From 1998 to 2008, End-of-Project Reports for all completed Teagasc research projects were published. These were brief reports detailing the Objectives and Results of the project. They are collected here under the headings of the four Teagasc Research Programme areas (AGRIP, CELUP, FOOD, REDP. All the documents in this unique and valuable collection are free to download.

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  • Evaluation of the Effect of Tocopherols on the Stability of Biodiesel

    Frohlich, A. (Teagasc, 2005-04-01)
    A comprehensive study was carried out on the effects of naturally occurring tocopherols and carotenoids on the stability of biodiesel-grade methyl esters. Commercially available tocopherols and carotenoids, α-, γ- and δ-tocopherol, carotene and asthaxanthin, were added to destabilised methyl esters and the solutions were exposed to air at 65oC. The stabilising effect of the added tocopherols and carotenoids was determined from the number of days needed to reach the same increase of viscosity as destabilised methyl ester without tocopherols after 1 day. All three tocopherols stabilised methyl esters; γ- being the most effective and α- the least. The stabilising effect of tocopherols increased with concentration up to an optimum level. Concentrations above this level did not improve stability significantly. The stabilising effect of the tocopherols also depended on the composition of the methyl ester; they were most effective in tallow methyl ester, and had the least effect on sunflower methyl ester. Carotene and asthaxanthin had no effect on the stability of the methyl esters. However an unidentified carotenoid in rape methyl ester changed the oxidation pattern by reducing rates of peroxide and viscosity increase, without affecting overall stability.
  • Improving the Yield and Quality of Arable Crops in Organic Production Systems

    Crowley, J.G. (Teagasc, 2005-04-01)
    Ireland's ability to supply organic arable products to meet future market requirements depends on the provision of scientific quantitative information on the production of these crops. The conversion of an 8-ha site at Oak Park is described. The establishment of a single stockless 7-year rotation (wheat, potatoes, oats, legume, spring barley followed by two years’ grass/clover lea) with three replicates is described. The results of the first series of experiments are presented and the possible implications discussed.
  • Baled Silage - Development Of Reliable Baled Silage Systems

    O'Kiely, Padraig; Forristal, Dermot; Lenehan, J.J. (Teagasc, 1999-05-01)
    Baled silage is now made on two-thirds of all farms in Ireland, and accounts for one third of all silage made. It is particularly prevalent as the primary silage-making system on both beef farms and smaller-sized farms. However, it is also widespread as a second silage-making system on many other farms. The series of experiments contained in this report were conducted as part of a collaborative EU Structural Funds supported research project jointly carried out between the Teagasc research centres at Grange and Oak Park. Some of the research was also conducted in collaboration with the Botany Dept. at University College Dublin.
  • Maize silage for milk production - Part 2: Effect of concentrate quality and quantity fed withmaize silage based forages on milk production

    Fitzgerald, J.J.; Murphy, J.J.; Culleton, Noel (Teagasc, 1998-11-01)
    In some of the studies outlined in Part 1 of this report, mixed forages containing grass silage and a high proportion (60%) of maize silages varying in maturity and starch content were supplemented with concentrates at different levels to compare the response in milk production with a maize silage based forage and with good quality grass silage as the sole forage. The most suitable type of energy ingredient in the concentrate, i.e. high starch or low starch, high fibre ingredients, as supplements to maize silage based forages or grass silage was investigated. A range of levels of crude protein in the concentrate were examined in one study to determine the optimum level of crude protein in the supplement for maize silage based forages compared with grass silage.
  • Maize silage for milk production - Part 1: Effect of the quality of maize silage on milk

    Fitzgerald, J.J.; Murphy, J.J.; O'Mara, Frank P.; Culleton, Noel (Teagasc, 1998-11-01)
    Ensiled forage maize is an alternative or complementary forage to grass silage and is the main source of forage for ruminant livestock in many European countries. The growing of maize for silage was tried unsuccessfully in Ireland in the 1970’s, was resumed in the late 1980’s and is now well established in suitable areas in the south and east of Ireland. However, variation in growing conditions and summer radiation can result in considerable variation in the yield, maturity and feeding value of the crop from year to year and between regions or locations within years. A series of experiments were conducted at Moorepark and at Johnstown Castle Research Centre to evaluate the role of maize silage in the diet of lactating dairy cows, the effect of variation in the quality (starch content and digestibility) of maize silage, the proportion of maize silage in the forage and the effect of harvesting date of immature maize silage on feed intake, milk production and milk composition compared with an all grass silage based diet. Grass silages of moderate or high digestibility were used. These studies were carried out with cows in early or mid lactation or at both stages of lactation. The forages were supplemented with concentrates at low to moderate levels of feeding (4-7 kg/cow/day). The concentrates generally contained a high level of crude protein (220- 250 g CP/kg fresh weight) to balance the low level of crude protein in maize silage. The experiments were conducted over periods of 7-9 weeks.
  • Effect of grazing management on the maintenance of white clover

