• Pathways for nutrient loss to water with emphasis on phosphorus

      Tunney, Hubert; Kiely, Gerard; Morgan, Ger; Moles, Richard; Byrne, Paul; Jordan, Philip; Daly, Karen M.; Doody, Donnacha G.; Kurz, Isabelle; Bourke, David; et al. (Teagasc, 01/06/2007)
      The main objective of this project was to study phosphorus (P) loss from agricultural land under a range of conditions in Ireland, to quantify the main factors influencing losses and make recommendations on ways to reduce these losses. This report is a synthesis of the main conclusions and recommendations from the results of the studies. The final reports from the individual sub-projects in this project are available from the EPA (www.epa.ie).
    • Pathways for Nutrient Loss to Water; Slurry and Fertilizer Spreading

      Ryan, T. Declan; Holden, Nicholas M.; Carton, Owen T.; Fitzgerald, D.; Murphy, F.; Environmental Protection Agency (Teagasc, 08/07/2008)
      There are almost 150,000 farms in Ireland and these contribute substantial quantities of N and P to inland and coastal waters. Some of these nutrients are carried from wet soils by overland flow and by leaching from dry soils. Farm practice can reduce the loss from farms by judicious management of nutrients. Improvements are required to diminish export of nutrients without impairing operations on the farm. Literature regarding nutrient loss from agriculture was reviewed in this project and maps were prepared to predict best slurry spreading times around Ireland. Two further maps were prepared to show slurry storage requirement on farms.
    • Pathways for Nutrient Loss to Water; Slurry and Fertilizer Spreading.

      Ryan, Declan; Holden, Nicholas M.; Carton, Owen T.; Fitzgerald, D.; Murphy, F. (Teagasc, 2008-07-08)
      The objectives of this work were as follows: • To critically review information in existing literature and data. This would help to develop an improved understanding of the factors contributing to pollution by P and N. • To identify regional opportunities for spreading slurry • To estimate the regional opportunities for storing slurry These objectives were pursued in the following way. The first target was addressed by literature review, by an in-depth review of the Fertiliser Use Survey (Coulter et al., 2002) and by a revised statistical analysis of nutrient loss data from former trials at Johnstown Castle. For objective 2, a mapping exercise, using detailed rainfall data, indicated the climate risk element of slurry spreading. A similar approach was adopted for the third objective where climate and other data were used to plot maps of slurry storage requirement.
    • The Performance of Cannabis Sativa (HEMP) as a Fibre Source for Medium Density Fibre Board (MDF).

      Crowley, J.G. (Teagasc, 2001-05-01)
      Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) was successfully grown over a three-year period without the use of agrochemicals, and with a relatively low input of nitrogen fertilizer at 120 kg/ha (96 units/ac). The yields achieved were encouraging at an average of 12.5 t/ha of whole stems at 15% m.c. over the three years. Sowing in early- to mid-April at a seed rate of half the conventional recommended rate of 50 kg/ha proved to be sufficient to achieve the maximum yield of stems where long fibre yield and finess (quality) are not required. For this study the hemp was produced as a raw material for the fibre board industry, where the whole stem and not just the long blast fibre is required. Hemp is relatively disease-free with Botrytis and Sclerotinia the only diseases encountered. For both, spraying is not possible due to the height of the crop. Infection rarely causes economic losses. Harvesting hemp proved difficult with conventional farm harvesting equipment. The development of the hemp crop as an industrial raw material will require the development of harvesting, chopping and storage techniques that can cope with the height, bulk and fibrous nature of the crop.
    • Phosphorus loss from soil to water.

