• Are some teat disinfectant formulations more effective against specific bacteria isolated on teat skin than others?

      Fitzpatrick, Sarah R; Garvey, Mary; Flynn, Jim; Jordan, Kieran; Gleeson, David E; Dairy Research Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 2016054 (Biomed Central, 2019-04-25)
      The use of pre- and post-milking teat disinfectants can reduce teat bacterial load and aid in the collection of high-quality milk. The objective of this study was to compare the reduction in bacteria populations on teat skin after the application of different commercial teat disinfectant products. Ten teat disinfectant products were applied to the teats of 10 Holstein–Friesian cows. One cow received one teat disinfectant product at each sampling point before cluster application for milking. A composite swab sample was taken of the 4 teats of each cow before and after teat disinfectant application. Swab samples were placed on three different selective agars to enumerate bacterial counts of staphylococcal, streptococcal and coliforms isolates on teat skin. Staphylococcal isolates were the most prominent bacterial group recovered on teat swabs (49%), followed by streptococcal (36%) and coliform (15%) isolates before the application of disinfectant. The average bacterial reductions on teat skin were shown to be 76%, 73% and 60% for staphylococcal, streptococcal and coliform isolates, respectively. All of the teat disinfectant products tested reduced teat bacterial load for all three bacterial groups. Product 4 containing 0.6% w/w diamine was the most effective against bacterial populations of staphylococcal and streptococcal isolates on teat skin with a reduction of 90% and 94%, respectively. Whereas product 10, which contained 0.5% w/w iodine, resulted in the highest reduction in coliforms on teat skin with a reduction of 91%. Results from this study suggest that specific bacterial population loads on teats can be reduced using different teat disinfectant formulations.
    • An assessment of the production, reproduction, and functional traits of Holstein-Friesian, Jersey × Holstein-Friesian, and Norwegian Red × (Jersey × Holstein-Friesian) cows in pasture-based systems

      McClearn, B.; Delaby, L.; Gilliland, T.J.; Guy, C.; Dineen, M.; Coughlan, F.; Buckley, Frank; McCarthy, B.; Dairy Research Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Scholarship Programme (Elsevier, 2020-04-03)
      Pasture-based production systems typically require highly fertile, healthy, and robust genetics, with greater emphasis on milk solids (MSo; kg of fat + protein) production as opposed to milk yield. This study assessed milk production, production efficiency, reproductive performance, body weight (BW), body condition score, and functional traits in 3 different dairy cow genotypes: Holstein-Friesian (HF), Jersey × Holstein-Friesian (JEX), and Norwegian Red × (Jersey × Holstein- Friesian) (3-way). The 3 genotypes were rotationally grazed on 4 different grazing treatments after calving in spring and were stocked at a rate of 2.75 cows/ha. Holstein-Friesian cows produced higher daily and total milk yields compared with JEX and 3-way cows (5,718 vs. 5,476 and 5,365 kg/cow, respectively). However, JEX and 3-way cows had higher milk fat and protein contents (4.86 and 4.75%, respectively, for JEX and 3.87 and 3.88%, respectively, for 3-way) compared with HF (4.52 and 3.72%), resulting in similar MSo yield for JEX and HF (469 and 460 kg/cow) and slightly lower MSo yield for 3-way (453 kg/cow) compared with JEX. As parity increased, milk and MSo yield per cow increased. Reproductive performance was not significantly different between the 3 genotypes, which had similar 24-d submission rates, 6-wk pregnancy rates, and overall pregnancy rates over the 4-yr period. No difference in calving difficulty, incidence of mastitis, or incidence of lameness was observed among the 3 genotypes. Body weight was significantly different among all 3 genotypes, with HF being the heaviest followed by 3-way and JEX (530, 499, and 478 kg, respectively), and 3-way cows had a higher body condition score throughout lactation compared with HF and JEX cows. The differences in BW coupled with similar MSo production resulted in JEX cows having the highest production efficiency (4.58 kg of MSo/kg of metabolic BW), 3-way cows being intermediate (4.30 kg of MSo/kg of metabolic BW), and HF cows having the lowest (4.16 kg of MSo/kg of metabolic BW). In conclusion, HF herds with poor reproductive performance and low milk fat and protein contents are likely to benefit considerably from crossbreeding with Jersey, and all herds are likely to benefit in terms of production efficiency. However, where herd performance, particularly in relation to reproductive performance, is comparable with HF in the current study, crossbreeding with Jersey or Norwegian Red is unlikely to lead to significant improvements in overall herd performance.
    • A comparison of 4 predictive models of calving assistance and difficulty in dairy heifers and cows

