• Field Validation Of Four Decision Support Systems For The Control Of Late Blight In Potatoes

      Dowley, L.J.; Burke, J.J. (Teagasc, 2003-12-01)
      Field experiments were carried out between 2001 and 2003 to determine the efficacy of the NegFry, Simphyt, ProPhy and Plant Plus decision support systems (DSS) in controlling late blight of potatoes compared with routine fungicide treatments. The experiments were also used to determine the potential of the systems to reduce fungicide inputs. Over the three year period of the experiment the 7-day routine programme received an average of 13.7 fungicide applications while the DSS programmes varied between 5.7 and 12.3 applications. All decision support systems resulted in a reduction in the number of fungicide application (Fig. 2). Compared with the routine control, the NegFry and SimPhyt programmes resulted in a 58-44% reduction in application frequency. The ProPhy and Plant Plus programmes resulted in more modest savings of between 10 and 25% (Tables 1 & 2). All fungicide treatments significantly delayed the date of disease onset compared with the untreated control. Compared with the routine control treatment, the NegFry and Plant Plus significantly delayed disease onset in King Edward in 2001 as did NegFry and ProPhy in Rooster. In 2002 there were no differences between treatments in terms of delaying disease onset, while in 2003, disease developed significantly earlier the Plant Plus programme compared with the routine control. In general, the date of disease onset was not significantly different between routine programmes and DSS programmes irrespective of the cultivar. In each of the three years, all fungicide treatments significantly reduced the incidence of foliage blight at the end of the season compared with the untreated control. When compared with the routine control, no decision support system resulted in significantly more foliage blight at the end of the season, irrespective of the cultivar or year. Similar results were achieved when the treatments were compared using the area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC). These results would confirm that none of the DSS’s resulted in inferior disease control when compared with the 7-day routine application of fluazinam. All fungicide treatments resulted in significantly higher marketable yields compared with the untreated control in all years, irrespective of the variety. Within the fungicide treatments the DSS programmes generally out-yielded the routine fungicide treatment. However, these differences were only significant for Plant-Plus in King Edward in 2001. Within the DSS treatments there were no significant differences in marketable yield in any of the years or either of the varieties. Within the fungicide treatments there were no significant differences between treatments in terms of tuber blight control for the resistant variety Rooster. In the case of the more susceptible variety, King Edward, all the DSS programmes resulted in significantly lower levels of tuber blight than the routine Shirlan control in 2001 except for Simphyt. More importantly, the routine Shilan did not result in significantly better tuber blight control in any of the years when compared with any of the DSS programmes. This confirms that all DSS programmes give equivalent tuber blight control to the routine Shirlan application at 7-day intervals even with a very tuber blight susceptible variety.
    • Fluctuations in Energy Intake and Fertility in Cattle.

