• Studies of Autumn calving suckler cows, bulls at pasture and winter grazing

      Black, Alistair D; O’Riordan, Edward G.; Weldon, B.; French, Padraig (Teagasc, 2010-09)
      Most beef and dairy cows are spring calving leading to distinct seasonality of supply. Calving a proportion of the beef herd in the autumn would lead to a more uniform annual supply of cattle for slaughter and potentially increase the proportion of grazed grass in the diet of the suckler progeny. Autumn calving sucklers also facilitate the use of AI, which should enhance the product quality. This project aimed to address the technical aspects of autumn calving sucklers, which differ from those of spring calvers. The currently available international energy models were evaluated for autumn calving lactating suckler cows using the type of cow typically found in Irish suckler herds (Experiment 1). The winter accommodation of the suckler cow and calf unit and its impact on cow reproductive performance was evaluated (Experiment 2). The final part of the project evolved into component studies to determine the effect of supplementary feed on the performance of grazing bulls (Experiment 3), and the consequences of weanling cattle grazing pasture in winter as an alternative to housing them in winter (Experiments 4 to 7).
    • Studies of autumn calving suckler cows, bulls at pasture and winter grazing.

      Black, Alistair D; O'Riordan, Edward G.; Weldon, B.; French, Padraig (Teagasc, 2010-09)
      Most beef and dairy cows are spring calving leading to distinct seasonality of supply. Calving a proportion of the beef herd in the autumn would lead to a more uniform annual supply of cattle for slaughter and potentially increase the proportion of grazed grass in the diet of the suckler progeny. Autumn calving sucklers also facilitate the use of AI, which should enhance the product quality. This project aimed to address the technical aspects of autumn calving sucklers, which differ from those of spring calvers. The currently available international energy models were evaluated for autumn calving lactating suckler cows using the type of cow typically found in Irish suckler herds (Experiment 1). The winter accommodation of the suckler cow and calf unit and its impact on cow reproductive performance was evaluated (Experiment 2). The final part of the project evolved into component studies to determine the effect of supplementary feed on the performance of grazing bulls (Experiment 3), and the consequences of weanling cattle grazing pasture in winter as an alternative to housing them in winter (Experiments 4 to 7).
    • Studies on growth rates in pigs and the effect of birth weight

      Lynch, P Brendan; Cahill, A.; Lawlor, Peadar G; Boyle, Laura; O'Doherty, John V.; le Dividich, J.; National Development Programme (Teagasc, 2006-03-01)
      The purpose of this study was to assess some environmental and management factors that affect growth performance on commercial pig units. In experiment 1, a survey was carried out on 22 pig units of known growth performance in south-west Ireland to compare management factors between those showing poor and good growth rates. Low growth rate appears to be due to the cumulative effect of a combination of factors. Experiment 2 was conducted to determine the effects of providing an additional feeder on performance of weaned piglets. No benefits were recorded. Feed consumed from the additional feeder was a replacement for feed that otherwise would have been consumed from the control hopper feeder. Experiment 3 was designed to determine if pig performance and efficiency of growth were affected by weight at birth and at weaning. Lightweight pigs showed inferior growth performance up to the finisher period. Although they compensated some of the inferior growth towards the time of slaughter, they never reached the weights of the heavy birth-weight animals. Males were either significantly heavier or tended to be heavier than females throughout. There was no significant difference between the sexes in the number of days to slaughter. Light and heavy pigs did not differ in the levels of IGF-1 in their blood plasma; however lightweight pigs had significantly lower IgG preweaning. Experiment 4 aimed to determine whether piglet birth weight influenced growth performance, plasma IGF-1 concentrations and muscle fibre characteristics at day 42 of life. At slaughter (Day 42) light birth weight pigs were significantly (P < 0.001) lighter. Plasma IGF-1 concentration was lower by 28% (P=0.06) in light pigs. Muscle fibre cross sectional area and total fibre number were not significantly different between groups. This study should be repeated with bigger numbers.
    • Studies on Housing of Pregnant Sows in Groups and Individually