      Fenlon, Caroline; O'Grady, Luke; Mee, John F; Butler, Stephen; Doherty, Michael L.; Dunnion, John; Dairy Research Ireland (Elsevier, 2017-09-21)
      The aim of this study was to build and compare predictive models of calving difficulty in dairy heifers and cows for the purpose of decision support and simulation modeling. Models to predict 3 levels of calving difficulty (unassisted, slight assistance, and considerable or veterinary assistance) were created using 4 machine learning techniques: multinomial regression, decision trees, random forests, and neural networks. The data used were sourced from 2,076 calving records in 10 Irish dairy herds. In total, 19.9 and 5.9% of calving events required slight assistance and considerable or veterinary assistance, respectively. Variables related to parity, genetics, BCS, breed, previous calving, and reproductive events and the calf were included in the analysis. Based on a stepwise regression modeling process, the variables included in the models were the dam's direct and maternal calving difficulty predicted transmitting abilities (PTA), BCS at calving, parity; calving assistance or difficulty at the previous calving; proportion of Holstein breed; sire breed; sire direct calving difficulty PTA; twinning; and 2-way interactions between calving BCS and previous calving difficulty and the direct calving difficulty PTA of dam and sire. The models were built using bootstrapping procedures on 70% of the data set. The held-back 30% of the data was used to evaluate the predictive performance of the models in terms of discrimination and calibration. The decision tree and random forest models omitted the effect of twinning and included only subsets of sire breeds. Only multinomial regression and neural networks explicitly included the modeled interactions. Calving BCS, calving difficulty PTA, and previous calving assistance ranked as highly important variables for all 4 models. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (ranging from 0.64 to 0.79) indicates that all of the models had good overall discriminatory power. The neural network and multinomial regression models performed best, correctly classifying 75% of calving cases and showing superior calibration, with an average error in predicted probability of 3.7 and 4.5%, respectively. The neural network and multinomial regression models developed are both suitable for use in decision-support and simulation modeling.
    • A comparison of 4 predictive models of calving assistance and difficulty in dairy heifers and cows

      Fenlon, Caroline; O'Grady, Luke; Mee, John F; Butler, Stephen; Doherty, Michael L.; Dunnion, John; Dairy Research Ireland (Elsevier, 21/09/2017)
      The aim of this study was to build and compare predictive models of calving difficulty in dairy heifers and cows for the purpose of decision support and simulation modeling. Models to predict 3 levels of calving difficulty (unassisted, slight assistance, and considerable or veterinary assistance) were created using 4 machine learning techniques: multinomial regression, decision trees, random forests, and neural networks. The data used were sourced from 2,076 calving records in 10 Irish dairy herds. In total, 19.9 and 5.9% of calving events required slight assistance and considerable or veterinary assistance, respectively. Variables related to parity, genetics, BCS, breed, previous calving, and reproductive events and the calf were included in the analysis. Based on a stepwise regression modeling process, the variables included in the models were the dam's direct and maternal calving difficulty predicted transmitting abilities (PTA), BCS at calving, parity; calving assistance or difficulty at the previous calving; proportion of Holstein breed; sire breed; sire direct calving difficulty PTA; twinning; and 2-way interactions between calving BCS and previous calving difficulty and the direct calving difficulty PTA of dam and sire. The models were built using bootstrapping procedures on 70% of the data set. The held-back 30% of the data was used to evaluate the predictive performance of the models in terms of discrimination and calibration. The decision tree and random forest models omitted the effect of twinning and included only subsets of sire breeds. Only multinomial regression and neural networks explicitly included the modeled interactions. Calving BCS, calving difficulty PTA, and previous calving assistance ranked as highly important variables for all 4 models. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (ranging from 0.64 to 0.79) indicates that all of the models had good overall discriminatory power. The neural network and multinomial regression models performed best, correctly classifying 75% of calving cases and showing superior calibration, with an average error in predicted probability of 3.7 and 4.5%, respectively. The neural network and multinomial regression models developed are both suitable for use in decision-support and simulation modeling.
    • Comparison of four commercially available ELISA kits for diagnosis of Fasciola hepatica in Irish cattle

