video camera was positioned on the adjacent stall so sows’ profiles were visible. Observations ceased when the sow laid-down and stood-up, or 2.5 h elapsed from recording commencement. From videos, postures and movements that occurred during lying-standing sequences were identified. Time (seconds) from kneeling to shoulder rotation (KSR), shoulder rotation to lying (SRHQ), total time to lie (TLIE); latency to lie (LATENCY; minutes) and number of attempts to successfully lie were recorded. Also, time taken from first leg fold to sit (TLS), time from sit to rise (TSR), and total time to rise (TRISE) were recorded. Sows were re-classified as non-lame (score 1) and lame (scores ≥ 2). Data were analyzed using mixed model methods with gestation day, and lameness as fixed effects and sow the random effect. On average, sows took 14.3 ± 1.39 s for KSR, 7.7 ± 0.79 s for SRHQ, 21.0 ± 1.37 s for TLIE and 63.6 ± 5.97 min for LATENCY. Furthermore, sows took 8.8 ± 2.80 s for TLS, 5.95 ± 1.73 s for TSR, and 10.3 ± 2.02 s for TRISE. There were no associations between lameness status or gestation day with time required for or the likelihood of performing the different movements of the lying and standing sequences (P >  0.05). Except for lame sows tending to sit more while transitioning from lying to standing than non-lame sows (P =  0.09). Seven different lying and 4 different standing combination deviation from the normal sequences, albeit each combination was infrequent and did not allow for statistical analysis. However, all together, deviations from the normal lying and standing sequence accounted for 22.7 % and 35 % of total observations; respectively. Under the conditions of this study, lameness did not influence the time taken or the likelihood of performing different movements and/or postures during normal lying-standing sequences. However, this could be due to lameness recorded here not being severe enough to affect the sequences. The observed deviations suggest that there is variation in the way sows lie and stand although more research is necessary to understand which factors contribute to such variation.
  • Monitoring of Farm-Level Antimicrobial Use to Guide Stewardship: Overview of Existing Systems and Analysis of Key Components and Processes

    Sanders, Pim; Vanderhaeghen, Wannes; Fertner, Mette; Fuchs, Klemens; Obritzhauser, Walter; Agunos, Agnes; Carson, Carolee; Borck Høg, Birgitte; Dalhoff Andersen, Vibe; Chauvin, Claire; et al. (Frontiers, 2020)
    The acknowledgment of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a major health challenge in humans, animals and plants, has led to increased efforts to reduce antimicrobial use (AMU). To better understand factors influencing AMR and implement and evaluate stewardship measures for reducing AMU, it is important to have sufficiently detailed information on the quantity of AMU, preferably at the level of the user (farmer, veterinarian) and/or prescriber or provider (veterinarian, feed mill). Recently, several countries have established or are developing systems for monitoring AMU in animals. The aim of this publication is to provide an overview of known systems for monitoring AMU at farm-level, with a descriptive analysis of their key components and processes. As of March 2020, 38 active farm-level AMU monitoring systems from 16 countries were identified. These systems differ in many ways, including which data are collected, the type of analyses conducted and their respective output. At the same time, they share key components (data collection, analysis, benchmarking, and reporting), resulting in similar challenges to be faced with similar decisions to be made. Suggestions are provided with respect to the different components and important aspects of various data types and methods are discussed. This overview should provide support for establishing or working with such a system and could lead to a better implementation of stewardship actions and a more uniform communication about and understanding of AMU data at farm-level. Harmonization of methods and processes could lead to an improved comparability of outcomes and less confusion when interpreting results across systems. However, it is important to note that the development of systems also depends on specific local needs, resources and aims.
  • Effect of cereal soaking and carbohydrase supplementation on growth, nutrient digestibility and intestinal microbiota in liquid-fed grow-finishing pigs

    Torres-Pitarch, Alberto; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Cormican, Paul; Rea, Mary; Crispie, Fiona; O'Doherty, John V.; Cozannet, Pierre; Ryan, Thomas; Cullen, James; Lawlor, Peadar G.; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-01-23)
    This study aimed to determine the impact of fermenting the cereal fraction of the diet (Cferm) and enzyme supplementation (ENZ) on the bacterial composition of the feed, nutrient digestibility, pig growth, feed efciency (FE), intestinal volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations and intestinal microbiota composition. A total of 252 grow-fnisher pigs (~ 40.4 kg; 7 pigs/pen) were randomly allocated to 4 diets in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement for 55d. The diets were: (1) fresh liquid feed (Fresh); (2) Cferm liquid feed (Ferm); (3) Fresh+ENZ and (4) Ferm+ENZ. Cferm increased total tract nutrient digestibility, reduced caecal butyrate and propionate concentrations, and increased average daily gain (ADG). ENZ increased ileal and total tract nutrient digestibility, reduced caecal isobutyrate and propionate concentrations, and improved FE. Bacterial taxa positively correlated with pig growth (Lactobacillus kisonensis in the ileum and Roseburia faecis in the caecum) were more abundant in pigs fed ENZ diets, whereas most of the ileal bacterial taxa negatively correlated with growth (Megasphaera, Bifdobacterium and Streptococcus) had lower abundance in pigs fed Cferm diets. In conclusion, Cferm increased ADG and ENZ improved FE, with these improvements possibly mediated by increased nutrient digestibility, and benefcial modulation of the intestinal microbiota.
  • Effect of breed and castration on production and carcass traits of male lambs following an intensive finishing period

