• 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.
    • Barriers to Change: a Sociological study of Rural Development in Ireland

      Macken-Walsh, Aine; ICERTS Marine Beaufort Marine Award (Teagasc, 01/06/2009)
      Teagasc’s Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC) and Rural Development Advisory Unit initiated a research project in 2006 to investigate the ‘Barriers to Change’ experienced by farmers and fishers in adapting to challenges arising from a changed rural development mandate. Economic models developed by the organisation predicted farmers’ exodus over time from nonviable farming enterprises and in response to shifts towards postproductivist policies. A significant proportion of farmers, however, are continuing with what are officially categorised as nonviable farms and are slow to become involved in economic activities in line with the contemporary rural development agenda. In this light, the ‘Barriers to Change’ project was designed to explore the sociocultural inhibitors to farmers’ engagement. The project also incorporated a casestudy analysis of a fishing community whose members are experiencing similar ‘barriers’.
    • Beef Cross Breeding of Dairy And Beef Cows

      Keane, Michael G. (Teagasc, 2011-03)
      The rationale for crossing dairy cows with beef bulls is to increase the beef productivity and value of the progeny. The proportion of dairy cows available for beef crossing is determined by the dairy herd replacement rate. The performance of cross-bred cattle is generally superior to the mean of the parent breeds because of heterosis. This is most pronounced for reproduction, maternal and calf survival traits. Crossing dairy cows with early maturing beef breeds (e.g. Angus, Hereford) has little effect on growth but improves carcass conformation and reduces feed intake. Crossing with most late maturing beef breeds also improves carcass conformation and reduces feed intake, but in addition, growth rate, kill-out proportion and carcass muscle proportion are increased. Cross breeding can have small negative effects on dam milk production, and subsequent reproduction can be impaired following a long gestation or difficult calving. There is little advantage in crossing with double muscled sire breeds (e.g. Belgian Blue, Piedmontese) compared with the larger conventional late maturing breeds (e.g. Charolais, Blonde d'Aquitaine). There are few effects of sire breed on meat quality.
    • Beef production from feedstuffs conserved using new technologies to reduce negative environmental impacts

      O'Kiely, Padraig; Crosson, Paul; Hamilton, William J.; Little, Enda; Stacey, Pamela; Walsh, Karl; Black, Alistair D; Crowley, James C.; Drennan, Michael J; Forristal, Dermot; et al. (Teagasc, 2007-12-01)
      The three separate components with parallel objectives to this programme were to: 1. Develop technologies for conserving and optimally feeding alternative/complimentary feedstuffs to grass silage. 2. Quantify the use and re-use of plastic sheeting or film used to seal ensiled feedstuffs or mulch maize, and evaluate some new options. 3. Develop computer programs that will facilitate investigating prototype models of forage-based beef production systems.
    • Better management and economy of the N resource in Ireland.

      Ryan, Michael (Teagasc, 1998-09-01)
      The project, which was carried out at Johnstown Castle, was concerned with measuring denitrification at depth in grazed grass plots receiving 362 kg fertiliser N per ha. Reports in the scientific literature had indicated that such was likely, given the conditions necessary for the denitrifying microbial reactions to take place. In one experiment, denitrification was detected in measurable amounts to 90cm soil depth in spring-summer, using the acetylene block technique. A second more extensive experiment carried out under similar conditions within one year from March to August and from October to March looked at denitrification in greater detail to 50 cm deep. Results showed the importance of soil water and soil ammonium (NH4) to rate of denitrification. The rate was much greater in the 0-10 cm layer than in the lower layers in both time periods. Of the total denitrification occurring in the 0-50 cm layers in the year, which was 16.6 kg N per ha, 80% occurred at 0-10 cm with 62% occurring in the second time period, October to March.
    • 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.
    • Biochemical and Functional Relationships in Cheese.

