• Body and carcass measurements, carcass conformation and tissue distribution of high dairy genetic merit Holstein, standard dairy genetic merit Friesian and Charolais x Holstein-Friesian male cattle

      McGee, Mark; Keane, Michael G.; Neilan, R.; Moloney, Aidan P; Caffrey, Patrick J. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      The increased proportion of Holstein genes in the dairy herd may have undesirable consequences for beef production in Ireland. A total of 72 spring-born calves, (24 Holstein (HO), 24 Friesian (FR) and 24 Charolais X Holstein-Friesian (CH)) were reared from calfhood to slaughter. Calves were artificially reared indoors and spent their first summer at pasture following which they were assigned to a 3 breeds (HO, FR and CH) 2 production systems (intensive 19-month bull beef and extensive 25-month steer beef) 2 slaughter weights (560 and 650 kg) factorial experiment. Body measurements of all animals were recorded at the same time before the earliest slaughter date. After slaughter, carcasses were graded and measured and the pistola hind-quarter was separated into fat, bone and muscle. HO had significantly higher values for withers height, pelvic height and chest depth than FR, which in turn had higher values than CH. HO had a longer back and a narrower chest than either FR or CH, which were not significantly different. Carcass length and depth, pistola length, and leg length were 139.2, 134.4 and 132.0 (s.e. 0.81), 52.1, 51.3 and 47.7 (s.e. 0.38), 114.4, 109.0 and 107.0 (s.e. 0.65) and 76.7, 71.9 and 71.4 (s.e. 0.44) cm for HO, FR and CH, respectively. Breed differences in pistola tissue distribution between the joints were small and confined to the distal pelvic limb and ribs. There were relatively small breed differences in the distribution of pistola muscle weight between individual muscles. Body measurements were significantly greater for animals on the intensive system (bulls) than the extensive system (steers) in absolute terms, but the opposite was so when they were expressed relative to live weight. The only significant difference in relative carcass measurements between the production systems was for carcass depth, which was lower for the intensive compared with the extensive system. Increasing slaughter weight significantly increased all carcass measurements in absolute terms but reduced them relative to weight. It is concluded that there were large differences between the breed types in body and carcass measurements, and hence in carcass shape and compactness but differences in tissue distribution were small.
    • A catalogue of validated single nucleotide polymorphisms in bovine orthologs of mammalian imprinted genes and associations with beef production traits

      Magee, David A; Berkowicz, Erik W; Sikora, Klaudia M; Berry, Donagh; Park, Stephen D. E.; Kelly, Alan K; Sweeney, Torres; Kenny, David A.; Evans, R. D.; Wickham, Brian W.; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2010-06)
      Genetic (or ‘genomic’) imprinting, a feature of approximately 100 mammalian genes, results in monoallelic expression from one of the two parentally inherited chromosomes. To date, most studies have been directed on imprinted genes in murine or human models; however, there is burgeoning interest in the effects of imprinted genes in domestic livestock species. In particular, attention has focused on imprinted genes that influence foetal growth and development and that are associated with several economically important production traits in cattle, sheep and pigs. We have re-sequenced regions in 20 candidate bovine imprinted genes in order to validate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that may influence important production traits in cattle. Putative SNPs detected via re-sequencing were subsequently re-formatted for high-throughput SNP genotyping in 185 cattle samples comprising 138 performance-tested European Bos taurus (all Limousin bulls), 29 African B. taurus and 18 Indian B. indicus samples. Analysis of the resulting genotypic data identified 117 validated SNPs. Preliminary genotype–phenotype association analyses using 83 SNPs that were polymorphic in the Limousin samples with minor allele frequencies >0.05 revealed significant associations between two candidate bovine imprinted genes and a range of important beef production traits: average daily gain, average feed intake, live weight, feed conversion ratio, residual feed intake and residual gain. These genes were the Ras proteinspecific guanine nucleotide releasing factor gene ( RASGRF1) and the zinc finger, imprinted 2 gene ( ZIM2). Despite the relatively small sample size used in these analyses, the observed associations with production traits are supported by the purported biological function of the RASGRF1 and ZIM2 gene products. These results support the hypothesis that imprinted genes contribute significantly to important complex production traits in cattle. Furthermore, these SNPs may be usefully incorporated into future marker-assisted and genomic selection breeding schemes.
    • Comparative grazing behaviour of lactating suckler cows of contrasting genetic merit and genotype

