• Do weaner pigs need in-feed antibiotics to ensure good health and welfare?

      Diana, Alessia; Manzanilla, Edgar G.; Calderón Díaz, Julia A.; Leonard, Finola C.; Boyle, Laura (PLOS, 2017-10-05)
      Antibiotics (AB) are used in intensive pig production systems to control infectious diseases and they are suspected to be a major source of antibiotic resistance. Following the ban on AB use as growth promoters in the EU, their prophylactic use in-feed is now under review. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of removing prophylactic in-feed AB on pig health and welfare indicators. Every Monday for six weeks, a subset of 70 pigs were weaned, tagged and sorted into two groups of 35 pigs according to weight (9.2 ± 0.6 kg). AB were removed from the diet of one group (NO, n=6) and maintained in the other group (AB, n=6) for nine weeks. Ten focal pigs were chosen per group. After c. five weeks each group was split into two pens of c.17 pigs for the following 4 weeks. Data were recorded weekly. Skin, tail, ear, flank and limb lesions of focal pigs were scored according to severity. The number of animals per group affected by health deviations was also recorded. The number of fights and harmful behaviours (ear, tail bites) per group was counted during 3×5min observations once per week. Data were analysed using mixed model equations and binomial logistic regression. At group level, AB pigs were more likely to have tail (OR=1.70; P=0.05) but less likely to have ear lesions than NO pigs (OR=0.46; P<0.05). The number of ear bites (21.4±2.15 vs. 17.3±1.61; P<0.05) and fights (6.91±0.91 vs. 5.58±0.72; P=0.09) was higher in AB than in NO pigs. There was no effect of treatment on health deviations and the frequency of these was low. Removing AB from the feed of weaner pigs had minimal effects on health and welfare indicators.
    • Do-it-yourself milk recording as a viable alternative to supervised milk recording in Ireland

      Berry, Donagh P.; Burke, M.; O'Keeffe, M.; O'Connor, P.; Irish Holstein-Friesian Association (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      The objective of the current study was to determine the feasibility of do-it-yourself (DIY) milk recording in commercial Irish dairy herds as well as the accuracy of predicting 24-h milk production and somatic cell count from part-day samples. The data consisted of 3,850 testday records from 1,565 cows across 23 herds in southern Ireland. Observed part-day and 24-h milk yield and composition were in accordance with previously reported observations in Ireland. Accurate prediction of 24-h milk, fat and protein yield was achieved using either AM or PM samples incorporated within prediction equations. Prediction of daily somatic cell count (SCC) was less accurate although the sensitivity and specificity of predicted daily SCC at identifying true daily SCC ≥ 200,000 was high. The accuracy of predicting 24-h fat and protein yield was augmented when two consecutive milk weights, simultaneous with one milk composition, were included in the prediction equation. Minimal effect on accuracy was observed when two milk weights were included in the prediction model for daily SCC. Thus, AM or PM SCC alone are as good, if not better, an indicator of daily SCC than predicted daily SCC using prediction equations. Milking interval defined as individual cowtestday interval measured in minutes fitted the data better than individual cow-testday interval rounded to the nearest half-hour, which was in turn superior to average herdtestday interval and average herd interval. Hence, results from this study suggest DIY milk recording is a viable alternative to supervised milk recording in Ireland.
    • Does iodine supplementation of the prepartum dairy cow diet affect serum immunoglobulin G concentration, iodine, and health status of the calf?

      Conneely, Muireann; Berry, Donagh P.; Sayers, Riona; Murphy, J. P.; Doherty, M. L.; Lorenz, I.; Kennedy, Emer (Elsevier for American Dairy Science Association, 2014-08)
      Absorption of adequate IgG from colostrum is critical to provide the newborn calf with adequate immunological protection and resistance to disease. Excessive iodine supplementation of the prepartum ewe reduces IgG absorption of her offspring; it is possible that excessive iodine supplementation of the prepartum dairy cow may similarly impair the ability of the calf to acquire immunological protection. The objectives of this study were to determine whether the iodine status, health status, and ability of calves to absorb IgG from colostrum were affected by prepartum iodine supplementation strategies of their dams. Dairy cows (n = 127) received one of the following levels of iodine supplementation precalving: 15 mg of iodine/kg of dietary dry matter (DM) (HI); no additional iodine supplementation (MI); 5 mg/kg of dietary DM (SI); and 15 mg of iodine/kg of DM for the first 3.5 wk of the precalving period and no additional supplementation for the second 3.5 wk (HMI). Calves were assigned to 1 of 6 experimental treatments, based on the prepartum iodine supplementation treatment of their dam and the precalving treatment group of the cows from which the colostrum fed was obtained: (1) HI_HI: born to HI dams, fed HI colostrum (i.e., colostrum produced by cows in the HI group); (2) MI_MI: born to MI dams, fed MI colostrum; (3) SI_SI: born to SI dams, fed SI colostrum; (4) HI_MI: born to HI dams, fed MI colostrum; (5) MI_HI: born to MI dams, fed HI colostrum; and (6) HMI_HMI: born to HMI dams, fed HMI colostrum. Concentration of calf serum IgG and plasma inorganic iodine (PII) was measured at 0 and 24 h of age. Apparent efficiency of absorption for IgG was determined. Health scores were assigned to calves twice weekly and all episodes of disease were recorded. Cow experimental treatment group affected calf PII at 0 h of age; the PII of calves born to HI dams (987.2 µg/L) was greater than that of calves born to MI dams (510.1 µg/L), SI (585.2 µg/L), and HMI dams (692.9 µg/L). Calf experimental treatment group affected calf PII at 24 h of age; the PII of HI_HI (1,259.2 µg/L) and HI_MI (1,177.8 µg/L) calves was greater than MI_MI (240.7 µg/L), SI_SI (302.2 µg/L), HMI_HMI (320.7 µg/L), and MI_HI (216.3 µg/L) calves. No effect of experimental treatment was observed on the concentration of IgG measured in calf serum at 24 h of age, or on apparent efficiency of absorption. Experimental treatment had no effect on the likelihood of a calf being assigned a worse nasal, eye and ear, cough, or fecal score within the study period, nor did it affect the probability of a calf receiving treatment for a disease a greater number of times. Prepartum iodine supplementation of cows at 15mg/kg of DM increased the iodine levels in their calves at birth and 24 h of age, but did not affect their ability to absorb IgG from colostrum. Supplementation with iodine above the minimum requirements established by the National Research Council was unnecessary to ensure appropriate iodine levels in calves at birth.
    • The duration of the outdoor rearing period of pigs influences Iberian ham characteristics