      Munita, Maria P; Rea, Rosemary; Martinez-Ibeas, Ana M; Byrne, Noel; Kennedy, Aideen; Sekiya, Mary; Mulcahy, Grace; Sayers, Riona; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Dairy Research Ireland; et al. (Biomed Central, 2019-11-21)
      Background Fasciola hepatica is a liver parasite of mammals and it results in poor welfare outcomes and economic losses in ruminants. While faecal egg count is the test most commonly used for diagnosis, it does not indicate presence of migrating immature stages. Serological techniques increase sensitivity at all stages of the liver fluke infection. The aim of this study was to compare four commercially available ELISA tests for the diagnosis of F. hepatica. For this purpose, we tested three sample types; (i) known F. hepatica status sera from an experimental infection for the comparison of sensitivities and specificities, (ii) sera from pre- and post-flukicide-treated (albendazole, closantel, nitroxynil and triclabendazole) beef cattle to contrast the differences of seropositivity before and after treatment, and (iii) bulk tank milk samples from dairy herds sampled during high and low F. hepatica exposure periods for assessing seasonal variations with the four tests available. Samples were tested using ELISA kits supplied by four manufacturers (Ildana Biotech, IDEXX, Svanova, and Bio-X). Samples were analysed simultaneously and in duplicate. Results In the control population Ildana, IDEXX and Bio-X presented 100% sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp), Svanovir presented a Se of 59% and a Sp of 96%. In flukicide-treated beef cattle, kits highlighted decreasing antibody levels 90 days post-treatment in variable degrees. Finally, bulk milk showed a significant decrease in ELISA value between high and low fluke exposure periods with all tests studied. Conclusions Se and Sp found in the present study, confirm that Ildana, IDEXX and Bio-X are accurate for the detection of F. hepatica exposure in Irish cattle. Svanovir Se and Sp in this population, indicate that a larger study is necessary to confirm this test characteristic in Irish herds. In post-treatment use, Bio-X showed a consistent and significant decrease of ELISA value in all groups treated, denoting to be a reliable tool for assessing treatment effect at 90 days post-treatment. Finally, all tests showed to be a reliable tool for the F. hepatica monitoring of high and low exposure seasons, using bulk tank milk samples.
    • 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 Pseudomonas fluorescens proteases on the quality of Cheddar cheese

      Paludetti, Lizandra F.; O'Callaghan, Tom; Sheehan, Diarmuid (JJ); Gleeson, David E; Kelly, Alan L.; Dairy Research Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship; MKLS6643; 2015045 (Elsevier, 2020-06-26)
      The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of adding different levels of a thermoresistant protease produced by a Pseudomonas fluorescens strain to milk on the manufacture and quality of Cheddar cheese. Fresh raw milk was collected, standardized, and pasteurized at 72°C for 15 s, and the enzyme was added to give a protease activity of 0.15 or 0.60 U/L (treatments P1 and P4, respectively), while one sample had no enzyme added (control). Milk was stored at 4°C for 48 h and Cheddar cheese was manufactured after 0 and 48 h of storage. Results indicated that the protease was active in milk during 48 h of storage; however, its effect on milk composition was minimal. The protein that was preferentially hydrolyzed by the protease over storage was β-casein, followed by κ-casein. The mean cheese yield and recovery of fat and protein obtained for all cheeses were not affected by protease activity. The protease showed low activity during cheese manufacture, possibly because of unfavorable conditions, including low pH. One of the factors that might have influenced protease activity was the pH of the curd (approximately 6.55 after acidification and 5.35 at milling), which was lower than that at which the enzyme would have optimum activity (pH 7 to 9). Consequently, the composition, pH, patterns of proteolysis, and hardness of all cheeses produced were similar and in accordance with values expected for that type of cheese, independently of the protease activity level. However, slight increases in proteolysis were observed in P4 cheeses and produced using milk stored for 48 h. Both the P1 and P4 cheeses had higher concentrations of free amino acids (FAA) compared with the control, whereas urea-PAGE electrophoretograms indicated a greater breakdown of caseins in the P4 cheese samples, which may be related to possible increases in numbers of proteolytic bacteria in milk during storage. Therefore, the thermoresistant psychrotrophic bacterial protease(s) tested in this study may affect the manufacture or quality of Cheddar cheese during ripening to a relatively limited extent. However, controlling initial levels of proteolytic bacteria in raw milk remains essential, because proteolysis affects the development of flavor and texture in cheese.
    • Effect of stocking rate and animal genotype on dry matter intake, milk production, body weight, and body condition score in spring-calving, grass-fed dairy cows