      Lynch, P Brendan; Boyle, Laura; Leonard, Nola; Tergny, Annabel; Brophy, P. (Teagasc, 2000-09-01)
      Intensive methods of sow housing and their effects on health and welfare have become a topic of intense debate. In the EU the use of tethers for pregnant sows must be phased out by 2006. At pre s e n t there are no plans to ban stalls for pregnant sows. In 1997 the EU released a report on sow housing which was critical of stalls but did not recommend a ban (SVC, 1997). Some member countries have introduced more stringent legislation. The UK government has banned the use of both stalls and tethers for pregnant sows fro m January 1, 1999. Sweden has also imposed a ban on both stalls and tethers, and the Netherlands and De n m a rk have announced restrictions on when individual penning may be used. • This study included a comparison of pregnant gilts in loose housing (groups of 4) and in individual stalls from early pregnancy. Behaviour and skin lesions were monitored both during pregnancy and in the farrowing house. Stalled gilts tended to have higher skin lesion scores. Salivary cortisol levels in stalled gilts showed evidence of a chronic stress response. Loose gilts showed more distress when confined in the farrowing crate pre - f a r rowing than did gilts which had been housed in stalls in pregnancy. • Comparison of two group housing systems namely, groups of four with 3.0m2 per sow and groups of eight with 2.2m2 per sow showed a higher level of aggression in the larger group. Both treatments had free-access stalls with full length partitions but the groups of eight had a smaller communal lying area and they spent a greater proportion of their time in the stalls.
    • Studies on Pre-slaughter Handling of Pigs and its Relationship to Meat Quality

      Lynch, P Brendan; Lawlor, Peadar G; Davis, D.; Kerry, Joseph P.; Buckley, D.J.; Walsh, L. (Teagasc, 1998-12-01)
      Two quality defects of pork which are affected by preslaughter handling are PSE (Pale Soft Exudative) and DFD (Dark Firm Dry) meat. The incidence of PSE pork is mainly a function of the breed of pig but short-term stressful handling before slaughter and feeding too close to slaughter are also involved. DFD meat is a result of prolonged stressful handling. PSE meat is pale and uneven in colour and exudes fluid making it unattractive in the retail display while dark meat appears stale and is prone to bacterial spoilage. After slaughter muscle metabolism continues and muscle glycogen is converted to lactic acid reducing meat pH. Prolonged stress results in glycogen depletion, pre-slaughter feeding results in elevated levels. Colour may be assessed subjectively by eye or objectively by a meter colour but pH of the meat is closely related to colour and measurement of pH at 45 minutes post-slaughter is frequently used to predict ultimate colour and pH. The objective of this study was to examine pre-slaughter handling practices and their relationship with meat quality (pH, colour). In the first trial, a survey of the amounts of stomach contents in pigs at slaughter in two factories found similar amounts to comparable surveys in France and the UK. It was concluded that most pigs had been fasted for an adequate time before delivery. The relationship between the amount of stomach contents and meat quality in this survey was poor. In the second trial, pigs from the Moorepark herd fed by either a computerised wet feeding system or an ad libitum dry feed system were slaughtered after overnight fasting or with feed available up to loading for transport to the factory, two to three hours before slaughter. There was no difference between feeding systems in meat colour or pH but fasted pigs, on both feeding systems, had darker meat and meat of a higher pH. In the third and fourth trials a survey of transport vehicles was carried out and meat quality of pigs delivered in modern and old-type vehicles was compared. Most trucks examined (78%) were four years old or more. Few had modern hydraulic lifting gear for the top decks. Space allowances during transportation were generally adequate but delays in unloading could, in warm weather, cause stress on pigs. There was little evidence for an effect of vehicle on meat quality parameters but day to day variation in carcass temperature and pH suggested a need for further research on factory influences on meat quality. Feeding of Magneium Aspartate to pigs for the last 5 days prior to slaughter has been shown, in Australia, to have a beneficial effect on meat colour and drip loss. In the final trial in this study Mg Asp had no effect on meat quality parameters.
    • Studies relating to Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA) Supplementation and Fertility in Cattle

      Childs, Stuart; Kenny, David A.; Sreenan, J.M.; Diskin, Michael G. (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      Reproductive inefficiency has a significant impact on the economic performance of both dairy and beef herds, particularly in seasonal calving systems. Nutrition plays a fundamental role in reproduction. Furthermore, there is emerging evidence that supplemental dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) may increase cow fertility independent of their role as energy substrates. A number of studies have reported enhanced reproductive performance in dairy cows following dietary supplementation with sources of n-3 PUFA. However the possible mechanisms involved have not been identified and there is some inconsistency in the published literature on this topic. The objective of the research reported was to conduct a holistic examination of the effects of dietary long-chain n-3 PUFA supplementation on metabolic and reproductive responses in cattle. Such information is essential for the appropriate formulation of diets to enhance cow reproductive performance and in particular embryo survival.
    • Studies relating to protein expression in the uterus of the cow