      Carrapiso, A.I.; Jurado, Á.; Martin, L.; Garcia, C. (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2007)
      The effect of outdoor rearing duration (75 v 50 days) and rearing system (outdoor v indoor based systems) of Iberian pigs on the chemical composition (fatty acid composition of fat and intramuscular fat, moisture, salt, pigment concentrations and water activity of lean meat), the instrumental colour (CIEL*a*b* system) and the sensory characteristics (descriptive analysis) of dry-cured hams were investigated. The fatty acid composition of subcutaneous fat was weakly affected by outdoor rearing duration, but greatly affected by rearing system with the indoor hams showing larger proportion of saturated fatty acids than outdoor rearing. Rearing system also affected L* of subcut aneous fat (the indoor hams were lighter than the outdoor ones). The instrumental colour of lean was only affected by outdoor rearing duration (scores for a* and its derived variables were larger in the long-outdoor group than in the short-outdoor one). The effect of outdoor rearing duration on the sensory characteristics of Iberian hams was marked, 13 sensory characteristics being affected. Among them, odour intensity, flavour intensity, and flavour persistence were greater in the long-outdoor hams than in the short-outdoor ones, whereas these characteristics were not affected by rearing system. However, rearing system also had a large effect influencing 12 sensory characteristics.
    • The dynamic influence of the DRB1*1101 allele on the resistance of sheep to experimental Teladorsagia circumcincta infection

      Hassan, Musa; Good, Barbara; Hanrahan, James P; Campion, Deirdre P; Sayers, Gearoid; Mulcahy, Grace; Sweeney, Torres; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Biomed Central, 2011-03-08)
      Suffolk sheep carrying the DRB1*1101 (previously referred to as-DRB1*0203 or G2) allele have been reported to show increased resistance to natural Teladorsagia circumcincta infection compared to non-carriers. The objective of this study was to compare the biochemical and physiological responses of DRB1*1101 carrier and non-carrier twin lambs to an experimental infection with 3 × 104 L3 Teladorsagia circumcincta. The variables studied included worm burden, faecal egg count, abomasal mast cells, IgA, IgE, IgG1 plus IgG2 and haematological parameters at 0, 3, 7, 21 and 35 days post infection (dpi), and duodenal smooth muscle contractility at 0 and 35 dpi. DRB1*1101 carrier lambs had significantly lower worm burden, higher mast cell and plasma platelet counts than the DRB1*1101 non-carriers (P < 0.05). Before infection, the non-carrier lambs exhibited significantly higher mucosal levels of all antibody isotypes measured compared to the carriers; these levels remained relatively stable over the course of infection in the non-carriers while there was a slow build up of these antibodies in the carriers up to day 21 post infection (pi). The DRB1*1101 non-carrier lambs had a significantly higher plasma lymphocyte count, and produced greater duodenal contractile force relative to the carrier lambs (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference between genotypes in the level of plasma eosinophils, monocytes, neutrophils or FEC. This evidence suggests that resistance conferred by DRB1*1101 is acquired rather than innate, depends on worm expulsion rather than fecundity and is dependent on mucosal mast cell proliferation, platelet activation, and IgA and IgE antibody responses.
    • The eating quality of beef from young dairy bulls derived from two breed types at three ages from two different production systems