      Tunney, Hubert; Carton, Owen T.; O'Donnell, T.; Fanning, A. (Teagasc, 1998-12-01)
      The work described under this project covers field work on phosphorus(P) loss from soil to water under field conditions. In addition two International Workshops on P loss to water, held in Ireland in 1995 and 1998, are also covered under this project. The results indicate that P loss to water is a complex process and it is influenced by a number of factors, including hydrology of the soil, rates and timing of P application and soil P levels. Most work on this subject indicates that there is a positive relationship between soil test P levels and P loss to water. There is need for further work to establish the relative contribution of the different variables involved in P loss from soil to water for different soils and farming conditions. This should help provide answers to the most sustainable methods to minimise losses of P to water and ensure that agricultural production is compatible with good water quality.
    • Phosphorus Retention and sorption by constructed wetland soils.

      Dunne, E.; Culleton, Noel; O'Donovan, Grace; Harrington, Rory (Teagasc, 2005-01-01)
      Phosphorus plays a major role in the eutrophication of freshwater systems. Wetland systems either natural or constructed have an inherent ability to cycle and retain P. Physical, chemical and biological processes regulate P retention in wetland soils and sediments. Of those processes, sorption and precipitation are important in retaining P. Sorption is typically greater under aerobic soil/sediment conditions than anaerobic conditions. Under anaerobic conditions, Fe plays a major role in P dynamics, whereas Al is not affected by changes in redox. Precipitation of P as insoluble Ca bound P is a dominant transformation at high pH. Long-term P retention by wetland systems includes accretion and decomposition of organic and detrital material, and its associated P content. Case studies reviewed illustrated that P retention in natural and constructed wetland systems can vary by several orders of 30 magnitude depending on site-specific factors. The literature reviewed also indicates that using wetlands to retain P from agricultural practices is significant and variable.
    • Physical Impact of Livestock on the Hill Environment.

      Walsh, Michael; Collins, J.F.; Guinan, L.; Clavin, D.J.; Nixon, D. (Teagasc, 2001-06-01)
      The overall objective of this work was to provide quantitative and objective information on the role of livestock on changes over time in vegetation and soils in the hill areas and to develop a suitable monitoring programme.
    • Physiological and behavioural aspects of housing stress in cattle.

      Earley, Bernadette; Gupta, Sandeep; Murray, Margaret; Prendiville, Daniel J. (Teagasc, 2008-12-01)
      The effect of various space allowances on pituitary, adrenal, immune responses and performance was investigated in 72 Holstein x Friesian bulls.The effect of transporting bulls for 12-h by road previously housed for 96 days at three space allowances (1.2, 2.7, 4.2 m2 per bull) on adrenal, haematological, immune responses, body temperature and performance was investigated. The effect of repeated regrouping and relocation (R&R) on behaviour of steers was investigated. The effect of repeated regrouping and relocation (R&R) of cattle on hypothalamicpituitary- adrenal (HPA) axis, immune function, blood biochemical, hematological variables and ADG, was investigated.
    • Plant Populations and Row Widths for Diploid Sugar-beet Varieties.

      Rice, B. (Teagasc, 1999-09-01)
      The aim of this work was to see whether the introduction of diploid varieties, with their more erect leaf growth, would require any adjustment of the traditional plant spacing and row width recommendations for sugar beet. Five trials were carried out in 1996-98 in which the diploid variety Celt was sown at three row widths: 51, 56 and 61 cm. At each row width, seed spacings were adjusted to give four plant densities between 30,000 and 89,000 plants/ha. In four of the trials, field establishment was between 75 and 90%. In these trials, there was a slight increase in sugar yield with population up to 75,000 plants/ha, and little or no change above this level. There was a slight increase in extractability at higher populations, but not sufficient to have a significant effect on extractable sugar yield. In one trial where plant establishment was reduced by very cold weather, yield and sugar content continued to increase up to the highest plant count of 65,000 plants/ha. Over the five trials, there were no yield or quality differences between 51- and 56-cm rows. There was a reduction of 3.5% in extractable sugar yield in 61-cm rows, though this reached statistical significance in only one trial. Taking into account the high emergence that is normally achieved with diploid varieties, these results suggest that no change should be made to the seed spacings currently recommended for triploid varieties. For those using 61-cm rows, a small yield increase could probably be achieved by reducing row width.
    • Policy Analysis for the Irish Agricultural Sector: The impact of a WTO Agreement on the Irish Agricultural Sector