      Costello, L.M.; Hynes, A.C.; Diskin, Michael G.; Sreenan, J.M.; Morris, Dermot G. (Teagasc, 2007-01-01)
      Embryo loss is a major cause of reproductive wastage in the cow. The majority of embryo loss occurs in the first 16 days after fertilisation when the embryo is critically dependent on the maternal uterine environment for survival. Despite the central role of uterine fluid in the normal growth and development of the embryo, there is limited information on the protein composition of these fluids. The main objectives of the studies in this thesis were to examine the protein composition of the bovine uterus during the oestrous cycle and to examine the relationship between the concentration of systemic progesterone and uterine protein expression in the cow. In the first study, the concentration of retinol-binding protein (RBP) in the bovine uterus was found to vary across the cycle and was 5-15-fold higher (P<0.001) on Day 15 than Days 3, 7 and 11. Additionally, the concentration of uterine RBP seems to be regulated in a local manner as the concentration in the uterine horn ipsilateral to the corpus luteum (CL) was more than 2-fold higher (P<0.001) than the contralateral horn on Day 15. This indicates that RBP is possibly regulated by a local increase in the concentration of progesterone. Uterine and plasma concentrations of RBP were similar on days 3 to 11, however, uterine RBP concentrations were 6-15 fold higher than blood plasma RBP concentrations on day 15. This shows evidence of active transport and/or synthesis of proteins into the uterus which previously were thought to be due to transduation of plasma. There was no relationship between the concentration of systemic progesterone and concentration of RBP on day 7 (P>0.05) of the cycle, which was surprising given that previous studies have indicated that uterine RBP gene expression was positively associated with the concentration of systemic progesterone. In the second study, IGF binding protein 2 (IGFBP-2), IGFBP-3, IGFBP-4 and IGFBP-5 were identified in uterine fluid on days 3, 7, 11 and 15 of the oestrous cycle. There was a local effect on the concentration of IGFBPs where the concentration was greater on the ipsilateral side than that on the contralateral side for IGFBP-2 (P<0.05), 3 (P<0.01) and 5 (P<0.01) on day 15. This difference is a further indication of a local controlling mechanism regulating proteins between the uterine horns. Similar to RBP expression this study could find no significant relationship between the concentration of systemic progesterone and IGFBP concentrations on Day 7 of the oestrous cycle. In the third study, changes in the global pattern of uterine proteins between Days 3 and Day 15 of the oestrous cycle were examined using two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE). Six proteins were found to be upregulated on Day 15 compared to Day 3. Three proteins of these were identified as aldose reductase, plakoglobin and heat shock protein 27 while the other three proteins were identified as bovine serum albumin. Aldose reductase, an enzyme directly involved in the production of sorbitol and indirectly of fructose, was 10-fold higher (P<0.0001) on Day 15 compared to Day 3. Plakoglobin (Pg) was upregulated 2.3-fold (P<0.0001) on Day 15 compared to Day 3. Pg is a component of cellular junctions and its up-regulation may have a role in the uterine glandular epithelium. Heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) was higher on Day 15 than on Day 3 (P<0.01) and Hsp27 was 1.4-fold higher in the ipsilateral compared to the contralateral uterine horn (P<0.01). Hsp27 may be secreted in response to potential stresses in the uterus or act as a molecular chaperone. On Day 7 there was no difference (P<0.05) in the pattern of proteins secreted between cows with low (2.7±0.10ng/ml) and high (4.8±0.13 ng/ml) concentrations of systemic progesterone on Day 7. The results of these studies have shown that dramatic changes occur in protein expression across the bovine oestrous cycle. Additionally, it emphasises the need for gene studies to be followed with protein studies as an adjunct or complementary tool. Proteins have a wide range of essential roles in the uterus and together these studies provide novel information on protein expression in the uterus of the cow.
    • A study of cryptosporidium parvum in beef

