• Identification of the key compounds responsible for Cheddar cheese flavour

      Beresford, Tom; Wallace, J.; Aherne, Seamus; Drinan, Finbarr; Eason, D.; Corcoran, M.O.; Mulholland, E.; Hannon, John A. (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      There is a poor understanding of the relationship between organoleptic assessment of cheese and quantitative analysis of flavour compounds. Further, the contribution of particular cheese-making parameters such as ripening temperature and starter culture has not been fully elucidated. During the ripening of most cheese varieties complex chemical conversions occur within the cheese matrix. In most cheese varieties breakdown of protein is the most important flavour development pathway. The primary cheese protein, casein, is degraded enzymatically to short peptides and free amino acids. The agents primarily responsible for these conversions are the residual rennet that is retained in the cheese curd at the end of the manufacturing phase and the proteinases and peptidases that are associated with the starter bacteria. While the rate and degree of proteolysis are of vital significance for desired flavour development, the direct products of proteolysis do not fully define cheese flavour. Much research is now demonstrating that the further biochemical and chemical conversions of the products of proteolysis, in particular the amino acids, are necessary for full flavour development. The products produced by these pathways are volatile at low boiling points and are thus released during mastication of the cheese in the mouth. Many of these volatile compounds contribute to the flavour sensation experienced by the consumer. A very wide spectrum of such compounds have been isolated from cheese, in excess of two hundred in some cheese varieties. It is now generally accepted that there is no individual compound which defines cheese flavour completely and that the flavour sensation is the result of numerous compounds present in the correct proportions. This has become known as the Component Balance Theory . The application of modern analytical techniques as proposed in this project would provide a greater understanding of the significant flavour compounds in Cheddar cheese and help to identify the impact of specific cheese-making parameters such as starter flora and ripening temperature on the production of volatile flavour compounds. This data would assist the general programme on flavour improvement of cheese which should ultimately benefit the cheese manufacturer. Hence this project set out to develop methods to identify the key flavour compounds in Cheddar cheese. These techniques would then be applied to experimental and commercial cheeses during ripening in an effort to identify key compounds and the influence of starter cultures and ripening temperature on their production.
    • Identification Of Environmental Variables For Use In Monitoring For The Evaluation Of The Rural Environment Protection Scheme

      Finn, John; Kavanagh, B.; Flynn, M.; Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland; 2001-EEA/DS10-M2 (Teagasc, 01/04/2005)
      The aim of this study was to identify and select quantitative environmental attributes for a monitoring programme that may be integrated into an environmental evaluation of Ireland’s agri-environmental scheme. This was achieved primarily by reviewing a range of agri-environmental indicators and suggesting indicators that would be appropriate for monitoring the REPS. The study conducted a desk review to collate information on current best practice in monitoring for environmental quality. A Project Group (comprising representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], Department of Agriculture and Food [DAF], Teagasc, and the project supervisors) advised on the ongoing development of the project. There was a consultation process with national experts, and with a selection of stakeholder organisations with an interest in monitoring the environmental impact of the REPS.
    • The Identification of Sites and Farming Systems Prone to Pollution by Surface Runoff.

      Ryan, T. Declan (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      There is mounting evidence that overland flow from land contributes to pollution of surface water. No convenient method exists to identify fields that generate overland flow. Therefore the WT model has been developed to predict overland flow from any small parcel of land. Water table tubes and flow meters were installed in three sites in Wexford and Carlow. The water table data, along with rainfall and evaporation data, were entered into the WT model to calculate overland flow and other parameters over a 7-month period. Additional measurements of water table level were taken using maximum level indicators with a view to reducing field costs. All three sites had layers of sand in the sub-soil. It is likely that the sand allowed water to flow under the soil and contributed to overland flow. Values from the WT model matched the field measurements of water table closely and predicted overland flow with reasonable accuracy. One pipe in each field was identified which could indicate when the field was sufficiently dry for spreading slurry. The maximum level indicators recorded water table accurately. However, the lack of synchronisation of this data, with weather data, reduced slightly the precision of the model. The WT model can identify fields prone to overland flow and show when a field is sufficiently dry to accept slurry. Proposed economies promise to reduce the cost of investigation.
    • Impact analysis of the CAP reform on main agricultural commodities

      Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; European Commission; 150267-2005-FIED-NL (Teagasc, 15/03/2007)
      This study has been carried out for the European Commission's Joint Research Centre to analyze agricultural policies at Member State, EU15 and EU25 levels as well as for Bulgaria and Romania. The modelling tool allows for projections and policy analysis (up to a 10 year horizon) for the enlarged EU.
    • The Impact of Direct Payments on Farm Income Distribution.