    Nolan, T.; Grennan, Eamonn J. (Teagasc, 1998-11-01)
    The objectives of the project were to compare different cultivar types and methods to establish and maintain them in reseeded and permanent pastures as a basis for efficient low cost sheep production. In Ireland only 3% of pastures are reseeded annually and permanent pastures rarely contain more than 5% white clover. Improved clover content offers benefits of higher lamb growth rate and reduced fertiliser N use. Comparisons under cutting conditions provided no basis for replacement of Grasslands Huia by the new cultivar Aberherald. Grasslands Huia established successfully following direct reseeding and rotational grazing by sheep. It established more quickly than Kentish and gave higher yield only in the first year. A mixture of small and medium size white clovers should be sown for sheep grazing. Increasing seeding rate from 2 to 4 kg per ha increased pasture clover content only in the first year. Grasslands Huia persisted quite well for up to 5 years under rotational sheep grazing. It also survived under continuous grazing but leaf size was reduced. Rotational grazing management with sheep increased the clover content of permanent pasture from under 2% to 4% over 2 years. Highest clover yields were achieved with rest intervals of 20 to 28 days. Simulated mixed sheep and cattle rotational grazing on permanent pasture resulted in intermediate (10 to 12%) clover dry matter contributions to total dry matter compared with cattle (15 to 18%) and sheep (5 to 8%). Lamb growth rate was about 35% higher when the clover content of the sward was increased from very low to about 35%.
  • A comparison of Charolais and beef X Friesian suckler cows.

    Drennan, Michael J; Fallon, Richard J. (Teagasc, 1998-10-01)
    The studies carried out included comparisons of Charolais and Beef x Friesian suckler cows in terms of voluntary silage intake, colostrum yield and immunoglobulin level, calf immunoglobulin level and cow milk yield in addition to animal production experiments. In all experiments the Charolais animals used were a minimum of 7/8 Charolais and were the result of an upgrading programme at Grange commencing with Charolais x Friesians. In the production experiments, only Hereford x Friesian cows (and their progeny) were compared with the Charolais while in all other experiments the Beef x Friesians included both Hereford x Friesians and Limousin x Friesians.
  • Reducing the seasonality of prime lamb production

    Grennan, Eamonn J. (Teagasc, 1998-10-01)
    Lambing part of the national lowland flock in April to late May has potential to reduce the seasonality of supply and extend the season for prime young lamb. This would, potentially, enhance ability to maintain and increase market share for Irish lamb. A farmlet system was operated over two years, with some 50 ewes on 4 ha of pasture. The objectives were: to assess the overall performance of a flock lambing in mid to late April : to monitor lamb growth rate and drafting patterns for lambs; to determine the changes in feed demand over the season; to identify any saving in feed costs, and any difficulties that may arise with late lambing. The feed demand over the grazing season differs from normal March lambing. A grass surplus tends to occur in April/May and a deficit in November/December, and this imbalance between supply and demand increases if lambing is in late May. The balance between feed demand and supply may be more easily achieved where sheep are combined with cattle or tillage. Results show that a late-lambing flock can be managed successfully on an all-grass farm. If lambing takes place from mid-April to late May, some lambs will finish off pasture in September/October. Remainder can be finished indoor on silage with concentrate supplementation for sale in October to February. Lambing from mid-April onwards allows ewes to be at pasture for 4 to 6 weeks pre-lambing and concentrate feeding to ewes pre or post lambing should not be necessary. However this saving on concentrate input is offset by the need for concentrates to finish lambs. Lamb growth rate on pasture to weaning will be somewhat lower than with March lambing, due to deterioration in pasture digestibility in mid-season. A high standard of grassland management is critical to maintain pastures leafy, in order to achieve high lamb growth rate pre and post weaning. Profitability will depend on supplying niche markets with younger lambs at premium prices.
  • Reduced Fungicide Inputs in Winter Wheat

