• 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.
    • Stakeholder involvement in establishing a milk quality sub-index in dairy cow breeding goals: a Delphi approach

      Henchion, Maeve; McCarthy, Mary; Resconi, Virginia C.; Berry, Donagh; McParland, Sinead; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; 11/SF/311 (Cambridge University Press, 17/11/2015)
      The relative weighting on traits within breeding goals are generally determined by bio-economic models or profit functions. While such methods have generally delivered profitability gains to producers, and are being expanded to consider non-market values, current approaches generally do not consider the numerous and diverse stakeholders that affect, or are affected, by such tools. Based on principles of respondent anonymity, iteration, controlled feedback and statistical aggregation of feedback, a Delphi study was undertaken to gauge stakeholder opinion of the importance of detailed milk quality traits within an overall dairy breeding goal for profit, with the aim of assessing its suitability as a complementary, participatory approach to defining breeding goals. The questionnaires used over two survey rounds asked stakeholders: (a) their opinion on incorporating an explicit sub-index for milk quality into a national breeding goal; (b) the importance they would assign to a pre-determined list of milk quality traits and (c) the (relative) weighting they would give such a milk quality sub-index. Results from the survey highlighted a good degree of consensus among stakeholders on the issues raised. Similarly, revelation of the underlying assumptions and knowledge used by stakeholders to make their judgements illustrated their ability to consider a range of perspectives when evaluating traits, and to reconsider their answers based on the responses and rationales given by others, which demonstrated social learning. Finally, while the relative importance assigned by stakeholders in the Delphi survey (4% to 10%) and the results of calculations based on selection index theory of the relative emphasis that should be placed on milk quality to halt any deterioration (16%) are broadly in line, the difference indicates the benefit of considering more than one approach to determining breeding goals. This study thus illustrates the role of the Delphi technique, as a complementary approach to traditional approaches, to defining breeding goals. This has implications for how breeding goals will be defined and in determining who should be involved in the decision-making process.
    • Stakeholder perspectives on the use of pig meat inspection as a health and welfare diagnostic tool in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland; a SWOT analysis

      Devitt, Catherine; Boyle, Laura; Teixeira, Dayane L.; O'Connell, Niamh E.; Hawe, M.; Hanlon, A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF 11/S/107 (Biomed Central, 2016-11-07)
      Background A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis is a strategic management tool applied to policy planning and decision-making. This short report presents the results of a SWOT analysis, carried out with n = 16 stakeholders i) involved in the pig industry in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and ii) in general animal welfare and food safety policy areas. As part of a larger study called PIGWELFIND, the analysis sought to explore the potential development of pig meat inspection as an animal welfare and diagnostic tool. Findings The final SWOT framework comprised two strengths, three opportunities, six weaknesses, and five threats. Issues around relationships and communication between producers and their veterinary practitioner, processors and producers were common to both the strengths and weakness clusters. Practical challenges within the processing plant were also named. Overall, the SWOT framework complements results reported in Devitt et al. (Ir Vet J 69:2, 2016) regarding problematic issues within the current system of information feedback on meat inspection especially within the Republic of Ireland, and the wider challenges of communication and problems of distrust. Conclusion The results of the SWOT analysis support the conclusions from Devitt et al. (Ir Vet J 69:2, 2016), that trust between all stakeholders across the supply chain will be essential for the development of an effective environment in which to realise the full diagnostic potential of MI data. Further stakeholder engagement could seek to apply the findings of the SWOT analysis to a policy Delphi methodology, as used elsewhere.
    • Strategies to alleviate reproductive wastage in dairy cows