      Diskin, Michael G.; Sreenan, J.M.; Dunne, L.D.; O'Farrell, Kevin (Teagasc, 2001-12-01)
      Reproductive failure in dairy cows results in fewer calves born, lower milk sales, slower genetic progress and consequently, significant financial loss to the industry. Dairy cattle breed improvement programmes have, at least until very recently, focused primarily on increasing the yields of milk or milk solids. The resulting genetic improvement has led to significant increases in milk yield per cow but this increase is now associated with a significant decline in cow reproductive wastage. An important part of the Teagasc research programme in this area is to determine the time at which embryo loss occurs and also to determine whether the extent of the embryo loss is affected by the energy nutrition of the cow and to devise strategies to reduce its extent. This project has focused on the relationship between changes in dietary energy intake near the time of insemination and the extent and pattern of embryo survival. The main results are summarised in this report and detailed results of the several experiments involved have been published in the papers listed at the end of this report. • • 4 The objectives of this project were to determine the effect of changes in energy intake near the time of insemination on embryo loss rate, on the timing of embryo loss and on the possible biological mechanisms involved. Cross bred heifers were provided with either high or low energy intakes that were based on pasture allowances calculated to provide either 0.8 or 2.0 times their maintenance requirements. These energy intakes were allocated for two weeks before and about five weeks after insemination. The effect of the changes in energy intake on embryo loss and on the time at which embryo loss occurred, relative to the time of insemination, was established. Possible associations between embryo loss and blood concentrations of progesterone, NEFAs, insulin and glucose were examined. A sudden reduction from a high to a low energy intake imposed for two weeks from the day of insemination reduced the subsequent embryo survival rate by 30 percentage points to a survival rate of 38%. When energy intake over this same period was either maintained or increased, embryo survival rate remained high (overall mean, 69%), within a range of 65-71%. The time at which embryo loss occurred was established. Embryo survival or pregnancy rates measured on days 14 and 30 after insemination and at full term were 68%, 76% and 72%, respectively. These results provide new information indicating that most embryo loss, at least in heifers, had occurred on or before day 14 after insemination. There was no evidence of any association between the shortterm changes in energy intake either before or after AI and blood progesterone concentration. Neither was there any evidence that the detrimental effect of the sudden reduction in energy intake on embryo survival was mediated through changes in the systemic concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs) or insulin. There was a suggestion, however, that the detrimental effect of the reduced energy intake may operate through a reduction in systemic glucose concentrations.
    • Food Authentication using Infrared Spectroscopic Methods

      Downey, Gerard; Kelly, J. Daniel (Teagasc, 01/06/2006)
      Confirmation of the authenticity of a food or food ingredient is an increasing challenge for food processors and regulatory authorities. This is especially the case when an added-value claim, such as one relating to geographic origin or a particular processing history, is made on the food label. Regulatory agencies are concerned with the prevention of economic fraud while the food processor needs confirmation of such claims in order to protect a brand, the image of which could be severely damaged should an adulterated ingredient make its way into the branded food product.To be of greatest value, any analytical tool deployed to confirm authenticity claims needs to be portable, easy to use, non-destructive and accurate. Infrared spectroscopy, near and mid-infrared, is a tool which has been demonstrated to possess these properties in a wide range of situations.While some applications in food authenticity have been reported, the work undertaken in this project was designed to explore their capabilities regarding a number of products and authenticity issues of particular interest to the Irish agri-food industry i.e. olive oil, honey, soft fruit purées and apple juice.
    • Food authentication using infrared spectroscopic methods

      Downey, Gerard; Kelly, J. Daniel (Teagasc, 2006-06)
      Confirmation of the authenticity of a food or food ingredient is an increasing challenge for food processors and regulatory authorities. This is especially the case when an added-value claim, such as one relating to geographic origin or a particular processing history, is made on the food label. Regulatory agencies are concerned with the prevention of economic fraud while the food processor needs confirmation of such claims in order to protect a brand, the image of which could be severely damaged should an adulterated ingredient make its way into the branded food product.
    • Food choice and consumer concerns about animal welfare in Ireland

      Meehan, Hilary; Cowan, Cathal; McIntyre, Bridin; European Commission; CT98-3678 (Teagasc, 2002-04)
      Consumer concerns about farm animal welfare and the impact of these concerns on food choice in Ireland were investigated. The aim was to identify and analyse the nature and level of consumer concern. The qualitative and quantitative studies demonstrated that although consumers are concerned about farm animal welfare, this concern is not a priority in food choice. Consumers use animal welfare as an indicator of other product attributes such as food safety, quality and healthiness, which they usually perceive as more important. Consequently, consumers equate good animal welfare standards with good food standards.
    • Food Market studies in - meat packaging, nutritional meat products, speciality cheeses, extruded meats

      Cowan, Cathal; Meehan, Hilary; McIntyre, Bridin; Cronin, Tom (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      This project provided market information to researchers on the likely market success of their innovations in the following four areas: anoxic (oxygen free) packaging, developing new meat products with enhanced nutritional properties & consumer acceptability, speciality cheeses, and convenience meat products.
    • Food residue database