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

      Fortune, R.A.; Kennedy, T.F.; Mitchell, B.J.; Dunne, B.; Forristal, P.D.; Murphy, Kevin M.; Connery, J. (Teagasc, 2006-01-01)
      Due to the pressure on cereal margins growers are seeking ways of reducing their costs of production. Reduced cultivation may provide cheaper and faster crop establishment, but in the past has been subject to problems with (poor crop establishment) weeds and soil compaction. With modern cultivation and sowing technology and methodology it may be possible to overcome these difficulties. In addition reduced cultivation is considered to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable than the conventional plough-based system. With these considerations in mind it was decided to start an experiment in autumn 2000 to compare the conventional system (PL) with reduced cultivation (RC) for crop establishment, and to examine the effect of incorporating the straw into then soil or baling and removing it. The treatments were assessed on winter wheat, and winter and spring barley. The parameters assessed included – crop establishment, yield and quality effects on disease levels, invertebrate pests and beneficials (aphids, slugs, earthworms, beetles), and soil conditions. The work reported here was conducted on four trial sites at Oak Park, Carlow and Knockbeg, Co. Laois from 2000 to 2003. the objectives were to establish the efficacy of RC compared with PL and to its effects on the parameters outlined above. Plant establishment was lower after RC in most of the experiments. Winter wheat yields were good irrespective of the number of plants established and there were no significant differences between cultivation or straw disposal method. The relative yields of the PL and RC treatments in winter barley varied over the three years; in 2001 there was no difference, in 2002 PL yielded 1 t/ha more than RC, while in 2003 the PL area produced 2 t/ha extra. Spring barley yields were similar on the PL and RC treatments. Broadleaved weeds were not a problem on the PL or RC treatments but there were more annual grass weeds on the RC plots. This was particularly serious in the winter barley experiments where sterile brome (Bromus sterilis) had a big effect on yield by 2003. annual meadow grass (Poa annua) was a problem in both PL and RC areas if not controlled by timely herbicide application; this was particularly so on the headland areas in the spring barley field. Disease assessment on the winter wheat trail showed no significant differences in Take-all or Eyespot levels between cultivation or straw disposal methods, although Take-all levels tended to be lower on the RC plots. Soil strength as measured by cone penetrometer and shear vane was higher on the RC treatments. In the winter wheat there was no difference in slug numbers between any of the treatments. Leaf damage by slugs increased in RC relative to PL but not significantly, in 2003. No below ground slug damage was found. Earthworm numbers in the winter barley increased significantly on the RC treatment relative to the PL as the study progressed. Straw incorporation increased earthworm numbers on both PL and RC treatments. Allolobophora chlorotia was the most common species in 2004. In the winter wheat the RC and straw incorporation increased earthworm numbers. Cultivation method had a greater effect on ground beetle numbers than method of straw disposal. Large species (e.g. Pterostichies malanarius) were favoured by RC while smaller species (e.g. Bembidon species) were more numerous in the PL plots. Molecular studies on virus diseases, vectors and vector-predators are underway in progress. In the invertebrate pests and beneficials investigations the RC winter barley had 11% fewer aphids and 27% less BYDV than the PL. Incorporating straw reduced aphid numbers and virus incidence by 36% and 32% respectively; the comparable values for the PL + straw treatment were 15% and 15%. In the winter wheat there was less BYDV in the RC plots than the PL + less were the straw was incorporated than where the straw was removed. Aphid infestation of wheat ears was low in the three years of the experiment. The insecticide seed treatment imidacloprid significantly reduced aphid numbers and virus incidence in winter barley but was less effective than a single insecticide spray in controlling the disease. The seed treatment was more effective in controlling BYDV in RC than in the PL plots. Estimations of slug numbers in the winter barley showed that the dominant species was the grey field slug (Deroceras reticulatum). Slug numbers increased significantly on all treatments between 2001 and 2004. In November 2004, slugs were significantly more numerous in the RC treatments than in the PL areas. Leaf damage was proportional to slug populations, but the slugs did not damage the barely seed or reduce plant populations in continuous winter barley under RC. Root and stem diseases (Take-all and Eyespot) were not nay worse under RC than after PL. In fact there was a tendency towards lower disease levels on the RC areas and there was significantly less sharp eyespot on the RC treatment.
    • A study of factors affecting the efficiency of milking operations.

      O'Callaghan, Edmond J; Murphy, P.M.; Gleeson, David E (Teagasc, 2005-01-01)
      With a mid-level milking system the milking time was reduced significantly when the teat end vacuum was increased • Vacuum losses were lower and milking time was shorter with simultaneous pulsation than with alternate pulsation • Milk yield was not affected by the magnitude of teat end vacuum. • Both the mean flowrate and peak flowrate increased when the teat end vacuum was increased. • New milking plants and conversions should have 16 mm bore long milk tubes (LMT) and 16 mm bore entries in the milk pipeline • The omission of udder washing as a pre-milking preparation procedure did not influence milking characteristics. • TBC and E. coli were significantly reduced with full pre-milking preparation compared to no pre-milking preparation when milk was produced from cows on pasture • Counts for individual bacterial species were well below maximum numbers permitted in EU Council Directive (Anon. 1992) when no pre-milking preparation was carried out.
    • A study of protein and amino nutrition of growing pigs.

