• Development of an efficient milk production profile of the Irish dairy Industry

      Shalloo, Laurence; Dillon, Pat; Wallace, Michael; Dairy Levy Research Trust; European Union (Teagasc, 2008-07)
      Fluctuation around milk price will be the biggest factor that the dairy industry will experience over the next number of years. This fluctuation is being driven by fluctuation on the world dairy markets. In the past, when intervention was a much bigger feature of the CAP regime, the fluctuation in world markets had little effect on the EU price. This was because the Intervention system bought product from the market when prices were depressed and placed products on the world market when the price rose. This in effect meant that the CAP regime was having a regulatory effect on the world market as well as the EU markets. An example of the type of fluctuation observed on the world market can be gleamed from the Fonterra milk price in 2006-2007 ($4.50/kg (MS) milk solid) versus 2007-2008 ($7.90/kg MS). This corresponds to a 76% increase in price in 1 year. For the Dairy Industry in Ireland to prosper under these conditions all sectors will be required to be as efficient as possible from the farm, processing and marketing sectors. This report deals with; (1) Milk payment (2) Optimum milk production systems and (3) Seasonality of milk supply. (1) Milk payment systems in Ireland currently do not adequately reward high solids quality milk. Virtually all milk payment systems include a positive constant which reward the production of volume rather than the production of protein and fat kilograms. The A+B-C system of milk payment would adequately reward the production of protein and fat while at the same time correcting for the volume related processing costs. (2) Optimum systems of milk production will be built around the maximization of grass utilization in the future. Grazed grass is the cheapest feed that can be fed to dairy cows. Stocking rates nationally are 1.74cows/Ha around the milking platform and therefore when dairy farms are expanding they should do so by increasing stocking rate. The inclusion of supplementary feeds will reduce profitability for the vast majority of dairy farmers and could only possibly lead to increases in profitability when coupled increases in stocking rate. (3) Grass based systems while substantially reducing costs at farm level result in a seasonal milk supply profile. This results in a reduced capacity utilization of the milk processing facilities as well as restricted product port folio. However the production of Winter milk will lead to significant cost increases at farm level and should only be encouraged if the specific product produced would be sufficient to cover the additional costs associated with over winter production. Within spring calving systems milk payment systems should be used to encourage an efficient milk supply profile with a mean compact calving date of mid February.
    • 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.
    • Escherichia coli 0157:H7: implications for HACCP on the farm and in the abattoir

      Bolton, Declan J.; Byrne, Catriona; Sheridan, James J.; Riordan, Denise C.; European Union (Teagasc, 1999-01)
      Experiments were designed to assess the risks associated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 on the farm, through the abattoir and into the butcher shop. Data was also generated for application in model building and the reliability of pathogen models for predicting pathogen growth in different foods was examined.
    • A European study on animal food & biomedical aspects of E.coli 0157:H7

      Duffy, Geraldine; Garvey, Patricia; Sheridan, James J.; European Union; CT98-3935 (Teagasc, 2002-02)
      Verocytotoxin producing Escherichia coli (VTEC) and, in particular, strains of serogroup O157, have emerged as significant pathogens causing a range of severe and potentially fatal illnesses. The European Union has recognised the threat posed by E coli O157:H7 and the need to devise control strategies based on an understanding of VTEC pathogenicity, transmission, survival and growth. It acknowledges the importance of informing farmers, veterinarians, food producers and health authorities so that each of these groups can act appropriately to reduce the overall hazards posed by these organisms. To contribute to the development and dissemination of effective control strategies, the European Commission funded this Concerted Action Project 1
    • Evaluation of the Progeny of Beef Sires Differing in Genetic Merit

      Keane, Michael G.; Diskin, Michael G.; European Union (Teagasc, 2005-11-01)
      The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) publishes breeding values (BVs) for beef bulls. Historically, BVs were expressed in index form relative to the base population. Sometime ago this changed to expression in units of measurement of trait. This change occurred in the course of this project and was accompanied by some re-ranking of bulls. BVs are published for growth, carcass grades and calving traits. Growth BV is expressed as carcass weight but there is no indication if this results from higher live weight gain or from a higher kill-out proportion and there is no indication of any consequences for feed intake or efficiency. • The objectives of the project were (i) to compare progeny of bulls of high and low growth genetic index, for growth, feed intake, slaughter traits and carcass traits, (ii) to partition the extra live weight of progeny of high growth index bulls into carcass and non-carcass parts, and (iii) to partition any extra carcass weight of progeny from high growth index bulls into its component fat, muscle and bone fractions
    • Grazing and ensiling of energy-rich grasses with elevated sugar contents for the sustainable production of ruminant livestock (Acronym: SweetGrass)