      McCabe, S.; McHugh, Noirin; O'Connell, Niamh E.; Prendiville, Robert; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF 13/S4/96 (Elsevier, 2018-12-04)
      The objective of this study was to determine if differences in grazing behaviour exist between lactating suckler cows diverse in genetic merit for the national Irish Replacement index and of two contrasting genotypes. Data from 103 cows: 41 high and 62 low genetic merit, 43 beef and 60 beef x dairy (BDX) cows were available over a single grazing season in 2015. Milk yield, grass dry matter intake (GDMI), cow live weight (BW) and body condition score (BCS) were recorded during the experimental period, with subsequent measures of production efficiency extrapolated. Grazing behaviour data were recorded twice in conjunction with aforementioned measures, using Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research headset behaviour recorders. The effect of genotype and cow genetic merit during mid- and late-lactation on grazing behaviour phenotypes, milk yield, BW, BCS and GDMI were estimated using linear mixed models. Genetic merit had no significant effect on any production parameters investigated, with the exception that low genetic merit had a greater BCS than high genetic merit cows. Beef cows were heavier, had a greater BCS but produced less milk per day than BDX. The BDX cows produced more milk per 100 kg BW and per unit intake and had greater GDMI, intake per bite and rate of GDMI per 100 kg BW than beef cows. High genetic merit cows spent longer grazing and took more bites per day but had a lower rate of GDMI than low genetic merit cows, with the same trend found when expressed per unit of BW. High genetic merit cows spent longer grazing than low genetic merit cows when expressed on a per unit intake basis. Absolute rumination measures were similar across cow genotype and genetic merit. When expressed per unit BW, BDX cows spent longer ruminating per day compared to beef. However, on a per unit intake basis, beef cows ruminated longer and had more mastications than BDX. Intake per bite and rate of intake was positively correlated with GDMI per 100 kg BW. The current study implies that despite large differences in grazing behaviour between cows diverse in genetic merit, few differences were apparent in terms of production efficiency variables extrapolated. Conversely, differences in absolute grazing and ruminating behaviour measurements did not exist between beef cows of contrasting genotype. However, efficiency parameters investigated illustrate that BDX will subsequently convert herbage intake more efficiently to milk production.
    • Development and implementation of genomic predictions in beef cattle

      Berry, Donagh; Garcia, J.F.; Garrick, Dorian J. (American Society of Animal Science, 2016-01-05)
      Beef production represents a considerable contribution to local and global economies and food security but also the environmental footprint of agricultural production systems. The development of accurate genomic evaluations in beef populations are more difficult than in dairy populations for reasons including the presence of multiple breeds, poor extent of phenotyping, lack of artificial insemination, and beef systems being generally a lower-margin business of poorer adopters of technology. Several options exist to minimize or overcome the limitations of developing accurate genomic evaluations for beef cattle.
    • Dietary supplementation with fish oil and safflower oil, during the finishing period, alters brisket muscle fatty acid profile and n-6/n-3 ratio but not carcass traits of dairy beef bulls

      Byrne, C. J.; Fair, S.; Dick, J. R.; Lonergan, P.; Kenny, David A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/116 (American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, 2021-08)
      Objective: With increases in the global population, there is a need to identify strategies that increase beef output while maintaining or improving health benefits of beef products. Studies have demonstrated that there are many benefits to human health in response to reducing the dietary n-6 to n-3 ratio. The aim of this study was to characterize the carcass characteristics and brisket muscle fatty acid profile of young dairy bred bulls following dietary supplementation with n-6 or n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Material and Methods: Holstein-Friesian (n = 43) and Jersey (n = 7) bulls with a mean ± s.e.m. age and bodyweight of 420.1 ± 5.86 days and 382.0 ± 8.94 kg, respectively, were offered a cereal based concentrate diet on an ad libitum basis, fortified with one of three lipid supplements: control (CTL; no supplementary lipid), n-6 PUFA safflower (SO), or n-3 PUFA enriched fish oil (FO). Bulls were individually offered their respective diet for 12 weeks prior to slaughter. Carcass weight, conformation and fat score were recorded at slaughter for all animals, while brisket muscle was collected from 26 randomly selected bulls and lipid profile analysed using GC. Results and Discussion: Total n-3 PUFA concentration was greater for FO than either SO or CTL diets (P < 0.05). Although there was no difference in the muscle total n-6 concentration between diets (P = 0.52), n-6 to n-3 ratio was 3.2 and 3.9 times lower for FO (P < 0.001) than either CTL or SO diets, respectively. Total intake of n-3 PUFA accounted for 72% of the variation in the n-6 to n-3 ratio. Despite the differences in fatty acid profiles, there was no effect of dietary lipid supplementation on carcass weight (P = 0.63), conformation (P = 0.79), or fat score (P = 0.84. Implications and Applications: Beef producers can feed n-6 and/or n-3 PUFA enriched diets that would result in beef having potential health benefits and greater branding potential.
    • The effect of extended post-mortem ageing on the Warner–Brazler shear force of longissimus thoracis from beef heifers from two sire breeds, slaughtered at 20 or 25 mo of age