      Donnellan, Trevor (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      Using dynamically recursive partial equilibrium models of Irish, EU and World agricultural commodity markets, research undertaken under projects 5158, 5159 and 5160 formed the basis of the empirically based policy analysis that the FAPRI-Ireland aggregate sector modelling team, based at Rural Economy Research Centre (RERC), has provided to Irish and EU agricultural policy makers. Under the three projects (5158, 5159 and 5160), which began in January 2003, numerous analyses of CAP reform proposals and agreements were undertaken. The full details of all of the analysis conducted are given below and are available from the FAPRI-Ireland website www.tnet.teagasc.ie/fapri). In this end of project report the most recent analysis, relating to the possible impact of the still on going Doha Round of WTO negotiations is presented relative to a Baseline under which current agricultural and trade policy is assumed to continue unchanged over a ten year horizon (2006 to 2015).
    • Policy Changes in the Crops Sector and Projections for Incomes and Costs in Agriculture

      McQuinn, Kieran; Behan, Jasmina (Teagasc, 2002-12-01)
      The research conducted under the projects 4821 and 4823 represents a continuation of project 4345, which has developed economic models of the Irish crops sector, agricultural inputs and incomes. These models are integrated within the FAPRI-Ireland model of the agricultural sector which is a joint undertaking between the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI)1 and Teagasc. The crops model links to other Irish commodity models and an Irish inputs model to generate an income figure for Irish agriculture which is then projected forward on a 10 year basis. In this research, the models were used to produce projections for the Irish crop sector, inputs and incomes for the period 2000-2010. These projections were generated under three policy scenarios. First, the models were run assuming that agricultural policy would remain unchanged throughout the projection period. Subsequently, these “baseline” projections were compared with projections generated assuming alternative policy scenarios. In 2001, the baseline was compared with the policy scenario of reduced or eliminated export subsidies. This scenario was designed to reflect possible changes in trade policy resulting from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Millennium Round negotiations. In 2002, the baseline projections (now modified to include the policy changes that occurred in 2001) were compared with projections under a policy scenario which included further extensification of livestock production. This scenario was designed as a second guess to the policy reform proposals under the Mid-Term review (MTR) of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which became available in July 20022. The general objective is to generate projections for the Irish: 1. crop sector 2. agricultural inputs 3. agricultural incomes. The projections are generated under the existing policy framework as well as under alternative policy scenarios. Subsequently, the quantitative effect of each scenario is then gauged. The crops, inputs and incomes models are components of the FAPRI-Ireland modelling system developed to generate projections and conduct policy analysis for the Irish agricultural sector. The modelling framework consists of a system of econometrically estimated equations and linkages between agricultural variables across commodity sectors. Through the collaboration with FAPRI, models are also linked with their EU and world agricultural models. Therefore, in generating projections the following is ensured: • the projections of agricultural outputs in Ireland are generated taking formal account of international market developments, and • the most relevant policy levers associated with the CAP are fully incorporated within the projections. In 2001, the projections for Irish crops, inputs and incomes were generated under two policy scenarios. First, it was assumed that there would be no change in agricultural policy over the projection period. Second, the analysis included the effect of both a reduction in export refund limits and an elimination of export refunds. Under the 2001 baseline, Irish grain prices are projected to decrease in nominal terms over the period 2000-2010. The value of wheat output is projected to increase, while the value of barley output is set to decrease. The demand for inputs is projected to decline reflecting the reduced intensity of agricultural production. In aggregate terms it is projected that there would be little change in overall agricultural income. An export subsidy reduction would lead to a decline in grain prices relative to the baseline. This reduction would be more pronounced if export refunds were eliminated. While, agricultural income is not largely affected by the reduction in export subsidies, the elimination of refunds, leads to the reduction of 20 percent in income relative to the baseline projections. In 2002, projections, covering the period 2001-2010, were generated for a revised baseline and a policy scenario which included further extensification of livestock production. In general, the revised baseline projections are not significantly different from the baseline 2001. The extensification of livestock production is projected to lead to a reduction in inputs consumed, including feed, energy and fertiliser application. Under this scenario the Irish agricultural income in 2010 increases relative to the baseline projection, primarily due to the increase in the extensification payments.
    • POLICY options