      Coffey, E. L.; Delaby, Luc; Fitzgerald, S.; Galvin, Norann; Pierce, K.M.; Horan, Brendan; Dairy Research Ireland (Elsevier, 2017-06-28)
      The objective of the experiment was to quantify the effect of stocking rate (SR) and animal genotype on milk production, dry matter intake (DMI), energy balance, and production efficiency across 2 consecutive grazing seasons (2014 and 2015). A total of 753 records from 177 dairy cows were available for analysis: 68 Holstein-Friesian and 71 Jersey × Holstein-Friesian (JxHF) cows each year of the experiment under a pasture-based seasonal production system. Animals within each breed group were randomly allocated to 1 of 3 whole-farm SR treatments defined in terms of body weight per hectare (kg of body weight/ha): low (1,200 kg of body weight/ha), medium (1,400 kg of body weight/ha), and high (1,600 kg of body weight/ha), and animals remained in the same SR treatments for the duration of the experiment. Individual animal DMI was estimated 3 times per year at grass using the n-alkane technique: March (spring), June (summer), and September (autumn), corresponding to 45, 111, and 209 d in milk, respectively. The effects of SR, animal genotype, season, and their interactions were analyzed using mixed models. Milk production, body weight, and production efficiency per cow decreased significantly as SR increased due to reduced herbage availability per cow and increased grazing severity. As a percentage of body weight, JxHF cows had higher feed conversion efficiency, higher DMI and milk solids (i.e., kg of fat + kg of protein) production, and also required less energy intake to produce 1 kg of milk solids. The increased production efficiency of JxHF cows at a similar body weight per hectare in the current analysis suggests that factors other than individual cow body weight contribute to the improved efficiency within intensive grazing systems. The results highlight the superior productive efficiency of high genetic potential crossbred dairy cows within intensive pasture-based milk production systems at higher SR where feed availability is restricted.
    • Effect of using internal teat sealant with or without antibiotic therapy at dry-off on subsequent somatic cell count and milk production

      McParland, Sinead; Dillon, Pat; Flynn, James; Ryan, N.; Arkins, S.; Kennedy, Aideen E.; Dairy Research Ireland (Elsevier, 2019-03-14)
      The objective of this study was to assess the effect of treating cows with teat sealant only compared with antibiotic plus teat sealant at drying off on weekly somatic cell count, potential intramammary infection, and milk production across the entire subsequent lactation. In 3 research herds in the south of Ireland, cows with SCC that did not exceed 200,000 cells/mL in the previous lactation (LowSCC) were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatments at drying off: internal teat sealant alone (ITS) or antibiotic plus teat sealant (AB+ITS). Cows with SCC that exceeded 200,000 cells/mL in the previous lactation were treated with AB+ITS and included in the analyses as a separate group (HighSCC). Weekly individual animal composite SCC records were available for 654 cow lactations and were transformed to somatic cell scores (SCS) for the purpose of analysis. Data were divided into 3 data sets to represent records obtained (1) up to 35 DIM, (2) up to 120 DIM, and (3) across the lactation. Foremilk secretions were taken from all quarters at drying off, at calving, 2 wk after calving, and in mid-lactation and were cultured to detect the presence of bacteria. The LowSCC cows treated with ITS alone had higher daily milk yield (0.67 kg/d) across lactation compared with LowSCC cows treated with AB+ITS. The LowSCC cows treated with ITS alone had higher SCS in early, up to mid, and across lactation compared with LowSCC cows treated with AB+ITS. We detected no difference in weekly SCS of LowSCC cows treated with ITS alone and SCS of HighSCC cows. The least squares means back-transformed SCC across lactation of the LowSCC cows treated with ITS alone, LowSCC cows treated with AB+ITS, and HighSCC cows were 41,523, 34,001, and 38,939 cells/mL respectively. The odds of LowSCC cows treated with ITS alone having bacteria present in their foremilk across lactation was 2.7 (95% confidence interval: 1.91 to 3.85) and 1.6 (1.22 to 2.03) times the odds of LowSCC cows treated with AB+ITS and of HighSCC cows treated with AB+ITS, respectively. In this study, Staphylococcus aureus was the most prevalent pathogen isolated from the population. Recategorizing the threshold for LowSCC cows as ≤150,000 cells/mL or ≤100,000 cells/mL in the previous lactation had no effect on the results. The results indicate that herds with good mastitis control programs may use ITS alone at dry-off in cows with SCC <200,000 cells/mL across lactation with only a small effect on herd SCC.
    • An examination of the effects of labor efficiency on the profitability of grass-based, seasonal-calving dairy farms