      Frawley, J.P.; Keeney, Mary (Teagasc, 2000-11-01)
      The switch in emphasis from market support systems in the 1992 CAP reform toward direct payments resulted in a dramatic increase in financial support terms, from £336.7 million in 1991 to £915.3 million in 1999 (current prices). The impact of this change in Irish agricultural policy was to increase substantially the dependency of farmers, with the exception of dairy farmers, on the ‘cheque in the post’ for a farm income. It is the impact of these changes on the distribution of farm income which is of concern in this study. In line with these policy changes the proportion of average family farm income derived from the market (as opposed to direct payments) decreased from 73.3 per cent in 1993 to 37.1 per cent in 1997. At the same time the corresponding proportions for direct payments increased from 26.7 per cent to 62.9 per cent. Analysis of the distribution of family farm income by deciles (based on FFI) and for all farms indicates a more equitable distribution of income between 1993 and 1997. This improvement in equity is attributed to the effects of direct payments on farm incomes. Analysis decomposing the individual effects of selected measures show that (i) the suckler cow premia, and (ii) the headage payments (Livestock headage payments in the Disadvantaged Areas) were the most effective measures in favouring income distribution equity. Cross compliance schemes (REPS and extensification) and the special beef premia had a more moderate effect in terms of equity while the arable aid payments contributed least to farm income equity. The market-derived income component had a high negative effect on equity of farm income distribution. The inclusion of a high proportion of dairy farmers among those with high farm incomes is a likely factor in this respect.
    • The impact of feed resource costs on the relative competitiveness of beef with other meats

      Dunne, William; Shanahan, Ultan; O'Connell, John J. (Teagasc, 01/11/2008)
      These reforms represented a major turning point in fundamental structure of EU agricultural policy. This, at the time of implementation, created much uncertainty at both institutional and farm level in relation to future feed resource costs, cattle and beef prices and related market outlooks. However, as this report shows, the reality for Irish cattle farmers was rather different. As a result much of the research effort during the lifespan of the project was diverted to explaining the causes of the unforeseen outcomes together with the implications of policy decisions and related market developments.
    • The impact of grazing cattle on soil physical properties and nutrient concentrations in overland flow from pasture, Part B

      Kurz, Isabelle; O’Reilly, Conor; Tunney, Hubert; Bourke, David; Environmental Protection Agency (Teagasc, 01/06/2007)
      The loss of nutrients from agricultural land to water bodies is a serious concern in many countries. To gain information on the contribution of grazing animals to diffuse nutrient losses from pasture areas to water, this study looked at the impact of cattle on nutrient concentrations in overland flow and on soil hydrology (bulk density, macroporosity and resistance to penetration). Rainfall simulations to produce overland flow were conducted and soil physical measurements were taken on experimental plots assigned to one of two treatments: 1) cattle had unrestricted access to the plot; 2) cattle could graze the plot but they could neither walk on the plot area nor deposit excrements on it. Areas to which the cattle had free access were characterised by 57%-83% lower macroporosity, by 8%-17% higher bulk density and by 27%-50% higher resistance to penetration than areas from which the cattle were excluded. The nutrients in overland flow from grassland that were affected by the presence of grazing animals were mainly the particulate nitrogen, the organic phosphorus and the potassium concentrations. Overall, the presence of cattle had a longer lasting effect on the soil hydrological parameters measured than on the nutrient concentrations in overland flow.
    • Impact of Livestock on Hill Environment