      Butler, Stephen (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      grass-based systems of production. A series of studies were carried out to (i) improve our understanding of the physiological basis of poor reproductive performance; (ii) examine management and nutritional strategies to improve fertility; and (iii) examine the potential role of extended lactation to mitigate the effects of poor reproductive performance. A comprehensive characterization of the North American and New Zealand strains of Holstein-Friesian cow was carried out. North American cows produce a greater volume of milk, but yield a similar amount of fat and protein on a grass-based diet. Dry matter intake was greater for the larger NA strain, but energy balance did not differ during the first 20 weeks of lactation. Circulating concentrations of metabolic hormones and metabolites during the early lactation period were indicative of lesser bioenergetic status in the NZ strain compared to the NA strain. During established lactation, circulating concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) were greater in the NZ strain. Liver biopsies collected at day 35 and day 150 postpartum indicated that the greater circulating concentration of IGF-I was due to greater hepatic mRNA abundance of IGF-I and acid labile subunit (ALS). Embryos were collected from both strains after superovulation. A greater proportion of the embryos recovered were transferable in the NZ strain compared with the NA strain, indicating that the previously reported differences in reproductive performance were manifest as early as 7 days post-insemination. Collectively, the results of the study indicate that the NZ strain are genetically better equipped to survive on a pasture-based seasonal calving system. A study was carried out to examine the effect of dry period duration and dietary energy density on milk production, bioenergetic status and postpartum ovarian function. Omitting the dry period and increasing dietary energy density both resulted in improved energy balance and metabolic status, but omitting the dry period reduced the postpartum interval to resumption of cyclicity whereas increasing dietary energy density had no effect. Omitting the dry period reduced the inherent drive to produce milk, and allowed the cow to fully meet nutritional requirements from voluntary dry matter intake. Increased dietary energy density also allowed the cow to more closely meet nutritional requirements from a higher energy density diet, albeit at a greater milk yield. The results suggest that the mechanism by which a cow arrives at a particular energy balance status may be as important as energy balance per se. One of the main energy costs associated with lactation is milk fat. Trans 10, cis 12 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a geometric and positional isomer of linoleic acid that reduces milk fat synthesis in a dose dependent manner. Supplementing cows with CLA resulted in improved energy balance status during the transition period and reduced postpartum body condition score loss. Some indices of reproductive performance were also improved. In seasonal systems, cows that fail to become pregnant by the end of the breeding season are typically culled and replaced. When reproductive performance is poor, this represents a major cost on dairy farms. A study was carried out to examine the feasibility of extending the lactation to 22 months, resulting in a calving interval of 24 months instead of 12 months. High yielding cows produced the equivalent of 2 normal lactations in an extended lactation system. An economic analysis indicated that an efficient spring calving system with a compact calving pattern and a 12 month calving interval is still the most profitable, but with high yielding cows extending the lactation of non-pregnant cows is more profitable than culling and replacing.
    • Strategies to Meet Nutritional Requirements and Reduce Boar Taint in Meat from Entire Male Pigs and Immunocastrates

      Bee, Giuseppe; Quiniou, Nathalie; Maribo, Hanne; Zamaratskaia, Galia; Lawlor, Peadar G. (MDPI AG, 2020-10-23)
      This paper reviews the current knowledge on the nutritional requirements of entire male and immunocastrated pigs to obtain an efficient growth, low boar taint level, and good carcass and meat quality. We present the reasons for offering entire males ad libitum access to the diets in order to optimize their protein deposition potential. Boar taint is one of the major issues in the production of entire males; therefore, the impact of various skatole- and indole-reducing feed ingredients is discussed regarding their efficiency and the possible mechanism affecting skatole and indole production in the hindgut. Entire males have lean carcasses, so their intramuscular fat content can be lower than that of surgical castrates or females and the adipose tissue can be highly unsaturated. The possible nutritional strategies to counteract these effects are summarized. We conclude that immunocastrates can be fed similarly to entire males until the second vaccination. However, due to the metabolic changes occurring shortly after the second vaccination, the requirements for essential amino acids are markedly lower in immunocastrates than in entire males.
    • Stress and immunological response of heifers divergently ranked for residual feed intake following an adrenocorticotropic hormone challenge