      Moloney, Aidan P; Picard, B.; Moran, Lara; European Union; Food-CT-2006-36241 (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2020-12-22)
      were examined. Spring-born Angus × Holstein-Friesian heifers (n = 48) and Belgian Blue × Holstein-Friesian heifers (n = 48) were slaughtered, within sire breed, at 20 or 25 mo of age. Approximately 48 h post-mortem, LT steaks (2.5 cm) were removed, and either stored at −20°C for chemical analysis or vacuum-packed, stored at 2°C for 7, 14 or 28 d post-mortem and then at −20°C pending Warner–Bratzler shear force (WBSF) analysis. Muscle from Angus-sired heifers had higher (P < 0.001) intramuscular fat (IMF) concentration, lower (P < 0.001) proportion of type IIX muscle fibres and higher (P < 0.001) proportion of type IIA and type I muscle fibres compared to muscle from Belgian Blue-sired heifers. Collagen characteristics did not differ between sire breeds. Later slaughter increased (P < 0.001) IMF concentration and decreased (P < 0.001) total and insoluble concentrations and collagen solubility. There were no interactions between the main effects for WBSF and no difference between sire breeds. Later slaughter and increasing the duration of ageing decreased (P < 0.05) WBSF. Based on threshold WBSF values in the literature, all samples would be considered tender (<39 N) after 7 d ageing. Untrained consumers are likely to detect the decrease in WBSF from 7 to 14 d ageing but not due to further ageing. Within the production system examined and based on WBSF data, extending LT ageing to 28 d is not necessary to ensure consumer satisfaction.
    • Enhancing the healthiness, shelf-life and flavour of Irish fresh packaged beef

      Moloney, Aidan P; Murray, Brendan; Troy, Declan J.; O'Grady, Michael; Kerry, Joseph P.; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 2007-02)
      Consumer concern about the nutritional aspects of health has heightened interest in developing methods for manipulation of the fatty acid composition of ruminant products. Ruminant meats such as beef and lamb are often criticised by nutritionists for having high amounts of saturated (S) fatty acids and low levels of polyunsaturated (P) fatty acids. The P:S ratio in beef is approximately 0.1, the ideal being about 0.4. However, an excessive increase in P concentration could predispose beef lipids to rancidity and loss of shelflife. Moreover, the colour of meat is an important influence on the purchase decision of the consumer. This report summarises the Teagasc contribution to a larger project supported under the Food Institutional Research Measure programme administrated by the Department of Agriculture and Food. The Teagasc contribution focused on enhancing the fatty acid composition of beef by nutritional manipulation of cattle using grazing and plant oils, the use of healthy - fatty acid enriched bovine tissue to make a processed beef product and the efficacy of dietary inclusion of tea catechins and rosemary to enhance the shelf-life of beef.
    • The fatty acid profile and stable isotope ratios of C and N of muscle from cattle that grazed grass or grass/clover pastures before slaughter and their discriminatory potential

