Recent Submissions

  • A note on the fermentation characteristics of red clover silage in response to advancing stage of maturity in the primary growth

    King, Colman; McEniry, Joseph; O'Kiely, Padraig; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF 07 557 (Teagasc, 2012-12)
    This study investigated the silage fermentation characteristics of red clover (Trifolium pratense L., var. Merviot) harvested at five dates in the primary growth (at two week intervals from 12 May to 7 July). Despite the challenging herbage ensilability characteristics pre-ensiling [i.e. low dry matter (DM) concentration (142 to 178 g/kg), low water soluble carbohydrate concentration (51 to 118 g/kg DM) and high buffering capacity (552 to 639 mEq/kg DM], the silages preserved successfully and showed little evidence of clostridial activity (i.e. low concentration of butyric acid and ammonia-N). Stage of maturity at harvest had little effect on silage fermentation characteristics.
  • Application of data envelopment analysis to measure technical efficiency on a sample of Irish dairy farms

    Kelly, Eoin; Shalloo, Laurence; Geary, Una; Kinsella, Anne; Wallace, Michael (Teagasc, 2012-12)
    The aim of this study was to determine the levels of technical efficiency on a sample of Irish dairy farms utilizing Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) and to identify key management and production factors that differ between producers indentified as efficient and inefficient. DEA was used in this study to generate technical efficiency scores under assumptions of both constant returns to scale (CRS) and variable returns to scale (VRS). The average technical efficiency score was 0.785 under CRS and 0.833 under VRS. Key production characteristics of efficient and inefficient producers were compared using an analysis of variance. More technically efficient producers used less input per unit of output, had higher production per cow and per hectare and had a longer grazing season, a higher milk quality standard, were more likely to have participated in milk recording and had greater land quality compared to the inefficient producers.
  • A comparison of the feeding and grazing behaviour of primiparous Holstein-Friesian and Jersey × Holstein-Friesian dairy cows

    Vance, E.R.; Ferris, C.P.; Elliott, C.; Kilpatrick, D.J. (Teagasc, 2012-12)
    Food intake and feeding behaviour of Holstein-Friesian (HF) and Jersey × Holstein- Friesian (J × HF) dairy cows (14 primiparous cows of each genotype) were measured during a 54-day confinement period [cows offered a complete diet comprising conserved forage and concentrates; 66:34 dry matter (DM) basis], while herbage intakes and grazing behaviour were measured on three occasions during a 96-day grazing period. Throughout the experiment HF cows had a higher milk yield than J × HF cows (P < 0.05), while fat + protein yield was unaffected by genotype. During the confinement period HF cows had a higher food intake than the J × HF cows (P < 0.01), although DM intake/kg metabolic live weight (live weight0.75) was unaffected by genotype. With the exception of the number of ruminating bouts/day (P < 0.05), and idling time/day (P < 0.05), both of which were highest with the J × HF cows, genotype had no significant effect on any of the feeding behaviours examined during the confinement period. Herbage intake did not differ between genotypes during the grazing period, although when expressed on a kg live weight0.75 basis, intakes were highest with the J × HF cows (P < 0.05). While the smaller J × HF cows had fewer grazing bouts per day (P < 0.01), the mean duration of each grazing bout was longer (P < 0.001), resulting in a longer total grazing time (P < 0.05) and a greater number of grazing bites each day (P < 0.01). The smaller crossbred cows had to ‘work harder’ during the grazing period to achieve the same intakes as the larger HF cows.
  • Digestible lysine levels in low-protein diets supplemented with synthetic amino acids for nursery, growing, and finishing barrows