      Guinee, Timothy P.; Fox, P.F.; Fenney, E.P; Mullins, C.; Corcoran, M.O.; Mulholland, E.; Auty, Mark (Teagasc, 2001-01-01)
      Cheese is used extensively in cooking applications, mainly because of its flavour and heat-induced functionality, which is a composite of different attributes such as softening, flow and stretch. The functional attributes of cooked cheese generally have a major impact on the quality of foods in which cheese is included as an ingredient, e.g. pizza pie. Owing to its importance in cookery applications, numerous studies have been undertaken on the effects of different factors on the age-related changes in the functionality of cooked cheese, especially Mozzarella, and to a lesser extent, Cheddar and processed cheese. These studies have shown that the functionality of natural cheese is dynamic, with the different functional attributes undergoing marked changes during ripening, and, for a given cheese variety, the desired functional attributes are optimum within a specific time frame during maturation. The time at which the cheese becomes functional and the width of the window - and hence the functional shelf-life, are affected by the extent of chemical changes, including the increase in proteolysis and the ratio of bound to free moisture. The main aims of this project were to investigate the effects of the following on the age-related changes in heat-related functional attributes (e.g. stretchability, fluidity) of cheese: * fat reduction, * the degree of fat emulsification, * the pH and calcium content and their interaction, * the correlation between proteolysis and functional attributes, especially attributes other than flowability, e.g. rheological properties of raw cheese, stretchability of heated cheese, and * the age-related changes in the functionality of cheeses other than Mozzarella, e.g. analogue pizza cheese and Emmental. At the outset of this project, comparatively little information was available on the effects of the above parameters on the age-related changes in heatinduced functional attributes (e.g. stretchability, fluidity) of cheese, especially for varieties other than Mozzarella.
    • Biochemical and physical indicators of beef quality

      Troy, Declan J. (Teagasc, 1999-03)
      Beef of a consistent quality is required by the meat industry in order to maintain and expand markets. Measurement of beef quality is difficult at factory level. Measurements to indicate the final eating quality are not well developed yet. This project examined novel approaches to this problem using biochemical and physical methods. The Biochemical indicators of beef quality examined included: pH , Protease activity as a potential indicator of meat tenderness, Cathepsin B and cathepsin B&L activities in relation to beef ageing, Relationship between cathepsin B and cathepsin B&L activity and WBSF values, Protein fragments as an indication of beef tenderness and Myofibrillar proteins. The Physical indicators of beef quality examined included: Post-mortem changes in muscle electrical properties and their relationship to meat quality attributes, Near infrared reflectance spectra as indicators of beef quality, Shear force as an indicator of tenderness.
    • Biodegradable Microparticles as Non-Live Viral Vectors for Respiratory Tract Vaccination.

      Earley, Bernadette; Kavanagh, Owen; Adair, Brian (Teagasc, 2001-03-01)
      The potential of a microparticulate vaccine delivery system in eliciting a specific humoral response in the upper respiratory tract of calves was evaluated. Microparticles composed of poly(lactideco- glycolide) containing ovalbumin, a model immunogen, were prepared by a solvent evaporation technique. The microparticles were under 10μm in diameter as determined by fluorescence activated cell sorter (FACS) analysis. Following immunisation, the microparticles induced production of specific secretory IgA (sIgA) in nasal samples.The sIgA was detected after only one week and persisted throughout the length of the study. Additionally, the effects of microencapsulated synthetic peptides (F peptide (0.5mg) and G peptide (0.5mg), representing known protective epitopes against bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), on the cellular and humoral immune responses of calves were investigated. ∗ No significant change in the cellular immune response was detected. * The secretory IgA response was significantly more prolonged following administration of the SF (F111-148) peptide when compared with the SG (G174-187) peptide. * It is concluded that microparticles incorporating antigens show potential in the quest for generating complete protection in the young bovine against respiratory tract pathogens. * Vaccination of calves with the SF (F111-148) and SG (G174-187) peptide resulted in a significant reduction in the requirement to treat with antibiotics for respiratory disease in the post-vaccination period.
    • 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.
    • Biotechnology in Cattle Reproduction.

      Morris, Dermot G.; Diskin, Michael G.; Sreenan, J.M. (Teagasc, 2001-12-01)
      Over the next decade the Irish agri-food industry will have to compete in a rapidly changing world environment arising from increased competitiveness, decreased world market prices and increased consumer demands for higher quality, healthier and safer food. To become competitive in this environment the scale and efficiency of production at both farm and factory level will have to increase significantly and this must be achieved with due regard for the protection of the environment and the welfare of animals. New technologies will be needed to achieve this. Biotechnology will be central to the development of these new technologies. This project has been concerned with the identification and evaluation of biotechnology developments that have the potential to increase reproductive efficiency in cattle. This includes a range of technologies relating to the in vitro production, manipulation, cryopreservation and transfer of cattle embryos. The potential of other emerging technologies such as embryo and sperm sexing, cloning and biopharming or the production of commercially desirable proteins in cows milk are also addressed in this report.
    • Blockage reduction to increase the efficiency of slurry application.