      Moloney, Aidan P; O'Riordan, Edward G.; Schmidt, Olaf; Monahan, Frank J (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2018-11-09)
      Consumption of grazed pasture compared to concentrates results in higher concentrations, in beef muscle, of fatty acids considered to be beneficial to human health. Little information is available on the influence of the type of grazed forage. Our objectives were to determine 1) the effect of inclusion of white clover in a grazing sward on the fatty acid profile of beef muscle and 2) the potential of the fatty acid profile and stable isotope ratios of C and N to discriminate between beef from cattle that grazed grass-only or grass/clover swards before slaughter. A total of 28 spring-born Charolais steers grazed from March until slaughter in October, either on a perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) sward that received approximately 220 kg N/ha or a perennial ryegrass–white clover (Trifolium repens L.) sward that received 50 kg N/ha. The longissimus muscle from cattle finished on grass/clover had a higher (P < 0.05) proportion of C18:2 and C18:3 but a lower (P < 0.05) proportion of conjugated linoleic acid and δ15N value than animals finished on the grass-only sward. Discriminant analysis using the fatty acid data showed that, after cross-validation, 80.7% of grass/clover and 86.1% of grass-only muscle samples were correctly classified. Discriminant analysis using the stable isotope data showed that, after cross-validation, 95.7% of grass/clover and 86.5% of grass-only muscle samples were correctly classified. Inclusion of white clover in pasture is likely to have little effect on healthiness of meat for consumers. However, changes in fatty acids and stable isotopes can be used to distinguish between grass/clover-fed and grass-only-fed beef.
    • Genetic parameters for animal mortality in pasture-based, seasonal-calving dairy and beef herds

      Ring, Siobhan C.; Evans, R. D.; Doherty, Michael L.; Berry, Donagh; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14/S/801 (Elsevier, 2018-11-09)
      In the absence of informative health and welfare phenotypes, breeding for reduced animal mortality could improve overall health and welfare, provided genetic variability in animal mortality exists. The objective of the present study was to estimate genetic (and other) variance components for animal mortality in pasture-based, seasonal-calving dairy and beef herds across multiple life stages as well as to quantify the genetic relationship in mortality among life stages. National mortality records were available for all cattle born in the Republic of Ireland. Cattle were grouped into three life stages based on age (0 to 30 days, 31 to 365 days, 366 to 1095 days) whereas females with ≥1 calving event were also grouped into five life stages, based on parity number (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5), considering both the initial 60 days of lactation and a cow's entire lactation period, separately. The mean mortality prevalence ranged from 0.70 to 5.79% in young animals and from 0.53 to 3.86% in cows. Variance components and genetic correlations were estimated using linear mixed models using 21,637 to 100,993 records. Where heritability estimates were different from zero, direct heritability estimates for mortality in young animals (≤1095 days) ranged from 0.006 to 0.040, whereas the genetic standard deviation ranged from 0.015 to 0.034. The contribution of a maternal genetic effect to mortality in young animals was evident up to 30 days of age in dairy herds, but this was only the case in preliminary analysis of stillbirths in beef herds. Based on the estimated genetic standard deviation in the present study, the incidence of mortality in young animals could be reduced through breeding by up to 3.4 percentage units per generation. For cows, direct heritability estimates for mortality, where different from zero, ranged from 0.003 to 0.049. The genetic standard deviation for mortality in cows ranged from 0.005 to 0.016 during the initial 60 days of lactation and ranged from 0.011 to 0.032 during the cow's entire lactation. Genetic correlations among the age groups as well as between the age groups and cow parities had high standard errors. Genetic correlations among the cow parities were moderate to strongly positive (ranging from 0.66 to 0.99) and mostly different from zero. Results from the present study can be used to inform genetic evaluations for mortality in young animals and in cows as well as the potential genetic gain achievable.
    • Genetic variation in wholesale carcass cuts predicted from digital images in cattle