      Nian, Yingqun; Kerry, J. P.; Prendiville, Robert; Allen, Paul; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 08/07/2017)
      Expansion of the Irish dairy herd has led to more dairy breed male calves being available for beef production. This study investigated the physico-chemical and sensory characteristics of beef from Holstein-Friesian (HF) and Jersey × HF (JEX) young bulls fed pasture grass only or pasture grass plus 2 kg concentrate during their first grazing season and slaughtered at 15, 19 or 22 mo of age. Longissimus thoracis (LT) muscles were collected from 67 carcasses. Postmortem pH, ultimate pH (pHu), meat colour, chemical composition, collagen content and solubility were evaluated. After ageing for 21 d, Warner-Bratzler shear force and cooking loss were determined, and assessments by a trained sensory panel were conducted. Meat from older animals was darker. The pHu, moisture and ash contents decreased, while residual roast beef flavour length increased with age. However, increasing age to slaughter did not negatively influence tenderness. JEX beef had lower cooking loss, was darker and redder, in addition to having higher sensory scores for initial tenderness and fattiness than HF beef. Warner-Bratzler variables were positively correlated with cooking loss and chewiness and were negatively correlated with intramuscular fat (IMF) content, soluble collagen and initial tenderness. In summary, most young dairy bull beef samples were acceptably tender after 21 d of ageing and half of them had acceptable IMF content. Slaughter age affected beef colour, pHu, chemical composition and flavour length. The eating quality of meat from the JEX breed type was considered to be superior to that of the HF breed type. Diet during the first season had no effect on meat quality traits.
    • An economic analysis of the Irish milk quota exchange scheme.

      Hennessy, Thia; Lapple, Doris; Shalloo, Laurence; Wallace, Michael (Institute of Agricultural Management, 2012-03)
      In Ireland, the trade of milk quota is subject to regional restrictions and a large variation in quota prices between regions has caused some controversy. This article investigates this issue by analysing the functioning of the Irish milk quota exchange market. For this purpose, the economic value of milk quota is estimated using an optimisation framework. The estimated values are then compared to milk quota prices paid at the exchange market. The analysis reveals that quota is undervalued in the border, midlands and west and south-west regions, while milk quota is overvalued in the east and south regions. This implies that farmers in certain regions overpay for additional quota, while other farmers secure good value for their quota investments. The paper concludes by discussing that the identified regional differences are only partly explained by economic and production factors.
    • The economics of reseeding on a dairy farm

      Shalloo, Laurence; Creighton, P.; O'Donovan, Michael (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2011)
      Herbage production and utilization on Irish dairy farms is well below its potential. A number of factors influence herbage production and utilization, not least the level of annual reseeding (introduction of a new grass ley) on the farm. The potential farm performance is reduced by old permanent pasture due to the combined effects of reduced out-of-season herbage production and lower overall herbage yield when compared to perennial ryegrass. Based on the sales of grass seed, it is estimated that approximately 2% of the land area on dairy farms in Ireland is reseeded annually. This has created a situation where the overall percentage of perennial ryegrass in sward is low. The objective of the present study was to investigate the economic benefits of reseeding through simulating the consequences of reseeding different proportions of the farm on an annual basis. Four levels of an annual reseeding programme were evaluated: 1%, 5%, 10% and 15% of the farm reseeded annually; evaluated at three milk prices (20 c/L, 27c/L and 33 c/L). Increasing the level of reseeding resulted in an increase in total and seasonal herbage production and, when accompanied by an increased stocking rate, increased herbage utilization. At a milk price of 27 c/L, farm profitability was €20 764, €24 794, €30 073 and €33 515 on a 40 ha farm when 1%, 5%, 10% and 15%, respectively, of the farm was reseeded annually. Irrespective of milk price, increasing the level of reseeding had a positive effect on profitability and the highest gain was achieved at the highest milk price. Sensitivity analysis showed that sward persistency and, to a lesser extent, herbage utilization had significant effects on the benefit from reseeding.
    • Effect of abrupt weaning at housing on leukocyte distribution, functional activity of neutrophils, and acute phase protein response of beef calves