      Ryan, Declan; Brett, P. (Teagasc, 1999-12-01)
      Discussions with farmers using band and injection slurry spreaders suggested that the rate of breakdown due to blockages, in these machines, was approximately one per day. This report shows how the use of an intake filter and a modified distributor on a band spreader can reduce this problem. A set of obstacles was assembled on the basis of information from farmers and from literature. Ten classes of obstacles were selected, at random, and between size limits. Two prototype filters, a commercial filter and an open pipe were tested while drawing slurry from an open tank to a tanker. During each test, obstacles were thrown into the slurry stream. Obstacles retained by the filter were counted afterwards. A second filter trial was organised to test the tendency of filters to clog. Obstacle tests with 3 prototype distributors and a control were conducted in a similar manner to the first filter trial but, in this case, preliminary tests were conducted in water and final tests in slurry. The initial tests identified the best prototype. This was then compared to the control distributor using slurry. The open pipe allowed 80% of obstacles to pass while the filters allowed only 4 – 19% through. The new filters offered no improvement over the commercial unit. Filters required 16 hours agitation but the open pipe required 4 hours or less. The best prototype had the same diameter as the control but had an obstacle trap attached at the side. In a test using obstacles and slurry, the control was obstructed by 56% of the obstacles while the prototype allowed only 21% to cause a blockage. Flow through the prototype was initially too large. Slowing down the rotor in the distributor and restricting the outlet from the obstacle trap with a single long pipe, connected to two nozzles, controlled the flow. The results of the filter and distributor trials were combined. Of the seventy obstacles dropped above the filter, six passed through. Four of these caused blockages in the control distributor, but only one became stuck in the prototype. The blockage rate in the distributor and nozzles was significantly reduced compared to the original unit.
    • Breed compostition of the Irish cattle herd.

      Drennan, Michael J (Teagasc, 1999-12-01)
      Information was collected on cow and sire breeds in both dairy and suckler herds in the National Farm Survey (NFS) in autumn 1998. The number of farms included in the analysis was 1030 with farms containing less than 2 economic size units (equivalent to 3 to 4 dairy cows) excluded from the sample. The main findings of the survey were as follows: • Ninety-eight percent of dairy cows and 96% of dairy herd replacements were Friesian/Holstein • The suckler cow herd contained 46% early-maturing breed crosses (Hereford 31%, Aberdeen Angus 12% and Shorthorn 3%) 2% Friesians, 48% of the three main continental breed crosses (Charolais 17%, Simmental 16%, Limousin 15%) and 4% other (mainly continental crosses). Compared to the adult cows herd replacements had less early-maturing breed crosses and Friesians (total 42%) and more (55%) of the three main continental breed crosses (Charolais 20%, Simmental 15%, Limousin 20%). • Overall, in 1998, it was estimated that the national cow herd consisted of 52% Friesian/Holstein, 23% early maturing breed crosses and 26% late maturing breed crosses. • Forty-seven percent of dairy cows were bred to Friesian/Holstein sires, 26% were bred to early maturing sire breeds and 27% were bred to continental sire breeds. The corresponding figure for dairy herd replacements were 40%, 46% and 13%. • Seventeen percent of suckler cows were bred to early maturing sire breeds, 46% were bred to Charolais, 16% were bred to Simmental, 17% were bred to Limousin and the remaining 6% were bred to mainly other continental breed sires. The sires used on suckler herd replacements were 43% early maturing breeds, 16% Charolais, 10% Simmental, 25% Limousin and 5% other. • Based on the sire breeds used in 1998, the breed composition of the 1999 calf crop was estimated to be 24% Friesian/Holstein, 24% early maturing breeds, 24% Charolais cross, 10% Simmental cross, 12% Limousin cross and 6% other (mainly other continental crosses). • Although the proportion of continental breed crosses in the calf crop continues to increase (48% in 1993 to 52% in 1999), the use of continental sire breeds is declining in the dairy herd (from 33% in 1992 to 27% in 1998), particularly where AI is the method of breeding. However, this trend may be at an end as the 1999 AI figures to date (September 30) show substantial decreases in Hereford and Aberdeen Angus inseminations with increases in Belgian Blue, Limousin and Friesian/Holstein. • The dairy herd is a relatively unimportant source of the better quality animals accounting for only 25% of total continental breed crosses which have a lower proportion of continental breed genes than those from the suckler herd. • It was estimated that the 1999 calf crop from the suckler herd consisted of 18% early maturing breeds, 29% of half to threequarters continental breed genes and 53% containing at least three-quarters continental breed genes. • A total of 48,200 herds used bulls. The proportion of bulls of each breed used were 9% Frieisan/Holstein, 17% Hereford, 11% Aberdeen Angus, 1% Shorthorn, 29% Charolais, 12% Simmental, 16% Limousin and 5% other. Continental breeds accounted for 38% and 84% of bulls on dairy and suckler farm, respectively. • In the present study the number of animals (cows plus replacements) bred to continental sire breeds was 1.22 million of which 40% were by AI. • National AI figures show that the total number of inseminations (excluding DIY) have declined from 1.03 million in 1992 to 0.79 million in 1998. • Assuming that the suckler cow should be at least half continental breeding and that Belgian Blue crosses are unsuitable if increases in calving problems are to be avoided then the dair y herd may provide as little as 25% of suitable suckler herd replacements. Thus, the main source of replacements would be from within the suckler herd. Factors to be considered include hybrid vigour which involves crossbreeding, milk production potential of the cow and the fact that the most widely used terminal sire is Charolais. In these circumstances one suitable crossbred cow would be obtained from alternate crossing with Limousin and Simmental sires. • Heat synchronisation was used on 3% of herds. The figures for dairy and suckler herds was 6.8% and 0.5%, respectively. • Vaccination for leptospirosis was used on 29% of dairy farms and 4% of suckler farms.
    • Breeding Improved Varieties of Perennial Ryegrass.