      Dunne, William; O'Connell, John J.; Shanahan, Ultan (Teagasc, 01/09/2009)
      The incomes of Irish cattle farmers benefited greatly from the reform of the CAP for beef and cereals in 1992 and more recently under Agenda 2000. In both of these reforms the institutional support prices were reduced and animal-based direct payments (DPs) were used to compensate farmers for the anticipated market price reductions.
    • Population and Virulence Factor Analysis of Staphylococcus aureus from Bovine Mastitis.

      Fitzgerald, J.R.; Meaney, William J; Hartigan, Patrick J.; Smyth, Cyril James (2000-11-01)
      Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of bovine mastitis and the disease is responsible for substantial economic losses in the dairy industry world-wide. A large number of commonly accepted virulence factors are associated with S. aureus but it is yet to be elucidated which of these are important for infection of the bovine udder. A rational and effective strategy for the control of intramammary infections may need to be directed against clones of S. aureus that commonly cause disease. The objective of this study was to characterise the genetic variance of S. aureus isolate populations from infected udders in Ireland using RAPD-PCR, ribotyping and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE). Similar S. aureus isolates collected in the USA were also typed in order to compare strain differences in staphylococcal populations in a different environment. Phenotypic diversity based on a number of presumed virulence factors together with antibiotic sensitivity was examined and correlations between phenotype and genotype were identified, if present. In addition, a pathogenicity island encoding multiple superantigens was completely sequenced and characterised. Knockout mutants of these superantigens were also constructed and in vitro functional analysis performed. Laboratory animal experiments (mice and rabbits) were used to study the relative pathogenicity of individual staphylococcal strains (mice) and also to measure the immunological responses after prolonged exposure to the predominant strains (rabbits).
    • Potato Breeding at Oak Park 2000-2006

      Dowley, L.J.; Griffin, Denis (Teagasc, 01/07/2009)
      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 evaluation of the main domestic and foreign varieties for suitability for the Irish market. 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 both 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 1). This report covers the period 2001-2006 (RMIS NO 4720).
    • Potential for gene-flow from cultivated Irish grasses and cereals

      Mullins, Ewen; Ryan, Eimear; Meade, Connor (Teagasc, 01/08/2009)
      The importance of gene movement from cultivated plants has been highlighted in regard to minimising the movement of seed and/or pollen between GM and non-GM crops (i.e. gene flow). Although ryegrass covers in excess of 90% of Ireland’s agricultural area, very little is known about gene flow from ryegrass populations from an Irish context. The goal of this project was to address this lack of data by measuring the degree of pollen-mediated gene-flow between two Lolium spp. in a field environment. Ryegrass (esp. Lolium perenne) was selected because as the dominant pasture grass it is critical for the livestock industry as well as being a current target for novel improvements. The results from this research indicate that the potential for pollen-mediated gene flow from perennial ryegrass decreases exponentially with increased distance from the pollen source, with hybridisation events recorded out at 192m. In parallel to this research, a separate study was conducted to assess the degree of genetic diversity within feral and wild Lolium spp across Ireland and also within the important crop weed Avena fatua (‘wild oats’); thereby providing an insight into the degree of historic gene flow that has occurred within each species and in regard to the latter, identifying the potential for non-native A. fatua to colonise the Irish agrienvironment.
    • The potential of new crop introductions