      Lynch, Eilish M; Earley, Bernadette; McGee, Mark; Doyle, Sean; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme; John and Pat Hume Scholarship (Biomed Central, 2010-07-22)
      Background: Sixteen, spring-born, single suckled, castrated male calves of Limousin × Holstein-Friesian and Simmental × Holstein-Friesian dams respectively, were used to investigate the effect of weaning on total leukocyte and differential counts, neutrophil functional activity, lymphocyte immunophenotypes, and acute phase protein response. Calves grazed with their dams until the end of the grazing season when they were housed in a slatted floor shed. On the day of housing, calves were assigned to a treatment, (i) abruptly weaned (W: n = 8) or (ii) non-weaned (controls) (C: n = 8). Weaned calves were housed in pens without their dams, whereas non-weaned (control) calves were housed with their dams. Blood was collected on day -7, 0 (housing), 2, 7, and 14 to determine total leukocyte and differential counts and concentration of fibrinogen and haptoglobin. Lymphocyte immunophenotypes were characterised using selected surface antigens (CD4+, CD8+, WC1+ (γδ T cells), MHC Class II+ lymphocytes), and the functional activities of neutrophils (surface expression of L-selectin (CD62L), phagocytic and oxidative burst activity) were investigated using flow cytometry. Results: Treatment × sampling time interactions (P < 0.05) were detected for total leukocyte and neutrophil counts, all lymphocyte subsets, mean fluorescence intensity of CD62L+ neutrophils, and percentage neutrophils performing phagocytosis. On d 2, total leukocyte and neutrophil count increased (P < 0.001), and percentage CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes, percentage phagocytic neutrophils, mean fluorescence intensity of CD62L+ neutrophils decreased (P < 0.05) in W compared with baseline (d 0), whereas they were unchanged (P > 0.05) in C. On d 2, percentage WC1+ lymphocytes decreased (P < 0.05), whereas percentage MHC class II+ lymphocytes increased (P < 0.05) in W and C, however the magnitude of change was greater in W than C. There were no treatment × sampling time interactions (P > 0.05) for monocyte, eosinophil, and basophil counts, percentage G1+ neutrophils, or percentage oxidative burst positive neutrophils. Conclusions: Abrupt weaning resulted in increased neutrophil counts and impaired trafficking and phagocytic function. Together with the changes in lymphocyte subsets, the results suggest that there was a greater transitory reduction in immune function at housing in abruptly weaned than non-weaned beef calves.
    • The effect of abrupt weaning of suckler calves on the plasma concentrations of cortisol, catecholamines, leukocyte, acute-phase proteins and in vitro interferon-gamma production

      Hickey, Mary-Clare; Drennan, Michael J; Earley, Bernadette; European Union (Teagasc, 2005-12-01)
      The objective of this study was to examine the effect of abrupt weaning (inclusive of social group disruption and maternal separation) on the physiological mediators of stress and measures of immune function. Thirty-eight male and 38 female continental calves were habituated to handling for two weeks prior to bleeding. Calves were blocked on sex, weight and breed of dam and randomly assigned, within block, to either a control (cows remain with calves) or abruptly weaned group (calves removed from cows). Animals were separated into the respective treatment groups at weaning (0 h). Calves were bled at – 168 h, 6 h (males only), 24 h, 48 h and 168 h post weaning. At each sampling time an observer scored the behavioural reaction of calves to sampling. Blood samples were analysed for cortisol, catecholamine concentrations (not sampled at –168 h) and in vitro interferon-gamma production, neutrophil :lymphocyte ratio and acute phase protein concentrations. All continuous data were analysed using a split-plot ANOVA, except that collected at 6 h, which was analysed using a single factor ANOVA model. The effects of weaning, calf sex and time and respective interactions were described. Disruption of the established social groups at 0 h, increased (p<0.001) the plasma cortisol concentration and neutrophil: lymphocyte ratio and reduced the leukocyte concentration (p<0.001) and the in vitro interferon-gamma response to the mitogen concanavalin-A (p<0.001) and keyhole limpet haemocyanin (p<0.001) for weaned and control animals, when compared with –168h. Plasma adrenaline and noradrenaline concentrations were not affected by group disruption. There was no effect of weaning or sex on calf behavioural reaction to handling during blood sampling. Plasma cortisol and adrenaline concentrations were not affected by weaning or sex. Plasma noradrenaline concentration was influenced by weaning x sex (p<0.05) and time x sex (p<0.05). The response increased for male calves with weaning and increased with each sampling time post weaning. For heifers the response was not affected by weaning and plasma concentrations decreased at 168 h post weaning. There was no effect of weaning or sex on leukocyte concentration. The neutrophils : lymphocyte ration increased post weaning (p<0.01) and was affected by sex (p<0.05). Weaning decreased (p<0.05) the in vitro interferon-gamma response to the antigen KLH. There was a time x weaning x sex (p<0.05) interaction for fibrinogen concentration but no effect of treatment on haptoglobin concentration. Abrupt weaning increased plasma cortisol and nor-adrenaline concentrations, which was accompanied by attenuation of in vitro interferon gamma production to novel mitogen and antigen complexes up to 7 days post weaning.
    • The effect of abrupt weaning of suckler calves on the plasma concentrations of cortisol, catecholamines, leukocyte, acute-phase proteins and in vitro interferon-gamma production.