      Deming, J.; Kinsella, Jim; O'Brien, Bernadette; Shalloo, Laurence; Dairy Research Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Elsevier, 2019-06-27)
      The seasonality of grass-based, seasonal-calving dairy systems results in disproportionately higher labor demands during the spring, when cows are calving, than in the remaining seasons. This study aimed to (1) examine the relationship between labor efficiency and profitability; (2) investigate strategies to reduce the hours worked per day by the farmer, family, and farm staff in the spring by having certain tasks outsourced; and (3) quantify the economic implications of those strategies. Data from an existing labor efficiency study on Irish dairy farms were used in conjunction with economic performance data from the farms. Tasks that required the highest level of farm labor per day in the spring were identified and hypothetical strategies to reduce the farm hours worked per day were examined. A stochastic budgetary simulation model was then used to examine the economic implications of employing these strategies and the effects of their use in conjunction with a proportionate increase in cow numbers that would leave the hours worked per day unchanged. The strategies were to use contractors to perform calf rearing, machinery work, or milking. Contracting out milking resulted in the greatest reduction in hours worked per day (5.6 h/d) followed by calf rearing (2.7 h/d) and machinery work (2 h/d). Reducing the hours worked per day by removing those tasks had slight (i.e., <5%) negative effects on profitability; however, maintaining the farm hours worked per day while utilizing the same strategies and increasing herd sizes resulted in profitable options. The most profitable scenario was for farms to increase herd size while contracting out milking.
    • Measuring labor input on pasture-based dairy farms using a smartphone

      Deming, J.; Gleeson, David E; O'Dwyer, T.; O'Brien, Bernadette; Kinsella, J.; Dairy Research Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Elsevier, 2018-07-19)
      With the cessation of milk quotas in the European Union, dairy herd sizes increased in some countries, including Ireland, with an associated increase in labor requirement. Second to feed costs, labor has been identified as one of the highest costs on pasture-based dairy farms. Compared with other European Union countries, Ireland has historically had low milk production per labor unit; thus, optimization of labor efficiency on farm should be addressed before or concurrently with herd expansion. The objective of this study was to quantify current levels of labor input and labor efficiency on commercial pasture-based dairy farms and to identify the facilities and management practices associated with increased labor efficiency. Thirty-eight dairy farms of varying herd sizes, previously identified as labor-efficient farms, were enrolled on the study and data were collected over 3 consecutive days each month over a 12-mo period, starting in May 2015 and finishing in August of 2016. This was achieved through the use of a smartphone application. For analysis purposes, farms were categorized into 1 of 3 herd size categories (HSC): farms with <150 cows (HSC 1), 150–249 cows (HSC 2), or ≥250 cows (HSC 3). Overall farm labor input increased with HSC with 3,015, 4,499, and 6,023 h worked on HSC 1, 2, and 3, respectively. A higher proportion of work was carried out by hired staff as herd size increased. Labor efficiency was measured as total hours input to the dairy enterprise divided by herd size. Labor efficiency improved as herd size increased above 250 cows with 17.3 h/cow per yr observed for HSC 3; labor efficiency was similar for HSC 1 and 2, at 23.8 and 23.3 h/cow per yr, respectively. A large range of efficiency was observed within HSC. The labor requirements had a distinct seasonal pattern across the 3 HSC with the highest input observed in springtime (February to April) primarily due to calving and calf-care duties, milking, and winter feeding. The lowest input was observed in wintertime (November to January) when cows were dry. Particular facilities and management practices were associated with efficiency within certain tasks, the most notable in regard to milking and winter feeding practices. Additionally, the most efficient farms used contractors to perform a higher proportion of machinery work on farm than the least efficient farms.
    • Milk production per cow and per hectare of spring-calving dairy cows grazing swards differing in Lolium perenne L. ploidy and Trifolium repens L. composition