      O'Kiely, Padraig; Conaghan, Patrick; Howard, Hilda; Moloney, Aidan P; Black, Alistair D; European Union; QLK5-CT-2001-0498 (Teagasc, 2005-09-01)
      Permanent grassland dominates the Irish landscape and for many decades perennial ryegrasses have been the main constituent in seed mixtures for grassland.
    • Horizontal transmission of Escherichia coli O157:H7 during cattle housing, survival kinetics in feces and water of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and characterisation of E. coli O157:H7 isolates from cattle faeces and a feedlot environment

      Scott, Lourda; McGee, Philip; Sheridan, Jim; Earley, Bernadette; Leonard, Nola; European Union (Teagasc, 2005-12-01)
      Escherichia coli O157:H7 can cause severe illness and in some cases leading to death. Cattle are the main reservoir with transmission to humans occurring through contamination of food or the environment. Improved understanding of the survival and transmission and survival of E. coli O157:H7 on the farm is essential for developing future controls of this pathogen. This study showed that transmission of E. coli O157:H7 can occur rapidly in groups of housed cattle, with contamination of the pens and hides occurring in 24 hrs. The inoculation dose for cattle is lower than previously reported. Ingestion of bacteria from the hide through social grooming is important for pathogen transmission in housed cattle along with faecal contamination of the environment. Sampling hide will improve the estimation of prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in pens.
    • Managing new food product development.

      Daly, Eimear; European Union (Teagasc, 2002-10)
      The future success of the Irish food industry depends on the ability of companies to develop new skills in a rapidly changing market environment. One such skill is the management of new product development. This report illustrates the impact that training in the product development process had on a range of small to medium enterprises. Training was delivered as a series of interactive workshops covering the key stages of the new product development process. Each company also received up to 7 days consultancy support to facilitate implementation of the learning.
    • Mechanical Grading of beef carcasses

      Allen, Paul; Finnerty, Nicholas; European Union; European Union (Teagasc, 2001-10)
      Three beef carcass classification systems that use Video Image Analysis (VIA) technology were tested in two trials at Dawn Meats Midleton, Co. Cork. The VIA systems were BCC2, manufactured by SFK Technology, Denmark, VBS2000, manufactured by E+V, Germany, and VIAscan, manufactured by Meat and Livestock Australia. The first trial, conducted over a 6-week period in July/August 1999, calibrated the VIA systems on a large sample of carcasses and validated these calibrations on a further sample obtained at the same time. The second trial, conducted in the first two weeks of March 2000, was a further validation trial. The reference classification scores were determined by a panel of three experienced classifiers using the EUROP grid with 15 subclasses for conformation class and 15 sub-classes for fat. In the first trial the accuracy of the VIA systems at predicting saleable meat yield in steer carcasses was also assessed.
    • Nitrofurans: Measuring Tissue-Bound Residues in Meat

      O’Keeffe, Michael; Conneely, Anne; Nugent, Audrey; Downey, Gerard; European Union (Teagasc, 01/08/2006)
      The aims of this project were to (a) develop a range of screening and confirmatory test methods that might be applied to effectively test for the illicit use of the prohibited nitrofuran antimicrobials,(b) study the persistence of nitrofuran antimicrobials as bound metabolite residues inedible tissues and (c) undertake a pan-European survey of the incidence of nitrofurans in retail pork.
    • Predicting the eating quality of meat

      Mullen, Anne Maria; Murray, Brendan; Troy, Declan J.; European Union (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      A novel, water soluble protein fragment [1735Da] was isolated from beef striploin and characterised. As soluble components of the proteolytic system are easily extracted from muscle they may be suitable for routine factory analysis. This fragment originated from the important myofibrillar protein, troponin T and may serve as a tenderness indicator.
    • Production of pork with improved nutritional and eating quality

      O'Keeffe, Michael; Eskola, Mart; Nugent, Audrey; Fitzpatrick, Jane; European Union (Teagasc, 2007-06)
      The SUSPORKQUAL project – sustainability in the production of pork with improved nutritional and eating quality using strategic feeding in outdoor production – was designed to address issues relating to pig performance, environmental effects, meat quality, meat safety, animal welfare, nutritional quality of products, and marketability of pork from sustainable outdoor pig production systems. The project handled these issues through seven workpackages involving 11 research groups from seven European countries.
    • Protein-bound veterinary drug residues in food