      O'Keeffe, Michael; Kennedy, Orla; Farrell, Frank; Nolan, Marie-Louise; Dooley, Martin; Byrne, Patrick; Nugent, Audrey; Cantwell, Helen; Horne, Elizabeth; Nelson, Victor; et al. (Teagasc, 2001-11)
      The Food Residue Database contains a broad range of residue studies in foods of animal origin for the period 1995 to 2000, covering veterinary drugs, pesticides and contaminants. In most cases, such as antiparasitic drugs, beta-agonists, pesticides, dioxins, mycotoxins, heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the picture for Irish dairy, meat and fish products is good with residue levels being low or non-measurable. In a few cases, such as ivermectin in farmed salmon and tetracycline residues in pork, improvements in the situation were observed with subsequent studies. Antimicrobial residues, in general, are not a problem but levels above MRL values have been found indicating the need for good practice in use of veterinary medicines. A problem with elevated nitrate levels in dairy powders may be resolved by the industry through observance of good manufacturing practices. Summary Reports on all the studies carried out for the Food Residue Database are available to food companies and other interested parties.
    • Food-related lifestyle (frl) segments and the speciality foods market in Great Britain

      Cowan, Cathal; Wycherley, Aoife; McCarthy, Mary (Teagasc, 2008-06)
      This report deals with the speciality food orientation of British consumers. Two approaches to segmentation were taken which were related to two project objectives. Firstly, to understand the degree to which food-related lifestyle (FRL) segments identified in Great Britain in 2003 (Buckley et al., 2003) are speciality orientated and secondly, to segment British consumers based on their speciality food orientation. This study provides an insight into what motivates individuals to purchase speciality foods.
    • Freeze-chilling and gas flushing of raw fish fillets

      Fagan, John; Gormley, Ronan T.; Uí Mhuircheartaigh, Mary M. (Teagasc, 2003-04)
      Freeze-chilling involves freezing and frozen storage followed by thawing and chilled storage. Trials with whiting and mackerel fillets/portions (Part 1) indicated no difference in odour scores (raw samples) between freeze-chilled and chilled samples; however, freeze-chilled salmon portions were inferior to chilled in terms of odour. Fresh fillets received the highest acceptability scores as cooked samples followed by frozen, chilled and freeze-chilled fillets. Freshness indicators were the same for the three species. Freeze-chilled fillets had the highest free fatty acid and peroxide values but the levels were low and did not influence sensory response. The effects of the four treatments on the colour and texture of the raw fillets were small in practical terms and typical shelf-lives in the chill phase of the freeze-chill process were 3 to 5 days. In Part 2, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) was combined with freezechilling to further extend the shelf-life of raw whiting, mackerel and salmon fillets/portions. Typical shelf-lives in the chill phase for the freeze-chilled fillets were 5 (whiting and mackerel) and 7 (salmon) days. Good manufacturing practice coupled with HACCP and careful tempering (thawing) are essential for the successful freeze-chilling of raw fish fillets. Packs should be labelled ‘previously frozen’ for consumer information. It is concluded that freeze-chilling with MAP is a suitable technology for extending the shelf-life of raw fish fillets.
    • Freeze-chilling of ready-to-eat meal components