      Pabiou, Thierry; Fikse, W. F.; Amer, P. R.; Cromie, A. R.; Nasholm, A.; Berry, Donagh (Cambridge University Press, 2011-06)
      The objective of this study was to quantify the genetic variation in carcass cuts predicted using digital image analysis in commercial cross-bred cattle. The data set comprised 38 404 steers and 14 318 heifers from commercial Irish herds. The traits investigated included the weights of lower value cuts (LVC), medium value cuts (MVC), high value cuts (HVC), very high value cuts (VHVC) and total meat weight. In addition, the weights of total fat and total bones were available on the steers. Heritability of carcass cut weights, within gender, was estimated using an animal linear model, whereas genetic and phenotypic correlations among cuts were estimated using a sire linear model. Carcass weight was included as a covariate in all models. In the steers, heritability ranged from 0.13 (s.e.50.02) for VHVC to 0.49 (s.e.50.03) for total bone weight, and in the heifers heritability ranged from 0.15 (s.e.50.04) for MVC to 0.72 (s.e.50.06) for total meat weight. The coefficient of genetic variation for the different cuts varied from 1.4% to 3.6%. Genetic correlations between the different cut weights were all positive and ranged from 0.45 (s.e.50.08) to 0.89 (s.e.50.03) in the steers, and from 0.47 (s.e.50.14) to 0.82 (s.e.50.06) in the heifers. Genetic correlations between the wholesale cut weights and carcass conformation ranged from 0.32 (s.e.50.06) to 0.45 (s.e.50.07) in the steers, and from 0.10 (s.e.50.12) to 0.38 (s.e.50.09) in the heifers. Genetic correlations between the same wholesale cut traits in steers and heifers ranged from 0.54 (s.e.50.14) for MVC to 0.79 (s.e.50.06) for total meat weight; genetic correlations between carcass weight and carcass classification for conformation and fat score in both genders varied from 0.80 to 0.87. The existence of genetic variation in carcass cut traits, coupled with the routine availability of predicted cut weights from digital image analysis, clearly shows the potential to genetically improve carcass value.
    • Genetics of reproductive performance in seasonal calving beef cows and its association with performance traits

      Berry, Donagh; Evans, R. D. (American Society of Animal Science, 2014-11-24)
      Due primarily to a lack of phenotypic data, little research has been undertaken on the genetics of reproductive performance in beef cattle. The objective of this study was to quantify, using data from the Irish national cattle herd, the contribution of additive genetics to phenotypic differences in reproductive performance in beef cattle and to investigate whether routinely available early predictors of genetic merit for reproductive performance exist. Up to 218,718 parity records from 156,506 animals were used to estimate variance components for a range of reproductive traits using repeatability animal linear mixed models. Covariances with performance traits were estimated using bivariate sire linear mixed models. The reproductive traits were age at first calving, calving in the first 42 d of the calving seasons (defined separately in heifers and cows), calving interval between consecutive calving events, and survival to the next lactation. Performance traits included calving dystocia, linear type traits describing the skeletal, muscular, and functional characteristics of an animal, live weight and price, carcass traits, and producer subjectively scored traits of weanling quality and docility. Heritability for age at first calving was 0.31 while the heritability of the remaining reproductive traits ranged from 0.01 to 0.06; repeatability estimates varied from 0.02 to 0.06. Increased muscularity, measured either by trained assessors or producers on live animals, or by mechanical grading machines on slaughtered animals (i.e., carcass conformation), was genetically correlated with reduced reproductive performance for some of the reproductive variables assessed. This is one of the largest studies undertaken on the genetics of reproduction in beef herds and clearly shows that genetic selection for improved reproductive performance in beef herds is feasible. However, breeding goals that select for muscularity and live weight or growth rate should be cognizant of indirect response to selection that may cause any deterioration in reproductive performance.
    • Imputation of ungenotyped parental genotypes in dairy and beef cattle from progeny genotypes