      Kelly, Alan K; Lawrence, P.; Earley, Bernadette; Kenny, David A.; McGee, Mark (Biomed Central, 2017-08-08)
      Background When an animal is exposed to a stressor, metabolic rate, energy consumption and utilisation increase primarily through activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Changes to partitioning of energy by an animal are likely to influence the efficiency with which it is utilised. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the physiological stress response to an exogenous adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) challenge in beef heifers divergently ranked on phenotypic residual feed intake (RFI). Results Data were collected on 34 Simmental weaning beef heifers the progeny of a well characterized and divergently bred RFI suckler beef herd. Residual feed intake was determined on each animal during the post-weaning stage over a 91-day feed intake measurement period during which they were individually offered adlibitum grass silage and 2 kg of concentrate per head once daily. The 12 highest [0.34 kg DM/d] and 12 lowest [−0.48 kg DM/d] ranking animals on RFI were selected for use in this study. For the physiological stress challenge heifers (mean age 605 ± 13 d; mean BW 518 ± 31.4 kg) were fitted aseptically with indwelling jugular catheters to facilitate intensive blood collection. The response of the adrenal cortex to a standardised dose of ACTH (1.98 IU/kg metabolic BW0.75) was examined. Serial blood samples were analysed for plasma cortisol, ACTH and haematology variables. Heifers differing in RFI did not differ (P = 0.59) in ACTH concentrations. Concentration of ACTH peaked (P < 0.001) in both RFI groups at 20 min post-ACTH administration, following which concentration declined to baseline levels by 150 min. Similarly, cortisol systemic profile peaked at 60 min and concentrations remained continuously elevated for 150 min. A RFI × time interaction was detected for cortisol concentrations (P = 0.06) with high RFI heifers had a greater cortisol response than Low RFI from 40 min to 150 min relative to ACTH administration. Cortisol response was positively associated with RFI status (r = 0.32; P < 0.01). No effect of RFI was evident for neutrophil, lymphocytes, monocyte, eosinophils and basophil count. Plasma red blood cell number (6.07 vs. 6.23; P = 0.02) and hematocrit percentage (23.2 vs. 24.5; P = 0.02) were greater for low than high RFI animals. Conclusions Evidence is provided that feed efficiency is associated with HPA axis function and susceptibility to stress, and responsiveness of the HPA axis is likely to contribute to appreciable variation in the efficiency feed utilisation of cattle.
    • The Structural and Functional Capacity of Ruminal and Cecal Microbiota in Growing Cattle Was Unaffected by Dietary Supplementation of Linseed Oil and Nitrate

      Popova, Milka; McGovern, Emily; McCabe, Matthew; Martin, Cécile; Doreau, Michel; Arbre, Marie; Meale, Sarah J.; Morgavi, Diego P.; Waters, Sinead M.; Adisseo France SAS; et al. (Frontiers, 2017-05-24)
      Microorganisms in the digestive tract of ruminants differ in their functionality and ability to use feed constituents. While cecal microbiota play an important role in post-rumen fermentation of residual substrates undigested in the rumen, limited knowledge exists regarding its structure and function. In this trial we investigated the effect of dietary supplementation with linseed oil and nitrate on methane emissions and on the structure of ruminal and cecal microbiota of growing bulls. Animals were allocated to either a CTL (control) or LINNIT (CTL supplemented with 1.9% linseed and 1.0% nitrates) diet. Methane emissions were measured using the GreenFeed system. Microbial diversity was assessed using amplicon sequencing of microbial genomic DNA. Additionally, total RNA was extracted from ruminal contents and functional mcrA and mtt genes were targeted in amplicon sequencing approach to explore the diversity of functional gene expression in methanogens. LINNIT had no effect on methane yield (g/kg DMI) even though it decreased methane production by 9% (g/day; P < 0.05). Methanobrevibacter- and Methanomassiliicoccaceae-related OTUs were more abundant in cecum (72 and 24%) compared to rumen (60 and 11%) irrespective of the diet (P < 0.05). Feeding LINNIT reduced the relative abundance of Methanomassiliicoccaceae mcrA cDNA reads in the rumen. Principal component analysis revealed significant differences in taxonomic composition and abundance of bacterial communities between rumen and cecum. Treatment decreased the relative abundance of a few Ruminococcaceae genera, without affecting global bacterial community structure. Our research confirms a high level of heterogeneity in species composition of microbial consortia in the main gastrointestinal compartments where feed is fermented in ruminants. There was a parallel between the lack of effect of LINNIT on ruminal and cecal microbial community structure and functions on one side and methane emission changes on the other. These results suggest that the sequencing strategy used here to study microbial diversity and function accurately reflected the absence of effect on methane phenotypes in bulls treated with linseed plus nitrate.
    • The Structural and Functional Capacity of Ruminal and Cecal Microbiota in Growing Cattle Was Unaffected by Dietary Supplementation of Linseed Oil and Nitrate