      O'Keeffe, Michael; Horne, Elizabeth; Cadogan, Aodhmar; Coyle, Tiernan; European Union; AIR2-CT93-0860 (Teagasc, 1999-03)
      Bound residues of veterinary drugs have been recognised as an important aspect of food safety particularly (a) where such residues may persist for long periods after withdrawal of the drug treatment and (b) where the bound residues may be released, during digestion of edible tissues, in biologically active forms. Residues bound to proteins are not extractable by the conventional solvent extraction procedures for residue determination. Procedures for the release of bound residues from proteins, identification of their chemical structure, and determination of the amount of bound residues in edible tissues are required.
    • The quality of under-utilised deep-water fish species

      Brennan, Martine H.; Gormley, Ronan T.; European Union; Marine Research Measure (Teagasc, 1999-09)
      The quality of twenty-three frozen under-utilised fish species was examined. The species were spot samples of deep-water fish caught near the Rockall Trough by the Fisheries Research Centre. Their basic composition was 80.8 - 86.4% water, 9.8 - 25.2% protein, 0.18 - 16.2% lipid and 0.7 - 2.0% ash. Lead, cadmium and mercury concentrations were determined for six species and were much lower than the maximum levels set in 1992. Ammonia levels were unacceptably high in three shark species.
    • Rapid control systems for veterinary drug residues in food producing animals

      O'Keeffe, Michael; European Union; SMT4 - CT96 - 2092 (Teagasc, 2002-10)
      The aim was to develop rapid systems which could be used to test for the presence of veterinary drug residues in food producing animals. Body fluid samples are most suitable for rapid testing systems so as to avoid the lengthy residue extraction procedures required for tissue samples. Urine was analysed for sulphamethazine, a licensed antimicrobial, and for chlorotestosterone, a prohibited growth promoting agent, as models to demonstrate the different approaches.
    • A study of cryptosporidium parvum in beef

      Duffy, Geraldine; McEvoy, John M.; Moriarty, Elaine M.; Sheridan, James J.; European Union; QLK1 CT 1999 00775 (Teagasc, 2003-07)
      There is increasing concern that foods, particularly those of animal origin, may play a role in the transmission of C ryptosporidium parvum to humans. Studies were undertaken to examine the risk posed by C . parvum in the beef chain.
    • Surface decontamination of meat using thermal processes

      McCann, Máiréad S; Sheridan, James J.; Downey, Gerard; European Union (Teagasc, 01/02/2007)
      This study investigated the effectiveness of a novel heat apparatus for decontamination of meat surfaces inoculated with important foodborne pathogens using either steam or dry air.
    • Technology transfer of research results (The 2xtra project)

      McDonagh, Ciara; Byrne, Briege; Troy, Declan J.; Mullen, Anne Maria; Downey, Gerard; European Commission; European Union (Teagasc, 2008-02)
      The 2XTRA project (Technology Transfer Research Results Atlantic Area) was carried out with the aim of promoting economic activity based on research results and technologies developed within universities, research and technology institutes and companies in the European Atlantic Area. This collaborative work was carried out by a strong partnership of 13 entities across this region and included universities, research and technology institutes, private consultants and TBC (technology-based company) incubators. The specific goals of the project were: ● The exchange of information and experiences on technology transfer (TT) with a view to assisting project partners directly and feeding into their regional innovation systems. ● The promotion of new technology-based companies by drawing on collective experiences and developing methodologies relating to - identification and evaluation of business ideas - production of business plans, and - support of early stage companies internationalising. ● The creation of an Atlantic Area Network to support and promote technology-based companies (TBCs) and the technology transfer process. These objectives were achieved through defined activities carried out in three separate stages of this project.
    • A test bacterial decontamination system for meat products

      Ward, Oonagh C.; Logue, Catherine M.; Sheridan, James J.; European Union; FAIR CT 1027 (Teagasc, 2000-12)
      A pilot scale apparatus was designed to allow meat samples to be treated with steam at sub-atmospheric pressures and correspondingly reduced temperatures. Experiments were carried out to determine the effectiveness of sub-atmospheric steam decontamination in eliminating bacteria on the surface of fresh beef. This type of treatment can have special advantages in that steam can be produced at temperatures well below 100ºC. This means that the heat advantages of steam as a decontaminating agent can potentially be obtained at lower temperatures.
    • Very fast chilling in beef

      Troy, Declan J.; Joseph, Robin; European Union; AIR-CT94-1881 (Teagasc, 2001-07)
      Very fast chilling (VFC) of beef reduces the temperature to -1ºC after 5 hours post mortem throughout its mass. The process has many potential benefits (Joseph,1996) including the production of tender meat and greater process efficiency in the meat plant.