    Dunne, B. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
    Nine trials were conducted over three years at three sites to evaluate the efficacy of reduced rates of various fungicide products for their biological efficacy in controlling stem, foliar and ear diseases of winter wheat as well as their effects on yield and grain quality, and to compare the relative profitability of full and reduced rates of fungicides. The results show that the use of half rates can give an economic benefit over that of full rates in many situations. In circumstances where variety or seasonal factors resulted in low to moderate foliar disease pressure the use of half rates gave similar yields to that of full rates. Where foliar disease pressure was high, half rates generally gave lower yields than full rates but the amount of the reduction varied with the fungicide product used. The use of spray additives improved the yield response of the half rate treatments in most cases. Disease levels (septoria) were higher in treatments where half rates were used, compared with the corresponding full rates, but the used of spray additives improved the disease control in the half rate treatments. The timing of spray applications is critical when half rates of fungicides are being used. Reduced rate treatments need to be applied more frequently. In these trials reduced rate treatments were applied as a three-spray programme rather than the conventional two-spray programme.
  • Reduced Herbicide Inputs in Cereals

    Mitchell, B.J. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
    The objective of this project was to examine if herbicides used in cereals at rates lower than recommended by the manufacturer (reduced rates) would give acceptable weed control resulting in lower crop production costs. Field trials with a number of herbicides at full and reduced rates were carried out in winter barley, winter wheat and spring barley in 1994-1996. Herbicides used at recommended rates gave the highest and most consistent levels of weed control. Herbicides used at 50% of the recommended rates gave slightly lower levels of weed control than the recommended rates but did not result in lower yields. While rates lower than 50% gave about 70% control of weeds, grain yield was reduced in some trials. Reduced rates gave higher weed control in barley than in wheat. The level of weed control was influenced by weed species and the growth stages of the weeds at the time of herbicide spraying. Thus selection of herbicides and their rates of application should be field specific. The findings show that it is possible to reduce the amount of herbicides used in cereals with considerable cost savings and reduced risk of herbicide residues in grain, soil and water.
  • Effect of seed treatment and harvest date on the yield and quality of ware potatoes.

    Burke, J.J.; O'Donovan, Timothy (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
    The objective of this project was to investigate the effects of pre-planting seed handling procedures on the growth, yield and quality of the new Oak Park-bred potato variety Rooster. Statutory regulations and increased sophistication in packaging and presentation by retail outlets require that ware potatoes comply with narrower tuber size specifications. Appropriate pre-planting seed handling procedures provides the grower with an opportunity to influence emergence, crop establishment, yield at early harvest, tuber size distribution and quality.
  • Factors affecting the yield of winter lupins.

    Crowley, J.G. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
    The white lupin (Lupinus albus) is a temperate legume whose seed contains high levels of protein (36-44%), oil (10-16%) and high quality dietary fibre in the dry matter. Modern varieties contain extremely low levels of alkaloids (<0.01%) and no anti-nutritional factors. Thus their composition is more similar to soya bean than peas and beans, which contain much less protein (23-27%) and no oil. Nitrogen fixation by autumn-sown, determinate varieties is large (ca. 300 kg/ha) and harvest index for nitrogen is high (more than 85% of the crop N is recovered in the grain). Lupins also have the ability to release phosphorus and iron from mineral sources in the soil. These two characteristics make the winter lupin crop an ideal choice as a low input alternative crop, particularly in nitrogen-sensitive areas. Attempts to introduce spring-sown lupins have failed, mainly due to low yield potential, poor yield stability and late harvest. The release of the first winterhardy determinate varieties by French breeders in 1994 promised the first real chance of success. The successful introduction of lupins offers the possibility of reducing soya bean imports and replacing it with a high-quality, home-grown protein source, with the added advantage of traceability. Autumn-sown lupins are capable of producing satisfactory yields (3.7-4.5 t/ha). The crop does require careful management, i.e. early sowing (by mid-September), at the correct seed rate (100 kg/ha), into well-structured free-draining soil and with a pH below 7. Sown in early September, the crop will mature from late August to mid-September.
  • Improving yield and quality of forage maize.

    Crowley, J.G. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
    Maize silage is recognised world-wide as a high quality winter feed for livestock. Attempts to introduce the crop to Ireland in the early 1970’s failed because of the lack of suitable varieties. The release of maize varieties adapted to the colder North European and Irish climates has for the first time offered Irish beef and dairy farmers the opportunity to exploit the valuable assets of this crop. The transfer of the technology of growing maize under photodegradable polythene developed in France could further enhance the development of forage maize production in Ireland. The results presented show that the early type hybids released over the past five years are capable of producing high yields of high quality silage in selected sites across Ireland. To achieve satisfactory yields, site selection, early sowing and the use of adapted early maturing varieties is essential. Sowing maize through a photodegradable polythene film laid on the soil surface has proved successful. This technique can increase yields on average by 3.5 t/ha, increase dry matter content by 5% and starch content by ten percentage points. The system also advances maturity by approximately three weeks, guaranteeing that on most farms the maize crop will be mature and ready for harvest before the first heavy autumn frost.
  • Bi-cropping of winter wheat and white clover.