      Walsh, Michael (Teagasc, 2002-01-01)
      The hill and mountain landscape of western Ireland is an area of high scenic value as well as contributing to the livelihood of local farmers mainly through extensive grazing. Measures that were intended to support lamb prices led to increased ewe numbers. Public concern attributed this increase to an apparent deterioration in the status of the semi-natural vegetation and to an increase in the rate of soil erosion. In the absence of an existing databank, Teagasc undertook a research programme to quantify the impact of hill sheep on the semi-natural vegetation, the progress of soil erosion and changes in certain weather elements e.g. ‘driving rain’. A detailed database of the physical background (physiography and soils) of the Teagasc hill sheep farm, Leenaun, was compiled on the basis of a grid, 100 m x 100 m. Changes in the frequency of vegetation on the unimproved hill were monitored, 1995-2002, by point quadrat. Ten permanent exclosures representing the main vegetation types and a controlled grazing experiment on the upper steep slope were established. Sequential aerial photography (1973/7-1996/8) for selected sites in western counties and wind and rain data (1957-2000) for five western synoptic stations were obtained. The classification of the peatland and heathland habitats was considered. Analysis of data highlighted a range of issues among which were the physical complexity and fragility of the landscape, the sustainability of the hill sheep system on the Teagasc hill sheep farm, the beneficial effects of controlled grazing, the progressive erosion of hill soils and an increase in high intensity levels of ‘driving rain’. The classification of the habitats, peatland and heathland, should encompass other forms of biodiversity as well as flora. The sustainable use of this landscape requires a deep knowledge of the of the grazing management system, which increasingly involves part-time farming, and its impact on the soils and semi-natural vegetation.
    • The impact of the grazing animal on phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium and suspended solids loss from grazed pastures, Part A

      Tunney, Hubert; Kurz, Isabelle; Bourke, David; O'Reilly, Colin; Jeffrey, D.W.; Dowding, P.; Foy, B.; Kilpatrick, D.J.; Haygarth, P. (Teagasc, 01/06/2007)
      In Ireland 90% of the 4.2 million ha of farmland is grassland. Phosphorus deficiency limited grassland production in Ireland and this was corrected by chemical fertiliser use in the 1960s and 1970s. The increased inputs of fertilisers led to increased intensification of grassland with a doubling of grass yield and of grazing animal numbers, from about 3 million to over 6 million livestock units. There is little information on relative contribution of increased chemical fertiliser use compared to increased grazing animal numbers on phosphorus loss to water. The main objective of this study was to obtain information on nutrient loss, particularly phosphorus, in overland flow from cut and grazed grassland plots, with a range of soil test phosphorus levels over three years and implications.
    • The Importance of Different On-Farm Feeding and Management Practices on Milk Protein Concentration and Yield

      Murphy, J.J.; Harrington, D.; Cliffe, D.; Crilly, Jim (Teagasc, 2006-01-01)
      The objective of this project was to identify the most important factors which influence milk protein concentrations and yields on farms. Data collected on approximately 300 DairyMis farms were subjected to statistical evaluation by regression analysis, analysis of variance and factor analysis. The range in protein concentrations was 12% of the mean value compared to a variation in protein yield of 86% of the mean. The range in milk yield was 90% of the mean value. Initially data from 1995 were analysed. The regression model used only accounted for 4% of the variation between farms in milk protein concentration but for over 97% of the variation in milk protein yield. Milk protein yield was highly correlated with milk yield. Confining the analysis to Spring-calving herds only in 1995 (n=128) gave similar results but including genetic data in the regression model, for those spring-calving herds for which it was available (n = 36), explained approximately 25% of the variation in protein concentration. Analysis of variance on the spring-calving herd data (for 1994, 1995 and 1996) divided into quartiles on the basis of protein concentration indicated that higher protein concentration was associated with later calving, a higher proportion of milk produced on pasture and lower milk yield per cow. Factor analysis on all herds in 1994, 1995 and 1996 indicated that higher protein concentration was associated with Spring-calving herds, larger herds and with grass based milk production. These three factors accounted for 8% of the observed variation in milk protein concentration.
    • Improved Food Safety through Sterility of Air in Food Processing and Packaging.