      Redmond, Grainne; Gormley, Ronan T.; Butler, Francis; Dempsey, Alan; Oxley, Eamon; Gerety, Ailis (Teagasc, 2004-03)
      Freeze-chilling of food consists of freezing and frozen storage followed by thawing and then retailing at chill storage temperatures. It offers logistic, transportation and storage advantages to food manufacturers. Freeze-chilling has particular application to ready-meals and their components. Mashed potato (three cultivars), steamed carrots, steamed green beans and beef lasagne were found suitable for freeze-chilling and their quality and sensory properties compared favourably with their frozen, chilled and fresh counterparts. Modified atmosphere packaging was combined with freeze-chilling but it had little impact on shelflife extension for the product range with the outcome similar to that for samples packed in air. Tests on the freeze-chilling of white sauces showed the importance of using freeze-thaw stable starches. Best-practice thawing procedures were established and the importance of stacking configurations for outer boxes (each with a number of lasagne ready-meals) was highlighted in the case of the commercial tempering unit. Trials on the re-freezing of freeze-chilled products indicated that re-freezing is an option provided the normal storage protocols for frozen and chilled foods are observed.
    • Functional Foods in Relation to Health and Disease (New Probiotic Cheddar Cheese).

      STANTON, CATHERINE; Ross, R Paul; Fitzgerald, Gerald F; Collins, K.; Gardiner, Gillian E. (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      Growing public awareness of diet-related health benefits has fuelled the demand for probiotic foods. These foods contain probiotic bacteria which are described as live microbial supplements that improve the intestinal microbial balance and are intended for maintenance of health and/or the prevention of disease. Probiotic bacteria for human use must be proven to be safe and beneficial, and should preferably be of human origin as evidence suggests that these bacteria are species specific and perform best in the species from which they were isolated. They must also retain both viability and efficacy in a particular food product throughout its shelf-life, and following consumption. Above all however, probiotic food products must be proved effective in controlled validated clinical trials. Dairy foods, including in particular, fermented milks and yogurt are among the best accepted food carriers for probiotic cultures. The aim of this study was to develop new probiotic foods, particularly, the production of high quality Cheddar cheese containing high levels of probiotic bacteria.
    • Functional ingredients as fat replacers in cakes and pastries

      Dwyer, Elizabeth; Gallagher, Eimear (Teagasc, 2001-05)
      For specific health concerns, consumers want fat taken out of food without the flavour and texture being adversely affected. Novel ingredients were investigated for use in the formulation of reduced fat bakery products. Formulations were developed for reduced fat muffins, madeira cake and shortcrust pastry by replacing some of the fat in the recipes with combinations of novel ingredients. The aim was to achieve at least a 25% fat reduction in the products while maintaining quality, texture, taste and consumer acceptability. Focus groups were used to ascertain consumers’ preferences for the reduced fat bakery products to determine which, if any, recipes had greatest potential for further development.
    • Future Perspectives on Rural Areas.

      Commins, Patrick (Teagasc, 2001-02-01)
      The aim of this project was to project the potential impact of post-2000 economic and policy changes on Irish rural areas. It was intended originally to use a model-building approach in collaboration with the University of Missouri but this did not prove feasible. Instead, a possible scenario of future change for the rural economy was developed under four headings: • number of farms and the size of the farm labour force • agricultural structures • employment and enterprise • population and settlement. The scenario is based on assessment of current trends, on key assumptions about the future, and on the likely directions of relevant policies.
    • Gender Relations and Women’s Off-farm Employment: a critical analysis of discourses

      Hanrahan, Sheena (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      This project addresses gender relations on dairy farms in Irish Republic. Its aim was to explore the way women who are married to farmers but who are employed in paid employment off the farm are constructed in agricultural policy discourse. It was proposed that discourses encapsulate the values and interests of powerful actors and are constitutive in their effect. Hence they are implicated in women’s experience of life within a ‘farm family’. Following on from this it may be said that women’ s continued subordination in Irish farming or indeed their chances of achieving equal status are circumscribed by dominant discourses.