      Hickey, Mary-Clare; Drennan, Michael J; Earley, Bernadette; European Union (Teagasc, 2005-12-01)
      The objective of this study was to examine the effect of abrupt weaning (inclusive of social group disruption and maternal separation) on the physiological mediators of stress and measures of immune function. Thirty-eight male and 38 female continental calves were habituated to handling for two weeks prior to bleeding. Calves were blocked on sex, weight and breed of dam and randomly assigned, within block, to either a control (cows remain with calves) or abruptly weaned group (calves removed from cows). Animals were separated into the respective treatment groups at weaning (0 h). Calves were bled at – 168 h, 6 h (males only), 24 h, 48 h and 168 h post weaning. At each sampling time an observer scored the behavioural reaction of calves to sampling. Blood samples were analysed for cortisol, catecholamine concentrations (not sampled at –168 h) and in vitro interferon-gamma production, neutrophil :lymphocyte ratio and acute phase protein concentrations. All continuous data were analysed using a split-plot ANOVA, except that collected at 6 h, which was analysed using a single factor ANOVA model. The effects of weaning, calf sex and time and respective interactions were described. Disruption of the established social groups at 0 h, increased (p<0.001) the plasma cortisol concentration and neutrophil: lymphocyte ratio and reduced the leukocyte concentration (p<0.001) and the in vitro interferon-gamma response to the mitogen concanavalin-A (p<0.001) and keyhole limpet haemocyanin (p<0.001) for weaned and control animals, when compared with –168h. Plasma adrenaline and noradrenaline concentrations were not affected by group disruption. There was no effect of weaning or sex on calf behavioural reaction to handling during blood sampling. Plasma cortisol and adrenaline concentrations were not affected by weaning or sex. Plasma noradrenaline concentration was influenced by weaning x sex (p<0.05) and time x sex (p<0.05). The response increased for male calves with weaning and increased with each sampling time post weaning. For heifers the response was not affected by weaning and plasma concentrations decreased at 168 h post weaning. There was no effect of weaning or sex on leukocyte concentration. The neutrophils : lymphocyte ration increased post weaning (p<0.01) and was affected by sex (p<0.05). Weaning decreased (p<0.05) the in vitro interferon-gamma response to the antigen KLH. There was a time x weaning x sex (p<0.05) interaction for fibrinogen concentration but no effect of treatment on haptoglobin concentration. Abrupt weaning increased plasma cortisol and nor-adrenaline concentrations, which was accompanied by attenuation of in vitro interferon gamma production to novel mitogen and antigen complexes up to 7 days post weaning.
    • Effect of age and nutrient restriction pre partum on beef suckler cow serum immunoglobulin concentrations, colostrum yield, composition and immunoglobulin concentration and immune status of their progeny

      McGee, Mark; Drennan, Michael J; Caffrey, Patrick J.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      The effect of cow age (multiparous (MP) v. primiparous (PP)) and nutritional restriction pre partum (grass silage ad libitum v. straw only ad libitum for the last 15 (s.d. 3.3) days of gestation) on cow serum immunoglobulin (Ig) concentration, on colostrum yield, composition and Ig concentration and on calf serum Ig concentrations (at ~8 and 48 h post partum) using spring-calving Limousin Holstein-Friesian cows and their progeny was studied over 3 years. The method of colostrum administration (stomach tube vs. assisted suckling within 1 h post partum) on calf immune status was also investigated. When feeding colostrum the target was to give each calf 50 mL per kg birthweight via stomach tube. Colostrum yield and Ig concentration were measured following administration of oxytocin and hand-milking of half (Experiments 1 and 2) or the complete udder (Experiment 3). Following an 8-h period after birth during which suckling was prevented a further colostrum sample was obtained. There was no significant difference in first milking colostrum Ig subclass concentrations between the within-quarter fractions or between the front and rear quarters of the udder in either MP or PP cows. Colostrum Ig subclass concentrations at second milking were 0.46 to 0.65 of that at first milking. Compared to MP cows offered silage, colostrum yield and the mass of colostrum IgG1, IgG2, IgM, IgA and total Ig produced was lower (P < 0.001) for PP cows and the mass of IgG1, IgM and total Ig produced was lower (P < 0.05) for MP cows offered straw. Calves from PP cows and MP cows offered straw had significantly lower serum IgG1 and total Ig concentrations at 48 h post partum than calves from MP cows offered silage but there was no difference (P > 0.05) between colostrum feeding methods. In conclusion, calves from PP cows and MP cows offered straw had a lower humoral immune status than those from MP cows offered grass silage.
    • Effect of autumn/spring nitrogen application date and level on dry matter production and nitrogen efficiency in perennial ryegrass swards

      O'Donovan, Michael; Delaby, L; Stakelum, G; Dillon, Pat; National Development Plan 2000–2006 (Teagasc, 2004)
      The influence of autumn/spring N-application date and level on grass dry matter (DM) production in spring and on N uptake, recovery and efficiency were examined over 3 years (1998, 1999 and 2000, identified as Year 1, 2 and 3, respectively). Seven N-application dates were investigated in years 2 and 3 while four application dates were investigated in Year 1. The application dates were 21 October (T1), 11 November (T2), 2 December (T3), 23 December (T4), 12 January (T5), 3 February (T6) and 23 February (T7). Three N-application rates (kg N/ha) were used: 30 (N30), 60 (N60) and 90 (N90) plus a zero-N control (N0). Herbage DM yields were determined on: 18 March (H1) and 8 April (H2). Two herbage masses (HM) (40 mm above ground level) at initial Napplication date were investigated: a high HM (HHM) of 500 kg DM/ha and a low HM (LHM) of 100 kg DM/ha. The HM at initial N-application date in Year 1 was HHM, in Year 2 LHM and in Year 3 both HHM and LHM. There was a significant effect of Year (P<0.001), HM (P<0.001), N-application date (P<0.001) and N level (P<0.001) on DM production at both H1 and H2. At H1 there was a significant interaction between N-application date and level for DM production. N-application date had a significant (P<0.001) effect on N recovery at both H1 and H2. The highest N recovery rate at the two harvest dates was at T5, while the lowest was at T1 and T2. At H1 and H2 there was a significant effect (P<0.001) of application date on response to applied N. The responses were 7.5, 8.0, 8.3, 12.0, 15.7, 7.3 and 5.6 (kg DM/kg N) (s.e. 1.88) for T1 to T7,respectively, at H1, while the corresponding values at H2 were 10.3, 8.7, 6.1, 15.2, 17.6,11.4 and 15.1 (s.e. 1.88). At H2 the response to applied N was 15.6, 11.5 and 9.1 (kg DM/kg N) for N30, N60 and N90, respectively (P<0.05). Regression analysis indicated that highest DM production was achieved with T5 for both H1 and H2 harvest dates, while the lowest responses were associated with T1, T2 and T3 application dates.
    • Effect of beef sire expected progeny difference for carcass conformation on live animal muscularity scores and ultrasonic muscle and fat depths, and on carcass classification and composition of their progeny