      Berry, Donagh; McParland, Sinead; Kearney, J.F.; Sargolzaei, Mehdi; Mullen, Michael P.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; European Union; RSF-06-0353; RSF-06-0428; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2014-04-09)
      The objective of this study was to quantify the accuracy of imputing the genotype of parents using information on the genotype of their progeny and a family-based and population-based imputation algorithm. Two separate data sets were used, one containing both dairy and beef animals (n = 3122) with high-density genotypes (735 151 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)) and the other containing just dairy animals (n = 5489) with medium-density genotypes (51 602 SNPs). Imputation accuracy of three different genotype density panels were evaluated representing low (i.e. 6501 SNPs), medium and high density. The full genotypes of sires with genotyped half-sib progeny were masked and subsequently imputed. Genotyped half-sib progeny group sizes were altered from 4 up to 12 and the impact on imputation accuracy was quantified. Up to 157 and 258 sires were used to test the accuracy of imputation in the dairy plus beef data set and the dairy-only data set, respectively. The efficiency and accuracy of imputation was quantified as the proportion of genotypes that could not be imputed, and as both the genotype concordance rate and allele concordance rate. The median proportion of genotypes per animal that could not be imputed in the imputation process decreased as the number of genotyped half-sib progeny increased; values for the medium-density panel ranged from a median of 0.015 with a half-sib progeny group size of 4 to a median of 0.0014 to 0.0015 with a half-sib progeny group size of 8. The accuracy of imputation across different paternal half-sib progeny group sizes was similar in both data sets. Concordance rates increased considerably as the number of genotyped half-sib progeny increased from four (mean animal allele concordance rate of 0.94 in both data sets for the medium-density genotype panel) to five (mean animal allele concordance rate of 0.96 in both data sets for the medium-density genotype panel) after which it was relatively stable up to a half-sib progeny group size of eight. In the data set with dairy-only animals, sufficient sires with paternal half-sib progeny groups up to 12 were available and the withinanimal mean genotype concordance rates continued to increase up to this group size. The accuracy of imputation was worst for the low-density genotypes, especially with smaller half-sib progeny group sizes but the difference in imputation accuracy between density panels diminished as progeny group size increased; the difference between high and medium-density genotype panels was relatively small across all half-sib progeny group sizes. Where biological material or genotypes are not available on individual animals, at least five progeny can be genotyped (on either a medium or high-density genotyping platform) and the parental alleles imputed with, on average, ⩾96% accuracy.
    • Influence of feeding systems on the eating quality of beef

      Troy, Declan J.; Murray, Brendan; O'Sullivan, Aileen; Mooney, Teresa; Moloney, Aidan P; Kerry, Joseph P. (Teagasc, 2002-10)
      The objective was to determine pre-slaughter factors which may enhance the eating quality of beef and to assist the Irish beef production chain to exploit these factors to produce beef of higher quality and increased consumer acceptability. The effects of pre-slaughter growth rate, high energy diets, feed type and age at slaughter on beef quality were examined.
    • Meat quality characteristics of high dairy genetic-merit Holstein, standard dairy genetic-merit Friesian and Charolais x Holstein-Friesian steers

      McGee, Mark; Keane, M.G.; Neilan, R.; Caffrey, P.J.; Moloney, Aidan P (TeagascCompuscript Ltd, 2020-03-13)
      The increased use of Holstein genetic material in the Irish dairy herd has consequences for beef production. In all, 42 spring-born steers [14 Holsteins (HO), 14 Friesian (FR) and 14 Charolais × Holstein-Friesian (CH)] were reared to slaughter at between 26 and 37 mo of age. Carcass weight was higher and the lipid concentration of m. longissimus thoracis et lumborum was lower (P < 0.05) for CH than the dairy breeds. Overall acceptability tended to be lower (P = 0.055) while tenderness, texture and chewiness were lower (P < 0.05) for CH compared with the dairy breeds. The proportion of C16:1 in the total lipid tended to be lower (P = 0.055) for CH than the dairy breeds. Replacing male offspring of traditional “Irish” Friesian bulls with offspring from a genetically superior (from a dairy perspective) strain of Holstein bull had no commercially important impact on beef nutritional or eating quality.
    • Meat quality characteristics of high dairy genetic-merit Holstein, standard dairy genetic-merit Friesian and Charolais × Holstein-Friesian steers

      McGee, Mark; Keane, Michael G.; Neilan, R.; Caffrey, P.J.; Moloney, Aidan (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2021-03-05)
      The increased use of Holstein genetic material in the Irish dairy herd has consequences for beef production. In all, 42 spring-born steers [14 Holsteins (HO), 14 Friesian (FR) and 14 Charolais × Holstein-Friesian (CH)] were reared to slaughter at between 26 and 37 mo of age. Carcass weight was higher and the lipid concentration of m. longissimus thoracis et lumborum was lower (P < 0.05) for CH than the dairy breeds. Overall acceptability tended to be lower (P = 0.055) while tenderness, texture and chewiness were lower (P < 0.05) for CH compared with the dairy breeds. The proportion of C16:1 in the total lipid tended to be lower (P = 0.055) for CH than the dairy breeds. Replacing male offspring of traditional “Irish” Friesian bulls with offspring from a genetically superior (from a dairy perspective) strain of Holstein bull had no commercially important impact on beef nutritional or eating quality.
    • A note on the effect of post-mortem maturation on colour of bovine Longissimus dorsi muscle