      Crowley, J.G. (Teagasc, 1998-12-01)
      As part of the ongoing Alternative Crops research programme at Oak Park five new crop species were evaluated. The three oilseeds, Turnip rape, Winter linseed and Sunflowers produced promising results with a potential for commercialisation. Commercial development depends, to a large extent, on the provisions of an oilseed crushing facility in Ireland. Phacelia performs well and is an option for set-aside management or as a means of reducing nitrate leaching. Meadowfoam development, in terms of breeding agriculturally acceptable varieties, has still some way to go before the crop could be considered as a commercially viable proposition. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the field performance of a number of crop species not previously grown in Ireland. Although the species evaluated, Turnip rape (Brassica rapa, var. annua) Winter linseed (Linum usitatissimum), Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus L.), Phacelia and Meadowfoam (Limanthes alba), are widely grown in other EU countries very little data is available on their agronomic performance in Ireland.
    • The potential role of environmental economics in Teagasc - A scoping excercise

      Hynes, Stephen (Teagasc, 2006-12-01)
      Environmental economics is a new area within the Teagasc vision programme. It is a distinct branch of economics that acknowledges the value of both the environment and economic activity and makes choices based on those values. The goal is to balance the economic activity and the environmental impacts by taking into account all the costs and benefits. The theories are designed to take into account pollution and natural resource depletion, which the current model of market systems fails to do. This (failure) needs to be addressed by correcting prices so they take into account "external" costs. The aim of this project was to look broadly at theses issues in relation to agriculture and natural resource usage in Ireland. In particular it focused on the role that this branch of economics may play in the research agenda of Teagasc in the future. The project was very short in duration (7 months) and was completed on-time (30th November 2006). The main objectives of this project were: (i) the production of a document outlining what environmental economics involves and the potential role of environmental economics within Teagasc (ii) the organisation of a meeting with leading environmental economists and representatives from environmental institutions in Ireland such as the EPA, SEI, MI and the DoE in order to discuss the potential role of Teagasc within the environmental economic research community in Ireland. Ultimately, this short project was designed to give line management and fellow staff members an overview of what is meant by the term Environmental Economics and what type of research agenda may develop within Teagasc under this heading. It was also intended that fellow staff members would have a chance to suggest and participate in new environmental economic projects in the future.
    • The Potentional of Recovered Vegetable Oil and Tallow as Vehicle Fuels

      Rice, B.; Frohlich, A. (Teagasc, 2005-04-01)
      The use of recovered vegetable oil (RVO) and tallow as vehicle fuels was investigated. Two options were considered; use in unprocessed form in specially adapted engines, and the production of biodiesel for use in unmodified engines. Two vehicles were modified to allow the use of RVO as fuel. Their performance in terms of power and fuel economy was acceptable, but fuel filter blockage problems would need to be resolved and long-term effects on engine life investigated before this approach could be recommended. Tallow with high free-fatty-acid content was esterified by a two-stage process that could be used in a simple plant and produce biodiesel of reasonable quality. High ester yields were obtained in laboratory and pilot-scale trials. Problems of layer separation remain to be resolved, and the process needs to be streamlined to allow a high throughput to be achieved. In comparing the costs of these fuels with each other and with mineral diesel, allowance must be made for any differences in fuel economy and for the cost of engine conversion kits. Including these items, the use of RVO in a converted engine would have a slightly lower cost than its use as biodiesel. Biodiesel from tallow is likely to be more expensive than from RVO if either ester yield or plant capacity is significantly reduced.
    • Practical steps to improve milk quality

      O'Brien, Bernadette (Teagasc, 2008-09-07)
      The provision of premium quality milk is in the interest of all sectors. The detail of the milk production process necessary to achieve these standards is particularly important now due to new pressures from the necessary expansion of herds and the reality of reduced labour supply. There is a general consensus that the quality of milk with respect to SCC, TBC and residues, such as antibiotics, iodine and trichloromethane needs to be addressed immediately.The overall objective of this booklet is to provide guidelines and recommendations for the on-farm milk production process such that the milk produced may achieve increasingly stringent milk hygiene and processing quality standards. It is intended that the genuine problem areas in relation to milk quality will be targeted and an increased awareness and perception of milk quality be provided.
    • 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.