      Connolly, Vincent (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      The background, methodology and objectives of the current ryegrass breeding programme are outlined. Six varieties have been released and are currently on Recommended Lists in Ireland and elsewhere. The varieties have shown improvement in yield and yield distribution: these traits are important in the context of improving the productive potential of Irish grasslands. In parallel with the breeding programme, research on projects which is related to future selection strategy was undertaken. The results of this research on hybrid breeding system and quality objectives are summarised.
    • Breeding Improved Varieties Of White Clover.

      Connolly, Vincent (Teagasc, 2001-08-01)
      White clover is one of the most nutritious species available in grassland/ruminant production systems. In association with grass, this species increases protein, mineral content, intake and nutrient value of the total forage. Because of its nitrogen fixing capacity, white clover has the potential to reduce, or in the case of organic systems, eliminate the need for inorganic nitrogen fertilizer on grazed grassland. Grassland-based animal production is a major part of the Irish agricultural economy, consequently any improvement in this legume has large potential benefit in this sector. The background, methodology, objectives and output of the current Teagasc, Oak Park white clover breeding programme are outlined. Five varieties have been released and are currently on Recommended Lists in Ireland and elsewhere. Aran, first released in 1981, has remained the highest yielding clover variety in UK trials, it is also widely grown in New Zealand, Australia and France as well as Ireland and UK. Avoca has shown very good yield and persistency under a range of managements and is widely used in Ireland and UK. Chieftain, the most recently released variety, has given 25% more clover yield than the control under lax defoliation (simulated grazing) management in UK Recommended List trials. In parallel with the breeding programme, research on nitrogen fixation and development of inbred lines in this species was undertaken. A brief summary of some of the results is included in this report.
    • Breeding, disease resistance screening and seed production of new potatoe varities.