      McClearn, Bríd; Gilliland, Trevor J.; Delaby, Luc; Guy, Clare; Dineen, Michael; Coughlan, Fergal; McCarthy, Brian; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; Dairy Research Ireland (Elsevier, 2019-07-10)
      Grazed grass is the cheapest feed available for dairy cows in temperate regions; thus, to maximize profits, dairy farmers must optimize the use of this high-quality feed. Previous research has defined the benefits of including white clover (Trifolium repens L.) in grass swards for milk production, usually at reduced nitrogen usage and stocking rate. The aim of this study was to quantify the responses in milk production of dairy cows grazing tetraploid or diploid perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.; PRG) sown with and without white clover but without reducing stocking rate or nitrogen usage. We compared 4 grazing treatments in this study: tetraploid PRG-only swards, diploid PRG-only swards, tetraploid with white clover swards, and diploid with white clover swards. Thirty cows were assigned to each treatment, and swards were rotationally grazed at a farm-level stocking rate of 2.75 cows/ha and a nitrogen fertilizer rate of 250 kg/ha annually. Sward white clover content was 23.6 and 22.6% for tetraploid with white clover swards and diploid with white clover swards, respectively. Milk production did not differ between the 2 ploidies during this 4-yr study, but cows grazing the PRG-white clover treatments had significantly greater milk yields (+596 kg/cow per year) and milk solid yields (+48 kg/cow per year) compared with cows grazing the PRG-only treatments. The PRG-white clover swards also produced 1,205 kg of DM/ha per year more herbage, which was available for conserving and buffer feeding in spring when these swards were less productive than PRG-only swards. Although white clover is generally combined with reduced nitrogen fertilizer use, this study provides evidence that including white clover in either tetraploid or diploid PRG swards, combined with high levels of nitrogen fertilizer, can effectively increase milk production per cow and per hectare.
    • Milk production per cow and per hectare of spring-calving dairy cows grazing swards differing in Lolium perenne L. ploidy and Trifolium repens L. composition

      McClearn, B.; Gilliland, T.J.; Delaby, L.; Guy, C.; Dineen, M.; Coughlan, F.; McCarthy, B.; Dairy Research Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (American Dairy Science Association, 2019-09)
      Grazed grass is the cheapest feed available for dairy cows in temperate regions; thus, to maximize profits, dairy farmers must optimize the use of this high-quality feed. Previous research has defined the benefits of including white clover (Trifolium repens L.) in grass swards for milk production, usually at reduced nitrogen usage and stocking rate. The aim of this study was to quantify the responses in milk production of dairy cows grazing tetraploid or diploid perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.; PRG) sown with and without white clover but without reducing stocking rate or nitrogen usage. We compared 4 grazing treatments in this study: tetraploid PRG-only swards, diploid PRG-only swards, tetraploid with white clover swards, and diploid with white clover swards. Thirty cows were assigned to each treatment, and swards were rotationally grazed at a farm-level stocking rate of 2.75 cows/ha and a nitrogen fertilizer rate of 250 kg/ha annually. Sward white clover content was 23.6 and 22.6% for tetraploid with white clover swards and diploid with white clover swards, respectively. Milk production did not differ between the 2 ploidies during this 4-yr study, but cows grazing the PRG-white clover treatments had significantly greater milk yields (+596 kg/cow per year) and milk solid yields (+48 kg/cow per year) compared with cows grazing the PRG-only treatments. The PRG-white clover swards also produced 1,205 kg of DM/ha per year more herbage, which was available for conserving and buffer feeding in spring when these swards were less productive than PRG-only swards. Although white clover is generally combined with reduced nitrogen fertilizer use, this study provides evidence that including white clover in either tetraploid or diploid PRG swards, combined with high levels of nitrogen fertilizer, can effectively increase milk production per cow and per hectare
    • Pasture Feeding Changes the Bovine Rumen and Milk Metabolome