      Drennan, Michael J; McGee, Mark (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2008)
      The objective was to examine the effect of sire expected progeny difference (EPD) for carcass conformation score on the live animal and carcass traits of their progeny. In each of 4 years a Charolais sire of high and one of average EPD for carcass conformation score were mated to spring-calving suckler cows and the bull and heifer progeny were taken to slaughter at 455 (s.d. 25.2) and 607 (s.d. 29.5) days of age in 4 and 3 years, respectively. The difference in EPD between the sire EPD groups for carcass conformation and fat scores (scale 1 to 15), and carcass weight were, 0.45 units, −0.53 units and 9.7 kg, respectively. Muscularity scores were recorded at weaning (7 to 9 months of age) and pre-slaughter, and ultrasound measurements were recorded pre-slaughter. Carcass weight, and conformation and fat scores were recorded at slaughter and an 8-rib pistola from the right side of each carcass was dissected into lean, fat and bone. There was no significant effect of sire EPD group on live weight or carcass weight, but kill-out proportion, ultrasound muscle depth and the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation muscularity scores were greater (P < 0.001) for progeny of the high than the average EPD group. Bull progeny of high EPD sires had better (P < 0.001) Signet muscularity scores and carcass conformation scores than bull progeny from average EPD sires, whereas there was no effect of sire EPD group on heifer progeny. Compared to progeny of the average EPD sire group, those from the high EPD group had a lower weight of kidney and channel fat (P 0.06) and carcass fat score (P < 0.05), lower proportions of fat (P < 0.001) and bone (P < 0.01) in the pistola, and higher weight of pistola, both absolutely (P < 0.01) and relative to carcass weight (P < 0.05), higher proportions of lean and high-value cuts in the pistola and higher carcass value (P < 0.001). Linear regression analysis showed that a 1 unit increase in sire EPD for carcass conformation score increased (P < 0.01) carcass lean proportion by 19.4 g/kg. In conclusion, although sire EPD for carcass conformation score was reflected in the conformation score of intensively-reared bull progeny and not in extensively-reared heifer progeny, carcass lean proportion and carcass value were higher for both genders.
    • The effect of cereal type and feeding frequency on intake, rumen fermentation, digestibility, growth and carcass traits of finishing steers offered a grass silage-based diet

      Drennan, Michael J; McGee, Mark; Moloney, Aidan P (Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland, 2006)
      The effect of concentrate cereal type (rolled barley-based v. rolled wheat-based) and concentrate feeding frequency (one 6 kg feed v. two 3 kg feeds per day) on intake, rumen fermentation, diet digestibility and performance of finishing steers offered grass silage to appetite was evaluated over four experiments using a total of 154 animals. Not all four feeding treatments were used in each of the four experiments. The duration of the growth measurement period was 152, 112, 111 and 113 days for experiments 1 to 4, respectively, after which all animals were slaughtered. Dietary dry matter (DM) intake and in vivo digestibility, final live weight, kill-out proportion, carcass weight, carcass conformation score, carcass fat score and daily liveweight and estimated carcass gain were not affected (P > 0.05) by cereal type or feeding frequency. Cereal type or feeding frequency had no effect (P > 0.05) on feed conversion efficiency (FCE) expressed as either live-weight or carcass gain per unit DM intake. Neither mean rumen fluid pH or concentrations of ammonia or L-lactate were influenced by cereal type or feeding frequency. The mean molar proportion of propionate was higher and that of butyrate lower (P < 0.05) with wheat than with barley. Estimated carcass weight gain and FCE to carcass were similar for wheat based and barley-based concentrate as a supplement to grass silage offered either as one feed or two equal feeds daily.
    • Effect of concentrate feeding level in winter and turnout date to pasture in spring on biological and economical performance of weanling cattle in suckler beef production systems