      Keogh, H.W.; Dowley, L.J.; O'Sullivan, Eugene (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      The potato breeding programme at Oak Park was started in the 1960's and has consisted of a number of distinct phases. In the first phase the focus was on the testing of the main domestic and foreign varieties in field trials in the main potato growing areas of the country. This was followed by a breeding programme for the domestic market, with particular emphasis on the production of a blight resistant replacement for Kerr’s Pink. The emphasis then switched to breeding for the export market, with the focus on the UK and Mediterranean markets. Since then the breeding programme has been focused on the domestic, processing and export markets. The process of breeding, testing and multiplying a new potato variety from the making of the initial cross until the new variety can be commercially grown takes about 15 years (see Appendix 2). The objectives of the present Potato Breeding Programme are: 1. Breeding improved varieties for the seed export trade. 2. Developing high yielding early maincrop and maincrop types with resistance to potato cyst eelworm Globodera rostochiensis and or Globodera pallidae with quality suitable for the UK market. 3. Developing a high dry-matter red skinned early maincrop or maincrop variety suitable for the home ware trade with a high level of disease resistance especially to late blight. 4. To select early maincrop or maincrop types suitable for processing into crisps and chips. 5. Breeding 1st and 2nd early varieties suitable for Irish and UK conditions with improved quality and disease resistance.
    • Calf Health and Immunity.

      Earley, Bernadette; Fallon, Richard J. (Teagasc, 1999-11-01)
      Suckled calves had significantly higher serum IgG 1 concentrations than mart purchased dairy calves. The marked differences in immunoglobulin levels between suckled calves and dairy calves suggest that these calves received either insufficient quality or quantity of colostral immunoglobulins. Factors affecting calf serum Ig concentrations are, Ig concentration in colostrum, colostrum intake, Ig mass, calf age at first feeding, nutrition of the dam, method of ingestion, presence of the dam, age of the dam and the calf. When suckled calves were fed a similar volume of colostrum relative to birth weight (40 ml/kg) and at the same time interval post birth, there was no significant difference across the three suckler herd progeny for IgG1, IgA and IgM and total Ig serum levels at 28 and 56 days of age. However, serum IgG2 levels were significantly lower in the Limousin x beef breed when compared with the Charolais x beef breed suckled calves at 28 days of age. Healthy calves had higher serum immunoglobulins (IgG1) than calves treated for respiratory disease, enteric disease or for both respiratory disease and enteric disease. It is well recognised that immunoglobulins are absorbed from the intestine for only a short period post birth and that efficiency of absorption is dependent on ensuring that the calf receives adequate colostrum in the immediate post-partum period. Low serum IgG1 concentrations are attributable to failures to obtain adequate colostral immunoglobulins in the period immediately following birth. The mean IgA and IgM serum levels of suckled calves in the present study were only slightly higher than dairy calves while IgG1 serum levels were almost approximately twice as high. Feeding colostrum high in Ig results in higher calf serum Ig concentrations at 48h. The low serum Ig levels reported in the present study suggest that dairy calves failed to obtain adequate transfer of colostral immunoglobulins. Calves with a lower immune status are more susceptible to neonatal infection and thus the importance of colostrum in the immediate post partum period cannot be overemphasised. Thus, the identification of calves with low levels of immunity might stimulate calf producers to ensure that calves receive adequate levels of colostral immunoglobulins. The implications of the present findings are that compared with suckled calves, dairy calves are not receiving 1). adequate quantity of colostrum 2). adequate quality of colostrum. 3). Colostrum soon enough post birth 4). or a combination of all of the previous factors. Rearing calves outdoors using calf jackets had no beneficial effect on calf performance. The incidence of respiratory disease was higher in calves reared indoor when compared with calves reared outdoor with and without jackets. There was an increased incidence of diarrhoea in calves reared outdoors irrespective of calf jacket. Lymphocytes from calves with respiratory disease manifest an impaired capability to blast in vitro. Chromium (Cr) supplementation (250 mg/kg dry matter intake) enhanced the blastogenic response in healthy calves, while, calves with respiratory had impaired blastogenic responses. Supplementation with organic Cr (250 mg/kg dry matter intake) for 63 days had no major effect on physiological parameters and had select effects on haematological parameters, namely, the % monocytes. The % monocytes were significantly higher in the standard commercial milk replacer (CMR) (Skim) Cr supplemented calves when compared with the whey based (CMR) + Soya Brand B or whey based CMR + Soya Brand C or whey based enzyme processed soya Brand C + Cr treatment groups.
    • Cattle Embryo Growth Development and Viabilty.