      Dunne, Peter G.; Monahan, Frank J; Moloney, Aidan P; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2010)
      Fifteen heifers were housed and fed a concentrate diet while 54 counterparts grazed at pasture for 90 days at which stage six heifers from each group were slaughtered. The remaining animals in the pasture group were then housed and offered either: concentrate only; concentrate plus grass silage with silage accounting for either 20% or 50% of the total dry matter offered; or zero-grazed grass plus concentrate with grass accounting for 83% of the dry matter offered. Heifers (3/diet) were slaughtered 28, 56, 91 and 120 days thereafter. Colour characteristics of M. longissimus dorsi (LD) were measured at 48 h post mortem. The LD was then vacuum-packaged and stored at between 0 and 4 °C in darkness for 12 days, when colour characteristics were again measured. Maturation of LD resulted in meat that had higher redness values (‘a’ value; P<0.001) and a more intense red colour (higher ‘C’ value; P<0.001) at 14 days post mortem than at 2 days, regardless of diet/duration of feeding. Maturation also resulted in a brighter colour (higher ‘L’ value; P<0.001) but this difference was greatest when cattle were slaughtered the day-56 time point.
    • Optimising The Response To Supplementary Concentrates By Beef Cattle In Winter

      Keane, Michael G.; Drennan, Michael J; Moloney, Aidan P (Teagasc, 2008-01-01)
      Concentrates are a major component of feed costs in winter finishing of beef cattle. Two separate experiments were carried out to evaluate the response to increasing supplementary concentrate level with grass silage and the effects of feeding the silage and concentrates separately or as a total mixed ration (TMR). In experiment 1, a total of 117 finishing steers (initial live weight 538 kg, s.d. 35.5) were assigned to a preexperimental slaughter group of 9 animals and to 6 feeding treatments of 18 animals each. The feeding treatments were: 1) silage (SO) only offered ad libitum, 2) SO plus a low level of concentrates offered separately (LS), 3) SO plus a low level of concentrates offered as a TMR (LM), 4) SO plus a medium level of concentrates offered separately (MS), 5) SO plus a medium level of concentrates offered as a TMR (MM), and 6) concentrates ad libitum plus a restricted silage allowance (AL). Low and medium target concentrate levels were 3 and 6 kg dry matter (DM) per head daily. When silage and concentrates were fed separately, the daily concentrate allowance was given in one morning feed. The animals were individually fed for a mean period of 132 days. After slaughter, carcasses were weighed and graded and the ribs joint was dissected into its component tissues. Silage DM intake decreased but total DM intake increased with increasing concentrate level. Live weight gains for SO, LS, LM, MS, MM and AL were 0.34, 0.86, 0.86, 1.02, 1.00 and 1.12 (s.e. 0.064) kg/day, respectively. Corresponding carcass weight gains were 0.25, 0.58, 0.58, 0.71, 0.68 and 0.82 (s.e. 0.028) kg/day. All measures of fatness increased, ribs joint bone proportion decreased, and muscle proportion was not significantly affected by dietary concentrate level. There were no significant interactions between concentrate level and method of feeding. Compared with offering the feeds separately, feeding a TMR increased silage DM intake by proportionately 0.06 and total DM intake by proportionately 0.04. Otherwise, method of feeding had no significant effect on performance, slaughter or carcass traits. Mean rumen pH decreased while ammonia concentration tended to increase with increasing concentrate level. Total volatile fatty acids and the acetate to propionate ratio were lowest for SO. Method of feeding had no significant effect on rumen fermentation.
    • Physiological and behavioural aspects of housing stress in cattle