    Claffey, Noel A; Fahey, Alan G; Gkarane, Vasiliki; Moloney, Aidan P; Monahan, Frank J; Diskin, Michael G (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2018-06-15)
    The practice of crossbreeding using a terminal sire and the use of intact rather than castrated animals has the potential to increase the productivity of lambs produced from the hill sheep sector. The objective of this study was to compare the production and carcass characteristics of purebred Scottish Blackface (SB) and Texel cross Scottish Blackface (TXSB) ram and wether lambs fed on a concentrate diet and slaughtered at different ages. Two hundred spring born male lambs (average birth age ±SD 9.53 d) were assigned to a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement with two breeds SB (n=100) and TXSB (n=100)) and two sexes (wether: n=100 and ram: n=100)). Lambs were harvested following a 36 d ad libitum concentrate indoor finishing period. The study was carried out over five harvest batches between October and April. The mean ages of the lambs at harvest (n = 40, 20 TXSB and 20 SB lambs) in October, November, January, March and April were 196, 242, 293, 344 and 385 days, respectively The TXSB lambs were heavier at slaughter than SB lambs (P < 0.001) and ram lambs were heavier at slaughter than wether lambs (P < 0.01). Improved average daily gain (ADG) (P < 0.001), lower feed conversion ratio (FCR) (which was calculated by dividing total feed intake by total weight gain) (P < 0.001) and higher feed intake (P < 0.05) were recorded in TXSB lambs with consistency across the five harvest time points. Rams had greater ADG (P < 0.001) and FCR (P < 0.05) compared to wether lambs and no differences were observed between sexes for feed intake. The TXSB (P < 0.001) lambs had higher (P < 0.001) dressing percentages compared to SB while wether lambs had greater dressing percentages compared to rams. The TXSB lambs had heavier carcass weights (P < 0.001) with higher conformation grades (P < 0.001) and less fat cover (P < 0.001) than SB lambs while ram lambs had heavier (P < 0.001) carcasses than wether lambs. There was greater fat cover on the loin muscles of SB (P < 0.001) and wether (P < 0.001) lambs compared to TXSB and ram lambs, respectively. The results from this study suggest that TXSB lamb’s offer hill sheep farmers a potential strategy for improved lamb production efficiency, while ram lambs offer lamb finishers increased growth rates, higher FCR and produce a more desirable carcass than do wether lambs.
  • Big (pig) data and the internet of the swine things: a new paradigm in the industry

    Piñeiro, Carlos; Morales, Joaquín; Rodríguez, María; Aparicio, María; Garcia Manzanilla, Edgar; Koketsu, Yuzo (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2019-04-11)
    Implications • Big data collected on farms can be transformed into useful information to improve decision making and maximize productivity. A swine management system consisting of tools (software and devices), with a protocol and standard operative procedures, can generate the necessary information for the decision-making process. • New technologies such as electronic feeders and artificial intelligence systems capturing big data will provide a better understanding of animal requirements and behavior, increasing efficiency and sustainability. • Biosecurity can be improved using tracking devices for farm staff, recording movements real-time to decrease disease risks and consequently, improve health and productive performance.
  • Feed and production efficiency of young crossbred beef cattle stratified on a terminal total merit index1

    Kelly, David N; Conroy, Stephen B; Murphy, Craig P; Sleator, Roy D; Berry, Donagh; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Science Foundation Ireland; 17/S/235; 16/RC/3835 (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020-07-01)
    Few studies have attempted to quantify the association between a terminal total merit index with phenotypic feed and production efficiency in beef cattle, particularly when feed efficiency is itself explicitly absent as a goal trait in the index. The objective of the present study was to quantify the differences in phenotypic performance for feed intake, feed efficiency, and carcass traits of crossbred bulls, steers, and heifers differing in a terminal total merit index. A validation population of 614 bulls, steers, and heifers that were evaluated for feed intake and efficiency in the same feedlot and subsequently slaughtered at the end of their test period was constructed. The Irish national genetic evaluations for a terminal index of calving performance, docility, feed intake, and carcass traits were undertaken with the phenotypic records of animals present in the validation population masked. The validation population animals were subsequently stratified into four groups, within sex, according to their terminal index value. Mixed models were used to quantify the association between terminal genetic merit and phenotypic performance; whether the associations differed by sex were also investigated. The regression coefficient of phenotypic feed intake, carcass weight, carcass conformation, or carcass fat on its respective estimated breeding values was 0.86 kg dry matter 0.91 kg, 1.01 units, and 1.29 units, respectively, which are close to the expectation of one. On average, cattle in the very high terminal index stratum had a 0.63 kg DM/d lower feed intake, a 25.05 kg heavier carcass, a 1.82 unit better carcass conformation (scale 1 to 15), and a 1.24 unit less carcass fat score (scale 1 to 15), relative to cattle in the very low terminal index stratum. Cattle of superior total genetic merit were also more feed efficient (i.e., had a lower energy conversion ratio, lower residual feed intake, and greater residual gain), had a greater proportion of their live-weight as carcass weight (i.e., better dressing percentage) and were slaughtered at a younger age relative to their inferior total genetic merit counterparts. This study provides validation of an all-encompassing total merit index and demonstrates the benefits of selection on a total merit index for feed and production efficiency, which should impart confidence among stakeholders in the contribution of genetic selection to simultaneous improvements in individual animal performance and efficiency.

View more