      Popova, Milka; McGovern, Emily; McCabe, Matthew; Martin, Cécile; Doreau, Michel; Arbre, Marie; Meale, Sarah J.; Morgavi, Diego P.; Waters, Sinead M.; INRA; et al. (Frontiers, 2017-05-24)
      Microorganisms in the digestive tract of ruminants differ in their functionality and ability to use feed constituents. While cecal microbiota play an important role in post-rumen fermentation of residual substrates undigested in the rumen, limited knowledge exists regarding its structure and function. In this trial we investigated the effect of dietary supplementation with linseed oil and nitrate on methane emissions and on the structure of ruminal and cecal microbiota of growing bulls. Animals were allocated to either a CTL (control) or LINNIT (CTL supplemented with 1.9% linseed and 1.0% nitrates) diet. Methane emissions were measured using the GreenFeed system. Microbial diversity was assessed using amplicon sequencing of microbial genomic DNA. Additionally, total RNA was extracted from ruminal contents and functional mcrA and mtt genes were targeted in amplicon sequencing approach to explore the diversity of functional gene expression in methanogens. LINNIT had no effect on methane yield (g/kg DMI) even though it decreased methane production by 9% (g/day; P < 0.05). Methanobrevibacter- and Methanomassiliicoccaceae-related OTUs were more abundant in cecum (72 and 24%) compared to rumen (60 and 11%) irrespective of the diet (P < 0.05). Feeding LINNIT reduced the relative abundance of Methanomassiliicoccaceae mcrA cDNA reads in the rumen. Principal component analysis revealed significant differences in taxonomic composition and abundance of bacterial communities between rumen and cecum. Treatment decreased the relative abundance of a few Ruminococcaceae genera, without affecting global bacterial community structure. Our research confirms a high level of heterogeneity in species composition of microbial consortia in the main gastrointestinal compartments where feed is fermented in ruminants. There was a parallel between the lack of effect of LINNIT on ruminal and cecal microbial community structure and functions on one side and methane emission changes on the other. These results suggest that the sequencing strategy used here to study microbial diversity and function accurately reflected the absence of effect on methane phenotypes in bulls treated with linseed plus nitrate.
    • Studies into the dynamics of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) seed mixtures

      Gilliland, T. J.; Hennessy, Deirdre; Griffith, V. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2011)
      The dynamic interactions of four perennial ryegrass seed mixtures sold in Northern Ireland were studied under simulated grazing and conservation managements. Mixture composition was determined as changes in phosphoglucoisomerase isozyme frequencies by calculation from known isozyme frequencies of the component varieties. Mixture productivity was measured over 4 growing seasons and compared with yields predicted from those of the components in monoculture, weighted for their actual proportion in the mixture. No significant differences were found between actual yields for mixtures and their predicted yields, but when these differences were regressed against the heading date range among the varieties in each mixture, a significant relationship was observed. A wide range in heading date among the components of the mixtures was associated with increased yield stability over years and with a declining yield advantage for the mixture compared to its components grown as monocultures. In this aspect, the mixtures showed a more rapid decline under conservation management than under simulated grazing. Mixtures also had a flatter seasonal yield-production profile than their component varieties. Tetraploid components were more aggressive than diploids, though a more open-growing diploid maintained its proportion in the sward better than a dense-growing type and manipulating the sowing ratios could be used to influence final sward composition after 2 years. It was concluded that the differences in heading date range within mixtures had a significant impact on mixture dynamics, with the tetraploid component being the most aggressive.
    • Studies of Autumn calving suckler cows, bulls at pasture and winter grazing

      Black, Alistair D; O’Riordan, Edward G.; Weldon, B.; French, Padraig (Teagasc, 2010-09)
      Most beef and dairy cows are spring calving leading to distinct seasonality of supply. Calving a proportion of the beef herd in the autumn would lead to a more uniform annual supply of cattle for slaughter and potentially increase the proportion of grazed grass in the diet of the suckler progeny. Autumn calving sucklers also facilitate the use of AI, which should enhance the product quality. This project aimed to address the technical aspects of autumn calving sucklers, which differ from those of spring calvers. The currently available international energy models were evaluated for autumn calving lactating suckler cows using the type of cow typically found in Irish suckler herds (Experiment 1). The winter accommodation of the suckler cow and calf unit and its impact on cow reproductive performance was evaluated (Experiment 2). The final part of the project evolved into component studies to determine the effect of supplementary feed on the performance of grazing bulls (Experiment 3), and the consequences of weanling cattle grazing pasture in winter as an alternative to housing them in winter (Experiments 4 to 7).
    • Studies on growth rates in pigs and the effect of birth weight