      O'Callaghan, Donal; Murphy, P.; Lynch, Denise B; Coleman, S. (Teagasc, 1999-06-01)
      The aims of this research were to develop reliable methods for evaluating the level of airborne micro-organisms in food processing facilities and to study the viability and behaviour of micro-organisms in air filtration systems. The main conclusions were as follows: · Assessment of air quality involves monitoring both particulate and microbial levels as there is no simple relationship between these phenomena in a food process environment. · The large fluctuations in microbial levels found in air in these studies underline the necessity of frequent and regular air sampling in processing facilities. · It was established that micro-organisms can grow inside an air filter under certain environmental conditions and give rise to intermittent microbial germ contamination of the cleaned air. · It was demonstrated that flowing air affects the survival of microorganisms and the survival rate is dependent on filter class. Hence more emphasis on filter design aimed at effective microbial control is advised. · A combined system for filtering and sterilisation by ozone was demonstrated to be an efficient technique for extending the microbial separation efficiency of air filters.
    • Improved Technologies For Baled Silage.

      O'Kiely, Padraig; Forristal, Dermot; Brady, K.; McNamara, Keelan; Lenehan, J.J.; Fuller, Hubert T.; Whelan, Jackie (Teagasc, 2002-12-01)
      This present report summaries the findings of the more recent research on baled silage.The contents of this report are presented under the following headings:1. Characteristics of baled silage on Irish farms - a survey 2. Mechanisation in the field 3. Forage and plastic 4. Schzophyllum commune 5. Preventing wildlife damage 6. Growth by cattle
    • Improving Technology Transfer and Research Commercialisation in the Irish Food Innovation System

      Henchion, Maeve; O'Reilly, Paul; Kelly, Deborah; Buckley, Marie; Downey, Gerard (Teagasc, 01/10/2009)
      The process by which knowledge generated by publicly-funded research is transferred to industry – technology transfer – has been criticised as being inefficient and having limited success. This research project aimed to obtain a better understanding of the technology transfer process and thereby contribute to policy development and provide guidance for researchers to improve the process. Through a series of focus groups, surveys, case studies and depth interviews, the research identified five key challenges that exist in the context of the Irish food innovation system. These relate to communication, industry capabilities, research capabilities, strategic management and socialisation. To address these challenges, a selection of tools, illustrative case studies and recommendations for a range of stakeholders on how to deal with each of these challenges is provided on the project website (www.dit.ie/toolbox/).
    • Improving the quality of gluten-free products

      Gallagher, Eimear; McCarthy, Denise; Gormley, Ronan T.; Arendt, Elke (Teagasc, 2004-03)
      The incidence of coeliac disease or other allergic reactions/intolerances to gluten is increasing, largely due to improved diagnostic procedures and changes in eating habits. The worldwide number of sufferers of coeliac disease has been predicted to increase by a factor of ten over the next number of years, resulting in a growing market for gluten-free cereal-based products. Market research has shown that many of the products currently on sale are of inferior quality. The replacement of gluten presents a major technological challenge, as it is an essential structure-building protein which is necessary for formulating high quality cereal-based goods. Therefore, the production of high quality gluten-free bread is difficult.
    • Improving the Quality of Low Fat Cheddar Cheese