      McGee, Mark; Drennan, Michael J; Crosson, Paul (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2014)
      Three experiments were carried out to determine the effects of supplementary concentrate feeding level (Low, LC; High, HC) to grass silage and/or turnout date to pasture in spring (Early, ET; Late, LT) for a second grazing season on performance to slaughter of spring-born, weaned beef calves (n = 188). Experiment 1 comprised of two concentrate levels (0.5 and 1.5 kg/day). Experiment 2 comprised of two turnout dates (19 March, 9 April). Experiment 3 comprised of two concentrate levels (0.5 kg and 2.0 kg/day) and two turnout dates (22 March, 12 April). In Experiment 1, live-weight gain during the indoor winter period was 25 kg higher (P < 0.001) for HC, whereas during the subsequent grazing season it was 17 kg higher (P < 0.05) for LC resulting in similar (P > 0.05) total live-weight gain for both treatments. In Experiment 2, live weight at turnout to pasture was 11 kg lower (P < 0.001) for ET than LT, whereas 8 days after late turnout, it was 15 kg lower (P < 0.01) for LT than ET. This difference in live weight was still evident 28 days later (P < 0.01) but not (P > 0.05), subsequently. In Experiments 1 and 2, live-weight gain during the finishing period and carcass weight, conformation and fat scores did not differ (P > 0.05) between the treatments. In Experiment 3, at turnout to pasture, HC were 35 kg heavier (P < 0.001) than LC, and ET were 12 kg lighter (P < 0.05) than LT, whereas 8 days after late turnout, ET were 13 kg heavier (P < 0.05) than LT. There was a concentrate level × turnout date interaction (P < 0.05) for live weight at the end of the grazing season, whereby the LC, LT treatment were lighter than the other treatments, which did not differ. Live weight at slaughter and carcass weight did not differ (P > 0.05) between the concentrate levels, whereas they were higher (P < 0.05) for ET than LT. Economic and stochastic analysis of Experiment 3 indicated that, in the context of whole-farm systems, (i) feeding HC was dependent on date of sale such that only where progeny were sold at the start of the second grazing season, net farm margin (NFM) was increased, (ii) ET only increased NFM where progeny were retained through to finish and, (iii) taking progeny through to finish was more profitable than selling earlier in the animals’ lifetime. In conclusion, subsequent compensatory growth at pasture diminishes the growth and economic advantage from concentrate supplementation or early turnout to pasture, of young late-maturing cattle.
    • Effect of concrete slats, three mat types and out-wintering pads on performance and welfare of finishing beef steers

      Earley, Bernadette; McNamara, John D; Jerrams, Stephen J; O’Riordan, Edward G. (Springer Nature, 2017-05-30)
      Background The objective was to investigate the effect of placing mats on concrete slatted floors on performance, behaviour, hoof condition, dirt scores, physiological and immunological variables of beef steers, and to compare responses with animals on out-wintering pads. Continental crossbred beef steers [n = 360; mean (±SD) initial live weight 539 kg (42.2)] were blocked by breed and live weight and randomly assigned to one of five treatments; (1) Concrete slats alone, (2) Mat 1 (Natural Rubber structure) (Durapak Rubber Products), (3) Mat 2 (Natural rubber structure) (EasyFix), (4) Mat 3 (modified ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) foam structure) and (5) Out-wintering pads (OWP’s). Results Animals on the OWPs had a greater (P < 0.05) live weight gain (P < 0.05) compared with the slat and Mat 2 treatments: results for Mat 1 and Mat 3 were the same (P > 0.05) as the other treatments. Animals on the OWPs had reduced lying percentage time compared with all the other treatments. Dry matter (DM) intake was greater for animals on the OWPs compared with all the other treatments. Carcass weight, kill out proportion, carcass fat score, carcass composition score, FCR and physiological responses were similar (P > 0.05) among treatments. No incidence of laminitis was observed among treatments. The number of hoof lesions was greater on all mat types (P < 0.05) compared with concrete slats and OWP treatments. Dirt scores were greater (P < 0.05) for animals on OWPs when measured on days 42, 84, 105, 126 and 150 compared with animals on slats. Conclusions Under the conditions adopted for the present study, there was no evidence to suggest that animals housed on bare concrete slats were disadvantaged in respect of animal welfare compared with animals housed on other floor types. It is concluded that the welfare of steers was not adversely affected by slats compared with different mat types or OWPs.
    • Effect of creep feeding, dietary fumaric acid and level of dairy product in the diet on post-weaning pig performance