      Lynch, P Brendan; Cahill, A.; Lawlor, Peadar G; Boyle, Laura; O'Doherty, John V.; le Dividich, J.; National Development Programme (Teagasc, 2006-03-01)
      The purpose of this study was to assess some environmental and management factors that affect growth performance on commercial pig units. In experiment 1, a survey was carried out on 22 pig units of known growth performance in south-west Ireland to compare management factors between those showing poor and good growth rates. Low growth rate appears to be due to the cumulative effect of a combination of factors. Experiment 2 was conducted to determine the effects of providing an additional feeder on performance of weaned piglets. No benefits were recorded. Feed consumed from the additional feeder was a replacement for feed that otherwise would have been consumed from the control hopper feeder. Experiment 3 was designed to determine if pig performance and efficiency of growth were affected by weight at birth and at weaning. Lightweight pigs showed inferior growth performance up to the finisher period. Although they compensated some of the inferior growth towards the time of slaughter, they never reached the weights of the heavy birth-weight animals. Males were either significantly heavier or tended to be heavier than females throughout. There was no significant difference between the sexes in the number of days to slaughter. Light and heavy pigs did not differ in the levels of IGF-1 in their blood plasma; however lightweight pigs had significantly lower IgG preweaning. Experiment 4 aimed to determine whether piglet birth weight influenced growth performance, plasma IGF-1 concentrations and muscle fibre characteristics at day 42 of life. At slaughter (Day 42) light birth weight pigs were significantly (P < 0.001) lighter. Plasma IGF-1 concentration was lower by 28% (P=0.06) in light pigs. Muscle fibre cross sectional area and total fibre number were not significantly different between groups. This study should be repeated with bigger numbers.
    • Studies relating to Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA) Supplementation and Fertility in Cattle

      Childs, Stuart; Kenny, David A.; Sreenan, J.M.; Diskin, Michael G. (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      Reproductive inefficiency has a significant impact on the economic performance of both dairy and beef herds, particularly in seasonal calving systems. Nutrition plays a fundamental role in reproduction. Furthermore, there is emerging evidence that supplemental dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may increase cow fertility independent of their role as energy substrates. A number of studies have reported enhanced reproductive performance in dairy cows following dietary supplementation with sources of n-3 PUFA. However the possible mechanisms involved have not been identified and there is some inconsistency in the published literature on this topic. The objective of the research reported was to conduct a holistic examination of the effects of dietary long-chain n-3 PUFA supplementation on metabolic and reproductive responses in cattle. Such information is essential for the appropriate formulation of diets to enhance cow reproductive performance and in particular embryo survival.
    • Studies relating to protein expression in the uterus of the cow