    Figueroa, J. L.; Estrada, J.; Zamora, V.; Cordero, J. L.; Sánchez-Torres, M. T.; Nieto, R.; Copado, J. M. F. (Teagasc, 2012-12)
    To investigate the effect of lysine level in low-protein diets (LPD) an experiment was conducted with 36 barrows fed 174, 140 and 118 g/kg of crude protein (CP), and three digestible lysine levels. Low-protein diets were supplemented with crystalline amino acids (AA) to the same concentration as in the standard CP diet. Growth performance, carcass characteristics and plasma urea nitrogen concentration were evaluated. In nursery pigs, the addition of lysine to LPD quadratically increased backfat thickness (BF; P < 0.01), longissimus muscle area (LMA; P < 0.001), and lean meat percentage (LMP; P < 0.05). In the growing phase, reducing dietary protein decreased average daily gain (ADG; P < 0.09), final body weight (BW; P < 0.09), fat free lean gain (FFLG; P < 0.09), and LMA (P < 0.038); and increased BF (P < 0.05). Addition of lysine to LPD quadratically increased ADG (P < 0.01), average daily feed intake (ADFI; P < 0.05), final BW (P < 0.006), and FFLG (P < 0.002). In the finishing period, pigs fed LPD had lower ADFI (P < 0.03) and feed:gain ratio (FGR; P < 0.003). Addition of lysine to LPD linearly increased BF (P < 0.04), and quadratically increased ADFI (P < 0.02), FGR (P < 0.009), BF (P < 0.08), and LMA (P < 0.08). The plasma urea nitrogen concentration was reduced (P < 0.05) in all phases in pigs fed LPD. Lysine requirement for fattening barrows fed LPD may be higher than the recommended concentration for standard CP diets.
  • Physical and mechanical properties of soil for ridge formation, ridge geometry and yield in new planting and ridge formation methods of potato production

    Vucajnk, F.; Vidrih, M.; Bernik, R. (Teagasc, 2012-12)
    In 2008 and 2009, a trial was performed to enhance the physical and mechanical properties of light soil for ridge formation, to increase the cross-sectional area of loose soil in the ridge, to improve the marketable yield and time efficiency, and to lower the percentage of green tubers. Three different planting and ridge formation methods applied to potato production were compared. The first method involved simultaneous planting and small ridge formation, followed by final ridge formation with a PTO-driven potato cultivator immediately before potato emergence (CL method). The second method combined planting and simultaneous final ridge formation (P+FR method), while, in the third method (BF+P+FR method), a special bed former attached to the front of a tractor that pushed the loose soil off the tractor wheels was used. The trial design was a randomised complete block with three repetitions. The BF+P+FR method produced the best physical and mechanical properties of the soil for ridge formation, while the CL method produced the poorest. Due to greater distance of the seed tuber from the ridge centre, the CL method resulted in the largest yield and percentage of green tubers. In comparison with the other two methods, the CL method gave a lower percentage of marketable tubers and a higher percentage of non-marketable tubers. Moreover, the BF+P+FR and P+FR methods were more time-efficient during planting and ridge formation than the CL method.
  • The capacity to expand milk production in Ireland following the removal of milk quotas

    Lapple, Doris; Hennessy, Thia (Teagasc, 2012-12)
    Given the imminent removal of milk quota in 2015, EU dairy farmers will be able to expand production without purchasing milk quota rights for the first time in 30 years. This paper uses Irish National Farm Survey data to simulate the expansion capacity of Irish dairy farms. Specifically, the likelihood of achieving the 50% increase in production target published in the Irish Government’s Food Harvest 2020 Report is explored. Potential milk output is estimated accounting for structural change and the economic viability of production under three price scenarios for 2020. In addition, the number of new entrants that would be required to meet the 50% target is calculated. The results indicate that the 50% output volume growth target set in the Food Harvest report will be difficult to achieve and that future potential milk output depends importantly on the rate of structural change and productivity growth as well as on real milk prices in 2020. A regional analysis reveals that relative to other regions, the south has the greatest expansion capacity. This suggests that quota removal could cause significant regional restructuring of milk production, which is likely to present some challenges to the dairy processing sector.