      O’Callaghan, Tom; Vázquez-Fresno, Rosa; Serra-Cayuela, Arnau; Dong, Edison; Mandal, Rupasri; Hennessy, Deirdre; McAuliffe, Stephen; Dillon, Pat; Wishart, David; Stanton, Catherine; et al. (MDPI AG, 2018-04-06)
      The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two pasture feeding systems—perennial ryegrass (GRS) and perennial ryegrass and white clover (CLV)—and an indoor total mixed ration (TMR) system on the (a) rumen microbiome; (b) rumen fluid and milk metabolome; and (c) to assess the potential to distinguish milk from different feeding systems by their respective metabolomes. Rumen fluid was collected from nine rumen cannulated cows under the different feeding systems in early, mid and late lactation, and raw milk samples were collected from ten non-cannulated cows in mid-lactation from each of the feeding systems. The microbiota present in rumen liquid and solid portions were analysed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing, while 1H-NMR untargeted metabolomic analysis was performed on rumen fluid and raw milk samples. The rumen microbiota composition was not found to be significantly altered by any feeding system in this study, likely as a result of a shortened adaptation period (two weeks’ exposure time). In contrast, feeding system had a significant effect on both the rumen and milk metabolome. Increased concentrations of volatile fatty acids including acetic acid, an important source of energy for the cow, were detected in the rumen of TMR and CLV-fed cows. Pasture feeding resulted in significantly higher concentrations of isoacids in the rumen. The ruminal fluids of both CLV and GRS-fed cows were found to have increased concentrations of p-cresol, a product of microbiome metabolism. CLV feeding resulted in increased rumen concentrations of formate, a substrate compound for methanogenesis. The TMR feeding resulted in significantly higher rumen choline content, which contributes to animal health and milk production, and succinate, a product of carbohydrate metabolism. Milk and rumen-fluids were shown to have varying levels of dimethyl sulfone in each feeding system, which was found to be an important compound for distinguishing between the diets. CLV feeding resulted in increased concentrations of milk urea. Milk from pasture-based feeding systems was shown to have significantly higher concentrations of hippuric acid, a potential biomarker of pasture-derived milk. This study has demonstrated that 1H-NMR metabolomics coupled with multivariate analysis is capable of distinguishing both rumen-fluid and milk derived from cows on different feeding systems, specifically between indoor TMR and pasture-based diets used in this study.
    • Screening commercial teat disinfectants against bacteria isolated from bovine milk using disk diffusion

      Fitzpatrick, Sarah Rose; Garvey, Mary; Jordan, Kieran; Flynn, Jim; O'Brien, Bernadette; Gleeson, David; Dairy Research Ireland; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; MKLS0006; 2016054 (Veterinary World, 2019-05-06)
      Background and Aim: Teat disinfection is an important tool in reducing the incidence of bovine mastitis. Identifying the potential mastitis-causing bacterial species in milk can be the first step in choosing the correct teat disinfectant product. The objective of this study was to screen commercial teat disinfectants for inhibition against mastitis-associated bacteria isolated from various types of milk samples. Materials and Methods: Twelve commercially available teat disinfectant products were tested, against 12 mastitis-associated bacteria strains isolated from bulk tank milk samples and bacterial strains isolated from clinical (n=2) and subclinical (n=3) quarter foremilk samples using the disk diffusion method. Results: There was a significant variation (7-30 mm) in bacterial inhibition between teat disinfection products, with products containing a lactic acid combination (with chlorhexidine or salicylic acid) resulting in the greatest levels of bacterial inhibition against all tested bacteria (p<0.05). Conclusion: In this study, combined ingredients in teat disinfection products had greater levels of bacterial inhibition than when the ingredients were used individually. The disk diffusion assay is a suitable screening method to effectively differentiate the bacterial inhibition of different teat disinfectant products.