      Shrestha, Shailesh; Hennessy, Thia; European Commission (Teagasc, 01/01/2007)
      GENEDEC was a European project funded under the 6th Framework. It was co-ordinated by INRA Grignon with ten European partners and a time frame of 42 months. The purpose of the project was to conduct a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the decoupling of direct payments on agricultural production, markets and land use in the EU. It was envisaged that the pan-EU nature of the project would facilitate an international comparison of the effects of decoupling and would provide policy makers with sufficient information to identify the key winners and losers from decoupling throughout the EU. The project aimed to provide insights into the workability of decoupling and its impacts, and to analyse alternative policy options to improve the agricultural support system. Specifically, through the use of farm level models, this project estimated the effects of existing and proposed decoupled support schemes on production, land use and land prices and the implications for farm incomes and the future structural development of farms. The project was divided into 9 Work Packages depending on objectives and time frame of the project. The main role of RERC Teagasc was in Work Package 2 which aimed to develop farm level mathematical models and used the models developed to determine the impact of decoupling on Irish farms. The work in RERC started in November 2004 and ended in May 2006. A brief description of the models developed and results generated by RERC is provided here.
    • Genetic Analysis of Irish Populations of Phytophthora Infestans

      Dowley, L.J.; O'Sullivan, Eugene; Griffin, Denis; Harmey, M. (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      Phytophthora infestans (Mont.) de Bary, the causal agent of potato late blight is best known for its role in the great Irish famine of 1845-1849 which resulted in the deaths of over 1 million people. Since then, the disease has become established in all potato growing countries and is the most important pathogen of potatoes worldwide. The appearance of resistance to the phenylamide fungicides in the late 1970’s indicated that populations of P. infestans were changing. An antiresistance strategy was developed for growers in an effort to reduce the spread of resistant strains. Subsequently the A2 mating type of the fungus was discovered in 1989 promoting fears that a super strain of the fungus could evolve through sexual reproduction. Populations of the fungus have been monitored from 1981 to 1998 for levels of phenylamide resistance and since 1988 for the A2 mating type. Physiological race surveys were conducted in 1983 and 1996. Prior to the 1980s no reliable methods were available for adequate identification of genotypes. Development of molecular markers specific to P. infestans has made this possible and a survey was conducted on isolates from the 1996 population. Results confirm that the anti-resistance strategy for phenylamide based fungicides has been effective in preventing the build up of metalaxyl resistant populations of P. infestans. During the 1990’s the distribution of phenylamide resistance has remained stable at about 50% of crops tested compared to a high of over 80 % in 1981. The level of A2 in the population has also fallen from a high of 35% of isolates tested in 1989 to a static level of 3-4 % in the 1990’s. Physiological race composition has become much more complex since 1983 and 16 different physiological races were found in Ireland in 1996. The population was dominated by race which accounted for over 54% of isolates tested. This change has taken place without a corresponding change to varieties with a complex Rgene base. Twelve different genotypes of the fungus were uncovered using the multilocus probe RG57. Races of the fungus were independent of genotype. One particular genotype IE-2 was predominantly associated with phenylamide resistance. The low population diversity discovered suggests that sexual reproduction between A1 and A2 types has not been a major factor in disease epidemiology to date. Super strains similar to those identified in the USA could not be confirmed. The overall level of variation in the Irish isolates of Phytophthora infestans would confirm that the population has become progressively more diverse during the last forty years. However, the population is much less complex than that found in the highland tropics of central Mexico.
    • Genetic and non-genetic factors affecting lamb growth and carcass quality.

      Hanrahan, James P (Teagasc, 1999-05-01)
      The work undertaken under this project concerned the effects of genetic and non-genetic factors on lamb growth, both pre and post-weaning, and carcass traits. The principal objective of the genetic studies was to estimate the performance effects of selecting terminal sires on the basis of the lean meat index (LMI) which is produced for pedigree lambs in flocks that participate in the national Breed Improvement Programme operated by the Department of Agriculture and Food. The merits of the Beltex breed, recently introduced to this country, were also evaluated on comparisons with Texel and Suffolk sires. Estimates of within-breed genetic variation for growth and carcass traits were obtained.
    • Genetic Variants of Milk Proteins - Relevance to Milk Composition and Cheese Production.