      Guinee, Timothy P.; Fenelon, Mark; O'Kennedy, Brendan; Mulholland, E. (Teagasc, 1999-02-01)
      The aims of this study were to elucidate the contribution of fat to cheese biochemistry and texture and to improve the texture and flavour of half-fat Cheddar cheese by modifications in make procedure, the addition of a fat mimetic, and/or the use of novel starter cultures/bacterial culture adjuncts. The main conclusions were as follows: A 'Moorepark Process' has been established for the production of half-fat Cheddar cheese with improved sensory acceptability. The flavour and texture of half-fat (17% w/w) Cheddar was improved by modification of the cheesemaking procedure and/or ripening conditions and through the use of novel starter cultures and/or bacterial culture adjuncts. Extensive databases have been compiled on: the effects of fat on the compositional, microbiological, biochemical, rheological and sensory properties of, and the yield of, Cheddar cheese. the compositional, biochemical and sensory characteristics of commercial Cheddar cheeses of different fat levels, available on the Irish and UK markets. Reduction in the fat level of Cheddar cheese resulted in a marked deterioration both in texture and flavour due to: increases in cheese hardness and fracture stress, indicating that the cheese became more elastic, tough and less amenable to mastication. a higher ratio of secondary-to-primary proteolysis a reduction in the level of primary proteolysis and an increase in the concentration of hydrophobic peptides which are conducive to bitterness.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Increasing intake by the development of optimal grazing management in relation to animal behaviour at pasture.

      Linnane, M.; Brereton, A. J.; Giller, P.S. (Teagasc, 1999-12-01)
      In each month from July to December, grazing activity for each of 12 animals was recorded over a number of days continuously using vibrarecorders. The work was done at Killarney National Park and the animals were heifers of the Kerry breed living under semi-natural conditions with abundant pasture available. In July (16 hour day-length) - all animals began grazing at dawn and grazed for about 2.5 hours. This first bout was followed at intervals of about 2 hours by shorter bouts each about one hour in duration. In late afternoon another bout commenced which continued for 4 to 5 hours through until after dusk. During darkness, about midnight, there was a short bout of grazing. All of the animals behaved thus and the pattern was repeated each day. Total grazing time was near 11 hours each day. By October day-length had decreased. There was still a bout at dawn and a bout at sunset. As in July there were three smaller bouts but all occurred during darkness. The total grazing time was close to 11 hours as before. The pattern of grazing was consistent between animals and days. In August-September-October and November there were always two major bouts of grazing related to dawn and dusk. Grazing total time was always near 11 hours. As day-length decreased the smaller daylight bouts were progressively replaced by bouts during darkness. Similar patterns were also found in studies of grazing Holstein/Friesian heifers and of housed non-lactating cows at Moorepark. The primary feature of the grazing pattern is the bout. The bout implies that there is a control that determines when grazing commences and ends. Rumen capacity plays a part but does not explain why minor bouts are only one hour and major bouts are more than 4 hours. The rigid association of the two major bouts with dawn and dusk implies that light also plays a part. That the total grazing time is constant suggests that yet another control is operating that is related to the state of the animal relative to a target state. And this control relates to a 24-hour period. Domestic bovines do not display any patterns of behaviour related to seasonal or lunar cycles. The patterns appear to be circadian and in that case it would not be surprising to find that the suggested light cue was present as a means of measuring the day.
    • Increasing the logistics efficiency of fresh food exports

      Henchion, Maeve; O'Reilly, Paul; Pitts, Eamonn; Crowley, James; Dolan, Martina; Keary, Roisin; Collins, Alan (Teagasc, 1999-10)
      This report is concerned with the impact on the competitiveness of the Irish food processing industry of the logistics process in the food chain including transport, storage and distribution.
    • Increasing the use of AI in suckler herds.

      Diskin, Michael G.; O'Rourke, M.; Roche, J.F.; Sreenan, J.M. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      Reproductive efficiency is a major factor affecting production and economic efficiency of beef herds. For herds using artificial insemination (AI) heat detection rate and calving rate are the two major determinants of compactness of calving and ultimately the calving-to-calving interval. Heat detection is a time consuming repetitive chore that must be carried out up to 5-times each day for as long as AI is used. Heat detection rate, usually measured as submission rate, is hugely variable from herd-toherd but for most herds only between 40% and 70% of cows that exhibit heat are actually detected by the stockman. Despite an increased understanding of the endocrine control of the oestrous cycle the goal of fixed-time insemination is not yet consistently achievable in either cows or heifers treated at different stages of the oestrous cycle and in different physiological states. The overall objective of the this project was to develop an improved cost effective hormonal method to control the time of ovulation to allow beef cows be bred by AI without the need for heat detection. A total of 3 studies were carried out and the results are summarised in this report.