      Costello, L.M.; Hynes, A.C.; Diskin, Michael G.; Sreenan, J.M.; Morris, Dermot G. (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      Embryo loss is a major cause of reproductive wastage in the cow. The majority of embryo loss occurs in the first 16 days after fertilisation when the embryo is critically dependent on the maternal uterine environment for survival. Despite the central role of uterine fluid in the normal growth and development of the embryo, there is limited information on the protein composition of these fluids. The main objectives of the studies in this thesis were to examine the protein composition of the bovine uterus during the oestrous cycle and to examine the relationship between the concentration of systemic progesterone and uterine protein expression in the cow. In the first study, the concentration of retinol-binding protein (RBP) in the bovine uterus was found to vary across the cycle and was 5-15-fold higher (P<0.001) on Day 15 than Days 3, 7 and 11. Additionally, the concentration of uterine RBP seems to be regulated in a local manner as the concentration in the uterine horn ipsilateral to the corpus luteum (CL) was more than 2-fold higher (P<0.001) than the contralateral horn on Day 15. This indicates that RBP is possibly regulated by a local increase in the concentration of progesterone. Uterine and plasma concentrations of RBP were similar on days 3 to 11, however, uterine RBP concentrations were 6-15 fold higher than blood plasma RBP concentrations on day 15. This shows evidence of active transport and/or synthesis of proteins into the uterus which previously were thought to be due to transduation of plasma. There was no relationship between the concentration of systemic progesterone and concentration of RBP on day 7 (P>0.05) of the cycle, which was surprising given that previous studies have indicated that uterine RBP gene expression was positively associated with the concentration of systemic progesterone. In the second study, IGF binding protein 2 (IGFBP-2), IGFBP-3, IGFBP-4 and IGFBP-5 were identified in uterine fluid on days 3, 7, 11 and 15 of the oestrous cycle. There was a local effect on the concentration of IGFBPs where the concentration was greater on the ipsilateral side than that on the contralateral side for IGFBP-2 (P<0.05), 3 (P<0.01) and 5 (P<0.01) on day 15. This difference is a further indication of a local controlling mechanism regulating proteins between the uterine horns. Similar to RBP expression this study could find no significant relationship between the concentration of systemic progesterone and IGFBP concentrations on Day 7 of the oestrous cycle. In the third study, changes in the global pattern of uterine proteins between Days 3 and Day 15 of the oestrous cycle were examined using two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE). Six proteins were found to be upregulated on Day 15 compared to Day 3. Three proteins of these were identified as aldose reductase, plakoglobin and heat shock protein 27 while the other three proteins were identified as bovine serum albumin. Aldose reductase, an enzyme directly involved in the production of sorbitol and indirectly of fructose, was 10-fold higher (P<0.0001) on Day 15 compared to Day 3. Plakoglobin (Pg) was upregulated 2.3-fold (P<0.0001) on Day 15 compared to Day 3. Pg is a component of cellular junctions and its up-regulation may have a role in the uterine glandular epithelium. Heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) was higher on Day 15 than on Day 3 (P<0.01) and Hsp27 was 1.4-fold higher in the ipsilateral compared to the contralateral uterine horn (P<0.01). Hsp27 may be secreted in response to potential stresses in the uterus or act as a molecular chaperone. On Day 7 there was no difference (P<0.05) in the pattern of proteins secreted between cows with low (2.7±0.10ng/ml) and high (4.8±0.13 ng/ml) concentrations of systemic progesterone on Day 7. The results of these studies have shown that dramatic changes occur in protein expression across the bovine oestrous cycle. Additionally, it emphasises the need for gene studies to be followed with protein studies as an adjunct or complementary tool. Proteins have a wide range of essential roles in the uterus and together these studies provide novel information on protein expression in the uterus of the cow.
    • A study of the somatic cell count (SCC) of Irish milk from herd management and environmental perspectives

      O'Brien, Bernadette; Berry, Donagh; Kelly, Philip; Meaney, William J; O'Callaghan, Edmond J (Teagasc, 2009-12-01)
      The objective of this study was to investigate the herd management practices associated with somatic cell count (SCC) and total bacteria count (TBC), to geographically analyse SCC on a national basis, to investigate cow factors associated with SCC and to estimate the milk loss associated with high SCC across parities. From the 400 farms surveyed during farm visits throughout spring and winter, a profile of herd management was developed and the associations between management practices and milk SCC and TBC were established. Management practices associated with low SCC included the use of dry cow therapy, participation in a milk recording scheme, the use of teat disinfection post-milking, a higher frequency of cleaning and increased farm hygiene. Management practices associated with low TBC included the use of heated water in the milking parlour, participation in a milk recording scheme, tail clipping of cows at a frequency greater than once per year and increased farm hygiene. The spatial analysis showed that the south of the country had the greatest density of milk-recording herds. Approximately 60% of all herds in the study were from four counties (Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary). Average bulk tank SCC increased from 110,264 cells/mL in 2003 to 118,782 cells/mL in 2005, followed by a decrease to 108,454 cells/mL in 2007. Spatial clustering of high SCC scores was not observed (i.e., SCC on one farm was not related to SCC on other farms), which is consistent with mastitis being a herd problem as opposed to an area-based problem. SCC increased with parity from 97,000 cells/mL in parity 1 to 199,000 cell/mL in parity 6. SCC decreased between the period 5 to 35 days in milk (DIM) and 36 to 65 DIM, and increased thereafter. Cows calving in the months of January and September were associated with lower average 305 day SCC. The rate of increase in SCC from mid to late lactation was greatest in older parity animals. There was a test day milk loss of 1.43, 2.08, 2.59, 2.56 and 2.62 litres (parities 1 to 5, respectively) associated with an increase of SCC category from <51,000 to >400,000 cells/mL. When SCC was adjusted (test day SCC/dilution estimate, and test day SCC + (-ß)(test day milk yield)) to account for milk yield, similar trends in milk loss were observed. Alternatively, adjusting SCC (SCC*test day milk yield/mean test day milk yield) to account for milk yield showed an increase in test day milk with increasing SCC category. The results from this study highlight that adherence to best milking/farming practice will help reduce SCC and TBC on farms. The results contribute to the knowledge relating to SCC through increasing the accuracy of milk loss due to SCC and management practices associated with SCC. The results in the study can also be used in the development of strategies to reduce SCC on farms.
    • A Study of Time and Labour Use on Irish Suckler Beef Farms