      Fitzgerald, Richard J.; Walsh, Daniel; Guinee, Timothy P.; Murphy, J.J.; Mehra, Raj; Harrington, D.; Connolly, J.F. (Teagasc, 1999-07-01)
      Objectives: (i) to develop rapid screening procedures for the determination of milk protein polymorphism (genetic variants) (ii) to determine the frequency distribution of milk protein genetic variants in a large population of Irish Holstein-Friesians and to determine if there was an association between κ-casein variant and milk yield and composition in this group of animals, and (iii) to make Cheddar and low-moisture part-skim Mozzarella cheese from different κ-casein genetic variant milks and to assess any effect on cheese yield, composition and functional characteristics. Conclusions:Analysis of 6,007 individual Irish Holstein-Friesian milks showed that the phenotype distribution of the κ-casein BB variant was very low at 1.98% compared to 53.07% for κ-casein AA and 44.95% for κ-casein AB. While no statistically significant associations were observed between κ-casein variant and milk yield and composition, κ-casein BB variant milks had superior rennet coagulation properties to that of the AA or AB variants. Generally, κ-casein variant had little effect on compositional attributes of cheese apart from FDM (fat in dry matter) which was significantly higher in cheeses from κ-casein BB milk than in those from κ-casein AA milk. Generally, κ-casein variant had no significant effects on either primary or secondary proteolysis, or on the sensory and/or textural characteristics of Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese throughout ripening; or on the functional characteristics (e.g. flow and stretch) of baked Mozzarella on storage for 90 days at 4°C. However, κ-casein BB variant milk gave significantly higher actual, and moisture adjusted yields of Cheddar and Mozzarella cheese than either κ-casein AB or AA variant milks. For example, the moisture adjusted Cheddar yield from κ-casein BB milk was 8.2% higher than from κ-casein AA milk. In the case of Mozzarella, the moisture adjusted yield was 12% higher. Based on the results, it is estimated that the actual yield of cheese in a plant producing 20,000 tonnes per year from κ-casein AA milk would increase to approximately 21,180 tonnes of Cheddar, or 21,780 tonnes of Mozzarella if made from κ-casein BB milk. Where κ-casein AB milk is used instead of κ-casein BB milk, the estimated yield of Mozzarella would increase to 21,580 tonnes.
    • 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, H.; Moloney, Aidan P; Black, Alistair D (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. The main attractions in favour of perennial ryegrass swards are that they: x produce high yields in response to fertiliser nitrogen x have a high digestibility when harvested at the appropriate growth stage x are relatively easy to preserve as silage due to their superior content of sugar x persist as permanent swards where favourable management practices prevail If the phenotype of perennial ryegrass were to be improved, one potentially desirable trait would be an elevated concentration of water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC). This could confer benefits in terms of: x further increase the probability of achieving a lactic acid dominant fermentation during ensilage. This could reduce the requirement for traditional acid- or sugar-based additives, improve the likelihood of a positive response from additives based on homofermentative lactic acid bacteria or alternatively eliminate the need for any or the currently available conventional additive. If its effect was to improve silage preservation this should positively impact on dry matter (DM) recovery, improve animal productivity and potential product quality, and reduce N loss to the environment. x improve the opportunity to produce silage with an elevated concentration of WSC. In circumstances where little or no supplementary concentrate feedstuffs were offered with silage, higher residual WSC could enhance silage intake and digestion, thereby improving animal productivity and reducing urinary loss of N. x produce a grass with higher intake characteristics during grazing, resulting in improved or more efficient animal production. x better synchronise or balance the supply of a rapidly fermentable carbon source (e.g. WSC) with soluble N compounds in the rumen of cattle or sheep. This could be important with grazing animals in spring and particularly in autumn when grass N content can be relatively high. Improved synchronisation or balance could potentially improve animal productivity and reduce urinary loss of N.
    • 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, H.; 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.