      Morris, Dermot G.; Grealy, M.; Leese, H.J.; Diskin, Michael G.; Sreenan, J.M. (Teagasc, 2001-06-01)
      A major problem for the cattle breeding industry is the high rate of early embryo loss which compromises reproductive efficiency and genetic improvement, resulting in serious financial loss to farmers. An important part of the Teagasc research programme in this area is the investigation of basic parameters of cattle embryo growth, development and viability during the critical period when most of the embryo loss occurs. We have now characterised this period of embryo development and to our knowledge, this is the first report describing the morphology, growth rate, protein content and metabolic activity of cattle embryos during this period. The main results are summarised here and detailed results have been published in the papers listed at the end of this report. Embryo growth rate and protein content increased exponentially between days 8 and 13 after fertilisation. Furthermore, there was a high rate of protein synthetic activity, energy and amino acid metabolism and signal transduction activity, all reaching a peak between days 8 and 13 after fertilisation. Because of the high rate of metabolic activity evident during this time it is likely that the embryos are very susceptible to environmental changes that have the potential to interfere with normal developmental mechanisms. The results arising from this project suggest that the critical period of early embryo loss in cattle may now be narrowed to a time window of day 8 to 13 rather than day 8 to 16 as presumed up to now. The main results are summarised.
    • A Census Atlas of Irish Agriculture

      Commins, Patrick; Lafferty, F.; Walsh, Jim A. (Teagasc, 1999-08-01)
      Computerised mapping systems were developed to analyse agricultural census statistics and data from agricultural policy administration sources. The objective was to identify local geographical variations in the structure and trends in the agricultural economy by mapping the available information, principally at the level of the District Electoral Division (DED) and the Rural District (RD). There were 3,113 DEDs and 156 RDs in the analysis. The main database was the 1991 Census of Agriculture, the latest available. Some statistics are updated annually and where possible these were used in tabular form to trace the 1991- 1997 trends for Regional Authority areas. Conclusions: There are distinctive farming regions in the country whose boundaries span unevenly across county limits. These are undergoing different processes of change depending on their resource base, their responses to economic imperatives, and the policy environment. • Commercial farming has become increasingly associated with areas south and east of a line from Limerick to Dundalk. • It is likely that policies and trends post 2000 will further increase the differences in resource use between commercial farming and other areas.
    • Characterisation of feedstuffs for ruminants.

      Moloney, Aidan P; Woods, V.B.; O'Mara, Frank P. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      A wide variety of feed ingredients are used in the manufacture of compound feeds in Ireland. Unprocessed feedstuffs vary from batch to batch due to differences caused by variety, soils, weather, etc. By -product feeds may also vary due to the processes from which they were produced. Accurate information on the nutritive value of feeds is essential for accurate ration formulation. A series of experiments was carried out to determine various nutritional characteristics of concentrate ingredients either locally produced or imported into Ireland. From these experiments it was concluded that : * The digestibility values of concentrate ingredients derived in maintenance-fed sheep are applicable to maintenance-fed cattle. * Feed is not utilised as efficiently when the level of feeding is increased from maintenance to 2 x maintenance. * The improved feed conversion efficiency in steers offered a restricted allowance of concentrates cannot be attributed to a difference in digestibility but can be attributed in part to a lower rate of fat deposition compared to steers offered ad libitum concentrates. * The residue after oil extraction from Camelina sativa could replace some imported protein-rich feedstuffs in ruminant rations but to fully achieve this potential, the residual oil content must be decreased. * For measurement of ruminal degradability of concentrate ingredients a wide range of forage to concentrate ratios and feeding levels can be used. * It is important to consider the actual outflow rate of nutrients from the rumen when measuring the feed value of individual concentrate ingredients as this can have an impact on the effective degradability and the relative nutritive values assigned to such ingredients. * Large variations in ruminal degradation occur within and among feeds. The ruminal degradability of different samples of any one feed should be measured to determine their true nutritive value for feeding ruminants. * Within most concentrate ingredients examined, the variation in small intestinal digestibility (SID) due to source indicates a range in the quantity of amino acids supplied to the animal for productive purposes. The more rapid and cost effective in vitro technique can be used to screen the SID of concentrate ingredients. * Target volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations and proportions may be produced by varying the proportions of the individual ingredients in a concentrate ration. * An in vitro procedure allowed VFA production to be measured across a large range of feeds under standardised conditions. * On average, 75% of gas produced during ruminal fermentation consists of carbon dioxide. The variation in methane production among individual concentrate ingredients provides an opportunity to formulate rations to minimize environmental pollution with methane.