      Fallon, R.J.; Leahy, H.; O’Riordan, Edward G.; Ruane, D. (Teagasc, 2006-01-01)
      Labour is one of the four factors of production and an increasingly costly and scarce input on farms. The attractiveness of non-farming employment, the nature of farm work and the price received for farm outputs are resulting in falling levels of hired and family labour.
    • Suckler Bulls Slaughtered at 15 Months of Age: Effect of Different Production Systems on the Fatty Acid Profile and Selected Quality Characteristics of Longissimus Thoracis

      Moran, Lara; Wilson, Shannon S.; McElhinney, Cormac K.; Monahan, Frank J.; McGee, Mark; O'Sullivan, Maurice G.; O'Riordan, Edward G.; Kerry, Joseph P.; Moloney, Aidan; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (MDPI AG, 2019-07-18)
      The objective was to compare the quality of beef from bulls reared in typical Irish indoor systems or in novel grass-based systems. Bulls were assigned to one of the following systems: (a) grass silage plus barley-based concentrate ad libitum (CON); (b) grass silage ad libitum plus 5 kg of concentrate (SC); (c) grazed grass without supplementation (G0); (d) grazed grass plus 0.5 kg of the dietary dry matter intake as concentrate (GC) for (100 days) until slaughter (14.99 months). Carcass characteristics and pH decline were recorded. Longissimus thoracis was collected for analytical and sensory analysis. Lower carcass weight, conformation and fatness scores were found for grazing compared to CON and SC groups. CON bulls had highest intramuscular fat and lighter meat colour compared with grazing bulls. The SC meat (14 days aged) was rated higher for tenderness, texture, flavour and acceptability compared with grazing groups. CON saturated and monounsaturated fatty acid (FA) concentration was highest, conversely, omega-3 FA concentration was higher for GC compared with CON, while no differences were found in polyunsaturated FA. In conclusion, while market fatness specification was not reached by grazed grass treatments, beef eating quality was not detrimentally affected and nutritional quality was improved.
    • A survey of biosecurity-related practices, opinions and communications across dairy farm veterinarians and advisors

      Sayers, Riona; Good, Margaret; Sayers, Gearoid (Elsevier, 2014-02-25)
      Biosecurity at farm-level can often be poorly implemented, and lack of information has been cited by many studies as a potential explanation. Veterinary practitioners (VPs) and dairy advisors (DAs) play a central role in the provision of animal health and management services to dairy farmers. The objective of this study was to document and compare biosecurity-related practices and opinions across VPs and DAs in Ireland. A selection of veterinary experts (VEs) from outside of Ireland was also surveyed. Questionnaires were completed and response rates of 47% (VPs), 97% (DAs), and 65% (VEs) were achieved. Significant differences were identified in the promotion and implementation of biosecurity between VPs and DAs, with a higher proportion of VPs regularly receiving requests from (P = 0.004), and dispensing advice to (P < 0.0001), their farm clients. Communication between DAs and VPs was sub-optimal with over 60% of each group not in regular communication with each other. With regard to the main farmer motivation for biosecurity implementation, the majority of VPs (62%) prioritised external factors such as ‘economic benefit’ and ‘mandatory obligation’, while the majority of DAs prioritised health/animal-related factors (69%), which were similar to those of farmers (83.1%), although they remained significantly less likely (OR = 1.8) than farmers to choose such motivators (P = 0.005). Inconsistencies in the implementation of, and in opinions relating to, farm biosecurity were highlighted across all the groups surveyed emphasising the need for standardised information and improved communication.
    • A survey of fertilizer use from 2001-2003 for grassland and arable crops