    Burke, James I.; Thomas, T.M.; Finnan, John (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
    Growing cereals in a leguminous living mulch (bi-cropping) could potentially reduce the need for synthetic inputs to cereal production while preventing losses of nutrients and increasing soil biological activity. The objective of this project was to investigate how bi-cropping (a low input production system for cereals) would compare with conventional winter wheat production systems in terms of total biomass, grain yield and biological diversity. This study has resulted in valuable information on bi-cropping being generated as well as identifying the potential benefits that can be expected under Irish conditions. While the results indicate that winter wheat can be successfully established in an understorey of white clover if sown early in good conditions, competition from grass weed species represents a serious impediment to successful bi-cropping in the longer term. Consequently further research is needed before such a system can be presented to the agricultural community.
  • Factors affecting the composition and use of camelina

    Crowley, J.G.; Frohlich, A. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
    Camelina (Camelina sativa), a member of the mustard family, is a summer annual oilseed plant. Winter hardy types also exist. False flax and Gold of Pleasure are the popular common names for the crop. The crop was widely grown in Eastern Europe and Russia up to the early 1940’s but was replaced with the introduction and widespread use of oilseed rape. The revival of interest in camelina oil is due to its high linolenic acid (38%) content. Linolenic acid is one of the OMEGA-3 fatty acids which are generally found in substantial quantities only in linseed and fish oils. Camelina offers an opportunity to supply the growing demand for high quality edible oils rich in OMEGA-3 fatty acids. A three year study established that camelina is a very suitable crop to grow in Ireland, producing 2.5 t/ha of high quality seed (42-47%) with no agrochemical inputs required. The oil contains 35 to 40% linolenic acid compared to 8% in rape and soya oils. The oil does not deteriorate during refining or storage and can be used in a number of oil based products such as spreads and salad dressings.
  • Biodiesel production from camelina oil, waste cooking and tallow.

    waste cooking oil; Rice, B.; Frohlich, A.; Leonard, A. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
    The high cost and lack of availability of raw materials is limiting the expansion of bio-diesel production. The aim of this project was to examine the potential of alternative vegetable oils, oil wastes or animal fats as bio-diesel feedstocks, and the performance of road vehicles using bio-diesel blends made from these materials. Three feedstock materials were considered: waste cooking oil from the catering industry, Camelina oil, and beef tallow. Thirty-four 300-litre pilot-scale batches of these materials were esterified, and yields and bio-diesel properties were measured. Five growers produced about 6 ha of camelina sativa on their set-aside land. Vehicle performance trials were carried out with five fuel blends involving bio-diesel and mineral fuel. A plant to produce approx 3000 tonnes per annum of bio-diesel was specified and costed. The work has concluded that waste cooking oil is the most promising raw material for the immediate start-up of bio-diesel production. A proportion of camelina oil could also be used. Further work is required to overcome technical problems with tallow. The cost of bio-diesel production in a 3000 t/yr plant from these raw materials was estimated at from 27 to 32 pence per litre of fuel. Reduction of excise on biodiesel to the level applied to heating and agricultural fuels would make its final price competitive with mineral diesel for road use. The excise remission could be justified by a reduction of global warming and harmful vehicle exhaust emissions, and the provision of a safe disposal system for otherwise waste materials.
  • Epidemiology and control of pink rot in potatoes.

    O'Sullivan, Eugene; Dowley, L.J. (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
    Rotting of tubers was reported in early potato crops in Co. Wexford in 1995. Geotrichum candidum, which causes a condition known as rubbery rot, was isolated from a sample of affected tubers. In further investigations in 1996 both G. candidum and Phytophthora erythroseptica, the cause of pink rot, were isolated from diseased tubers. In pathogenicity tests P. erythroseptica re-infected tubers while G. candidum did not. It was concluded that the disease was pink rot. In 1997 foliar applications of the systemic fungicide metalaxyl were evaluated for its control. The level of control obtained was insufficient to overcome the problem which pink rot can cause in early potatoes.
  • Efficient beef production from grazed pasture.