      Lawlor, Peadar G; Lynch, P Brendan; Caffrey, Patrick J. (Teagasc (Agriculture and Food Development Authority), Ireland, 2005)
      Fumaric acid (FA), level of dairy product in the diet and creep feeding were evaluated in three experiments using individually fed pigs (weaned at ca. 21 days and weighing about 6 kg). They were assigned at random to treatments. In Experiment 1, the treatments were: (1) no pre-weaning creep and no FA post-weaning, (2) no pre-weaning creep and 20 g/kg FA post-weaning, (3) pre-weaning creep and no FA post-weaning, and (4) pre-weaning creep and 20 g/kg FA post-weaning. In Experiment 2, the treatments were: (1) 50 g/kg dried whey, (2) 50 g/kg whey with 20 g/kg FA, (3) 50 g/kg whey with 30 g/kg FA, (4) 200 g/kg whey, (5) 200 g/kg whey with 20 g/kg FA, (6) 200 g/kg whey with 30 g/kg FA. In Experiment 3, the treatments were: (1) high dairy product (whey plus skim milk powder) diet, (2) high dairy product diet with 20 g/kg FA, (3) low dairy product diet, (4) low dairy product diet with 20 g/kg FA. The number of pigs per treatment in Experiments 1, 2 and 3 was 16, 10 and 10, respectively. All diets contained barley, wheat, herring meal and full-fat soybean meal. In Experiment 1, FA inclusion increased intake (518 ν. 466, s.e.d. 21.5 g/day, P < 0.05), daily gain (339 ν. 280, s.e.d. 18.1 g/day, P < 0.01) and improved feed conversion rate (1.55 ν. 1.70, s.e.d. 0.06, P < 0.05) in the first 3 weeks post-weaning. In Experiment 2, there was no effect of treatment. In Experiment 3, increasing the level of dairy product in the diet increased feed intake (P = 0.06) and daily gain (P < 0.05) and improved feed conversion rate (P < 0.01). The conclusions are that FA improved post-weaning performance and that increasing the level of dairy products in postweaning diets also improved performance.
    • Effect of dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation on the transcriptional profile of bovine ruminal epithelium

      Keogh, Kate; Waters, Sinead M.; Cormican, Paul; Kelly, Alan K.; O'Shea, Emma; Kenny, David A.; Science Foundation Ireland; RFP/GEN2447 (PLOS, 2017-05-17)
      Compensatory growth (CG) is utilised worldwide in beef production systems as a management approach to reduce feed costs. However the underlying biology regulating the expression of CG remains to be fully elucidated. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of dietary restriction and subsequent re-alimentation induced CG on the global gene expression profile of ruminal epithelial papillae. Holstein Friesian bulls (n = 60) were assigned to one of two groups: restricted feed allowance (RES; n = 30) for 125 days (Period 1) followed by ad libitum access to feed for 55 days (Period 2) or (ii) ad libitum access to feed throughout (ADLIB; n = 30). At the end of each period, 15 animals from each treatment were slaughtered and rumen papillae harvested. mRNA was isolated from all papillae samples collected. cDNA libraries were then prepared and sequenced. Resultant reads were subsequently analysed bioinformatically and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) are defined as having a Benjamini-Hochberg P value of <0.05. During re-alimentation in Period 2, RES animals displayed CG, growing at 1.8 times the rate of their ADLIB contemporary animals in Period 2 (P < 0.001). At the end of Period 1, 64 DEGs were identified between RES and ADLIB, with only one DEG identified at the end of Period 2. When analysed within RES treatment (RES, Period 2 v Period 1), 411 DEGs were evident. Genes identified as differentially expressed in response to both dietary restriction and subsequent CG included those involved in processes such as cellular interactions and transport, protein folding and gene expression, as well as immune response. This study provides an insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the expression of CG in rumen papillae of cattle; however the results suggest that the role of the ruminal epithelium in supporting overall animal CG may have declined by day 55 of re-alimentation.
    • Effect of Dietary Restriction and Subsequent Re-Alimentation on the Transcriptional Profile of Bovine Skeletal Muscle

      Keogh, Kate; Kenny, David A.; Cormican, Paul; McCabe, Matthew S.; Kelly, Alan; Waters, Sinead M.; Science Foundation Ireland; 09/RFP/GEN/2447 (PLOS, 2016-02-12)
      Compensatory growth (CG), an accelerated growth phenomenon which occurs following a period of dietary restriction is exploited worldwide in animal production systems as a method to lower feed costs. However the molecular mechanisms regulated CG expression remain to be elucidated fully. This study aimed to uncover the underlying biology regulating CG in cattle, through an examination of skeletal muscle transcriptional profiles utilising next generation mRNA sequencing technology. Twenty Holstein Friesian bulls were fed either a restricted diet for 125 days, with a target growth rate of 0.6 kg/day (Period 1), following which they were allowed feed ad libitum for a further 55 days (Period 2) or fed ad libitum for the entirety of the trial. M. longissimus dorsi biopsies were harvested from all bulls on days 120 and 15 of periods 1 and 2 respectively and RNAseq analysis was performed. During realimentation in Period 2, previously restricted animals displayed CG, growing at 1.8 times the rate of the ad libitum control animals. Compensating animals were also more feed efficient during re-alimentation and compensated for 48% of their previous dietary restriction. 1,430 and 940 genes were identified as significantly differentially expressed (Benjamini Hochberg adjusted P < 0.1) in periods 1 and 2 respectively. Additionally, 2,237 genes were differentially expressed in animals undergoing CG relative to dietary restriction. Dietary restriction in Period 1 was associated with altered expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism and energy production. CG expression in Period 2 occurred in association with greater expression of genes involved in cellular function and organisation. This study highlights some of the molecular mechanisms regulating CG in cattle. Differentially expressed genes identified are potential candidate genes for the identification of biomarkers for CG and feed efficiency, which may be incorporated into future breeding programmes