      Coulter, B.S.; Murphy, W.E.; Culleton, Noel; Quinlan, G.; Connolly, Liam (Teagasc, 2005-07-01)
      Farm management data for the years 2001-2003 from the Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) were used as the basis for this fertilizer use survey. The farms which took part in the survey were randomly selected to represent the major farm systems and sizes using information from the CSO Census of Agriculture 2000. Farms were classified into 6 main farm systems namely: dairying, dairying with other enterprises, cattle rearing, cattle with other systems, mainly sheep and tillage systems. These systems refer to the dominant enterprise in each group.
    • Survival characteristics of monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium 4,[5],12:i:- strains derived from pig feed ingredients and compound feed

      Burns, Ann Marie; Duffy, Geraldine; Walsh, Des; Tiwari, Brijesh K; Grant, Jim; Lawlor, Peadar G; Gardiner, Gillian E.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; 2011010 (Elsevier, 2015-12-09)
      The presence of Salmonella in animal feed or feed ingredients at the feed mill or on-farm is a cause for concern, as it can be transmitted to food-producing animals and subsequently to humans. The objective of this study was to determine the survival characteristics of five feed ingredient- and feed-derived monophasic Salmonella Typhimurium 4,[5],12:i:- strains. The first part of the study investigated thermal inactivation using an immersed heating coil apparatus. A Weibull model provided a good fit, with low RMSE values (0.04–0.43) and high R2 values (0.93–0.99) obtained. There was considerable inter-strain variation in heat resistance, with D-values ranging from 397.83 to 689 s at 55 °C, 11.35–260.95 s at 60 °C and 1.12 to 6.81 at 65 °C. Likewise, z-values ranged from 2.95 to 5.44 °C. One strain demonstrated a significantly higher thermal tolerance, even though it had been isolated from a meal feed. However, overall the strains investigated do not appear to be that much more heat resistant than Salmonella previously studied. The second part of this study involved assessing the ability of the five Salmonella strains to survive during storage over a 28-day period in pelleted weaner pig feed treated with 0.3% sodium butyrate. While a mean reduction in the Salmonella count of 0.79 log10 CFU was seen in the treated feed during the storage period, a reduction (albeit only 0.49 log10 CFU) was also observed in the control feed. Although there was no overall effect of treatment, sodium butyrate resulted in reductions in Salmonella counts of 0.75 and 0.22 log10 CFU at days 14 and 24 of feed storage, respectively but at the end of the 28-day storage period counts were 0.25 log10 CFU higher in the treated feed. Therefore, the sodium butyrate used appears unsuitable as an agent for feed treatment perhaps due to the protective coating on the particular feed additive used. Overall, the results of this study enhance knowledge about the behaviour and survival characteristics of monophasic S. Typhimurium 4,[5],12:i:- strains in animal feed and may assist the feed industry and pig producers in implementing effective intervention strategies for their control.
    • Symposium review: Intramammary infections—Major pathogens and strain-associated complexity

      Keane, Orla M (Elsevier, 2019-03-01)
      Intramammary infection (IMI) is one of the most costly diseases to the dairy industry. It is primarily due to bacterial infection and the major intramammary pathogens include Escherichia coli, Streptococcus uberis, and Staphylococcus aureus. The severity and outcome of IMI is dependent on several host factors including innate host resistance, energy balance, immune status, parity, and stage of lactation. Additionally, the infecting organism can influence the host immune response and progression of disease. It is increasingly recognized that not only the infecting pathogen species, but also the strain, can affect the transmission, severity, and outcome of IMI. For each of 3 major IMI-associated pathogens, S. aureus, Strep. uberis, and E. coli, specific strains have been identified that are adapted to the intramammary environment. Strain-dependent variation in the host immune response to infection has also been reported. The diversity of strains associated with IMI must be considered if vaccines effective against the full repertoire of mammary pathogenic strains are to be developed. Although important advances have been made recently in understanding the molecular mechanism underpinning strain-specific virulence, further research is required to fully elucidate the cellular and molecular pathogenesis of mammary adapted strains and the role of the strain in influencing the pathophysiology of infection. Improved understanding of molecular pathogenesis of strains associated with bovine IMI will contribute to the development of new control strategies, therapies, and vaccines. The development of enabling technologies such as pathogenomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics can facilitate system-level studies of strain-specific molecular pathogenesis and the identification of key mediators of host-pathogen interactions.