    O'Riordan, Edward G.; O'Kiely, Padraig; Keane, Michael G. (Teagasc, 1998-11-01)
    Documented data comparing both cutting and grazing grass growth rates in Ireland are minimal. Most protocols for measuring grass growth involve a cutting regime of either 3 or 4-week cycles. The effect of the grazing animal is absent in most situations. However, herbage production can readily be affected by the rate of fertiliser nitrogen used and the frequency of grazing/cutting management 6 practices employed. The first two experiments reported here were undertaken to assess grass growth under grazing and cutting regimes and to determine the extent of differences which may arise from different harvesting procotols. The third experiment investigated the effect of nitrogen application rate and regrowth interval on annual herbage production. Early grazing: The experiments reported here were conducted to examine the effects of early turnout to grass on beef cattle production and on sward productivity. Autumn pasture production: The present series of experiments investigated the effects of autumn closing dates on herbage yield and quality as well as their effects on sward productivity. The effects of short and long grazing rest intervals were evaluated in the context of autumn grass growth and their effects on subsequent spring growth.
  • Studies on Pre-slaughter Handling of Pigs and its Relationship to Meat Quality

    Lynch, P Brendan; Lawlor, Peadar G; Davis, D.; Kerry, Joseph P.; Buckley, D.J.; Walsh, L. (Teagasc, 1998-12-01)
    Two quality defects of pork which are affected by preslaughter handling are PSE (Pale Soft Exudative) and DFD (Dark Firm Dry) meat. The incidence of PSE pork is mainly a function of the breed of pig but short-term stressful handling before slaughter and feeding too close to slaughter are also involved. DFD meat is a result of prolonged stressful handling. PSE meat is pale and uneven in colour and exudes fluid making it unattractive in the retail display while dark meat appears stale and is prone to bacterial spoilage. After slaughter muscle metabolism continues and muscle glycogen is converted to lactic acid reducing meat pH. Prolonged stress results in glycogen depletion, pre-slaughter feeding results in elevated levels. Colour may be assessed subjectively by eye or objectively by a meter colour but pH of the meat is closely related to colour and measurement of pH at 45 minutes post-slaughter is frequently used to predict ultimate colour and pH. The objective of this study was to examine pre-slaughter handling practices and their relationship with meat quality (pH, colour). In the first trial, a survey of the amounts of stomach contents in pigs at slaughter in two factories found similar amounts to comparable surveys in France and the UK. It was concluded that most pigs had been fasted for an adequate time before delivery. The relationship between the amount of stomach contents and meat quality in this survey was poor. In the second trial, pigs from the Moorepark herd fed by either a computerised wet feeding system or an ad libitum dry feed system were slaughtered after overnight fasting or with feed available up to loading for transport to the factory, two to three hours before slaughter. There was no difference between feeding systems in meat colour or pH but fasted pigs, on both feeding systems, had darker meat and meat of a higher pH. In the third and fourth trials a survey of transport vehicles was carried out and meat quality of pigs delivered in modern and old-type vehicles was compared. Most trucks examined (78%) were four years old or more. Few had modern hydraulic lifting gear for the top decks. Space allowances during transportation were generally adequate but delays in unloading could, in warm weather, cause stress on pigs. There was little evidence for an effect of vehicle on meat quality parameters but day to day variation in carcass temperature and pH suggested a need for further research on factory influences on meat quality. Feeding of Magneium Aspartate to pigs for the last 5 days prior to slaughter has been shown, in Australia, to have a beneficial effect on meat colour and drip loss. In the final trial in this study Mg Asp had no effect on meat quality parameters.
  • Enhancing and visualising data on soils, land use and the environment.

    Coulter, B.S.; McDonald, E.; Lee, J. (Teagasc, 1998-12-01)
    A computer based system was developed to produce new information, charts and map data on soils, environment and land use for environmental decision support. The process involved manipulation of data in tabular and electronic map form by combining features from digitised maps and tables to develop an information system of linked and harmonised data. This report reviews and illustrates the findings with outputs in the form of maps and tables. Maps presenting sheep census information for the years 1970- 1991 show greatly increased livestock densities, in the latter years. These changes mainly occurred in the (i) traditional drystock areas of the midlands (ii) south east arable areas and (iii) south east Connacht dry stock/sheep areas and reflect economic and structural changes arising out of Government policy and membership of the EU. Maps depicting the temporal changes in dairy livestock densities were not so dramatic; however the structural change is particularly reflected in the reduction of dairying in the Connacht/Midlands regions. The introduction of milk quotas in the 1980's accelerated the changes which had been taking place since the early 1970's. In comparison to dairy cows, the increased concentration of drystock seems to be more widely spread. High concentrations of drystock occurred in the east midlands in 1970. By 1980, the high concentration of dry cattle had spread to North and South Midlands. The density of cattle increased further in Leinster and Munster areas by 1991. In Connaught, where sheep numbers had increased markedly between 1970 and 1991, cattle numbers remained relatively static. The digitisation of detailed soil survey maps was undertaken in this project and a new soil survey map of the Lough Derg Catchment was produced using Great Soil Groups as the mapping unit. This map is included in the report.

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