      Earley, Bernadette; Gupta, Sandeep; Murray, Margaret; Prendiville, Daniel J.; European Union (Teagasc, 2008-12-01)
      The effect of various space allowances on pituitary, adrenal, immune responses and performance was investigated in 72 Holstein x Friesian bulls. Bulls (403 ± 3.5 kg) were blocked by weight and randomly assigned into two groups (familiar, F and unfamiliar, UF) x three (1.2, 2.7 and 4.2 m2 per bull; n = 24 bulls per space allowance) treatments and housed for 83 days in 18 pens (n = 4 per pen). Blood samples were collected on day –1, 0, 3, 14, 36 and 77 with respect to mixing and housing on day 0. The bulls were administered with adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) on day 3 and corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) on days 14, 36 and 77. The basal cortisol concentrations were not affected (P>0.05) by mixing of familiar and unfamiliar bulls. On day 3, basal cortisol was greater (P<0.05) in the bulls housed at 1.2 than those at 2.7 and 4.2 m2 space allowances while no effect was observed in ACTH-induced plasma cortisol concentration among treatments. Following CRH administration there was no effect (P>0.05) of treatment and treatment x time on ACTH. On day 14, interferon-? production was lower (P<0.05) in the bulls housed at 4.2 vs 2.7 m2 and was intermediate but not (P>0.05) different for those housed at 1.2 m2. Bulls housed at either space allowances had (P<0.05) neutrophilia, lymphopenia, eosinopenia and decreased haemoglobin on day 3 compared with day 0. The liveweight gain from days 0 to 83 was lower (P< 0.05) in bulls housed at 1.2 compared with those at 2.7 and 4.2 m2. Housing bulls at 1.2 m2 space allowance had a detrimental effect on their growth and was associated with an acute rise in plasma cortisol concentration (on day 3) compared with space allowances of 2.7 and 4.2 m2/bull.
    • 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; 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.
    • Quantification of nutrient supply in forage-based diets for beef cattle

      McGee, Mark; Owens, David; O'Kiely, Padraig; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, 2009-12-01)
      Introduction Cattle rearing systems in Ireland are predominantly grass-based as 80% of agricultural land is dedicated to grassland (silage, hay and pasture) (CSO, 2007). Feed costs represent the largest single variable cost in beef production in Ireland. Grazed grass is generally the cheapest source of food available for beef (and milk) production provided that the environment and management permit high yields of high quality herbage to be utilised (McGee, 2000). Environmental legislation and the rules of environmental schemes such as the European Union (EU) Rural Environmental Protection Scheme are progressively restricting the application of fertilizer Nitrogen (N), and many grazing systems are becoming more extensive. Over 80% of all farms in Ireland make grass silage (O’Kiely et al., 1998) and it accounts for 87% of total grass conserved (Mayne and O’Kiely, 2005). The deficiencies in nutrient supply to beef cattle from grass silage are usually overcome by supplementing with concentrates (McGee, 2005), which are primarily cereal-based (Drennan et al., 2006). However, diverse types of concentrates containing a variety of feed ingredients, particularly non-cereal by-products are available and frequently fed as supplements to grass silage or as highconcentrate diets. The relatively small amount of information available on feeding these contrasting concentrates to beef cattle is inconsistent. Moreover, there has been an increased use of other ensiled forages such as maize and whole-crop cereals. These forages have high intake potential and can reduce the concentrate feeding level, while maintaining or increasing performance of beef cattle (Keady, 2005). With increasing costs of beef production and increasing constraints of environmental regulations, efficient utilisation of consumed nutrients by cattle is imperative in providing sustainable production and income to farmers. Feed evaluation systems are used to match the dietary nutrient supply with animal requirements for a specific level of production (Dijkstra et al., 2007). These systems are important in order to optimise the efficiency of feed utilisation, to improve animal performance and to reduce nutrient losses to the environment (Dijkstra et al., 2007). Although the reticulo-rumen is central to the profile of nutrients available for absorption, yet quantitative knowledge of the rates of passage and the digestion of nutrients in the rumen is limited compared with that on degradation rates (Dijkstra et al., 2007). There is a lack of information that adequately characterises the supply of nutrients from forages and feedstuffs specific to Ireland, especially for fresh grass-based diets of which, there are very few studies reported in the literature. This shortcoming impedes our ability to capitalise on the merits of evolving feeding systems. This project aimed to: 1. Increase the knowledge and advance the understanding on rumen digestion and nutrient flow from the rumen of the main forages / forage-based diets offered to beef cattle in Ireland. 2. Evaluate strategies for optimal utilization of nutrients consumed by cattle.