      Lynch, P Brendan; O'Connell, M. Karen; Lawlor, Peadar G; O'Doherty, John V. (Teagasc, 2004-08-01)
      Protein nutrition of the pig is concerned primarily with supplying the amino acid requirements for fast, efficient growth and development of a lean carcass. In addition, surplus protein contributes to a high level of nitrogen excretion in manure which is a problem in complying with the Nitrates Directive. Metabolism of the excess protein / nitrogen in the pig involves creation of urea and this process depresses the efficiency of energy utilisation. As the pig grows, its requirement for individual amino acids falls but the optimum ratio changes. Providing a diet with the correct levels and balance of the principal amino acids is expected to improve performance. Improvements in genetics and changes in management such as slaughter weight require that the amino acid requirements be reassessed periodically. The objective of this study was to examine response of pigs to variation in dietary lysine in several weight ranges with the concentrations of the other principal amino acids held constant. Entire males had superior FCR to females in all trials except 15 to 30kg, but differences in dietary lysine requirements did not occur until the finishing stage. At heavier weights, response of male and female pigs began to diverge at lysine concentrations greater than 10.7 g/kg (ADG) and 9.7 g/kg (FCR). There appeared to be a need to increase the threonine to lysine ratio in the diet from 0.60 to 0.70 when lysine concentration was reduced from 12.0 to 9.5 g/kg as weight of the pig increased. Providing the same mean lysine content (11.1 g/kg) to pigs from 38 to 97 kg in a series of five diets declining in lysine concentration compared with a single diet did not affect performance, or reduce N excretion. However, lowering the overall mean lysine concentration from 11g/kg to 10.0 g/kg reduced overall N excretion by 13 %, without a negative effect on pig performance. Pigs which were offered a low lysine diet in the early stage of growth exhibited a compensatory response during realimentation on a high lysine diet but it was not sufficient to equal the overall performance of pigs previously offered a lysine-adequate diet. Nitrogen excretion was reduced by 23 % while the low lysine diet was fed in the initial period but there was no residual effect on N excretion during realimentation.
    • A study of the somatic cell count (SCC) of Irish milk from herd management and environmental perspectives

      O'Brien, Bernadette; Berry, Donagh; Kelly, Philip; Meaney, William J; O'Callaghan, Edmond J (Teagasc, 2009-12-01)
      The objective of this study was to investigate the herd management practices associated with somatic cell count (SCC) and total bacteria count (TBC), to geographically analyse SCC on a national basis, to investigate cow factors associated with SCC and to estimate the milk loss associated with high SCC across parities. From the 400 farms surveyed during farm visits throughout spring and winter, a profile of herd management was developed and the associations between management practices and milk SCC and TBC were established. Management practices associated with low SCC included the use of dry cow therapy, participation in a milk recording scheme, the use of teat disinfection post-milking, a higher frequency of cleaning and increased farm hygiene. Management practices associated with low TBC included the use of heated water in the milking parlour, participation in a milk recording scheme, tail clipping of cows at a frequency greater than once per year and increased farm hygiene. The spatial analysis showed that the south of the country had the greatest density of milk-recording herds. Approximately 60% of all herds in the study were from four counties (Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Tipperary). Average bulk tank SCC increased from 110,264 cells/mL in 2003 to 118,782 cells/mL in 2005, followed by a decrease to 108,454 cells/mL in 2007. Spatial clustering of high SCC scores was not observed (i.e., SCC on one farm was not related to SCC on other farms), which is consistent with mastitis being a herd problem as opposed to an area-based problem. SCC increased with parity from 97,000 cells/mL in parity 1 to 199,000 cell/mL in parity 6. SCC decreased between the period 5 to 35 days in milk (DIM) and 36 to 65 DIM, and increased thereafter. Cows calving in the months of January and September were associated with lower average 305 day SCC. The rate of increase in SCC from mid to late lactation was greatest in older parity animals. There was a test day milk loss of 1.43, 2.08, 2.59, 2.56 and 2.62 litres (parities 1 to 5, respectively) associated with an increase of SCC category from <51,000 to >400,000 cells/mL. When SCC was adjusted (test day SCC/dilution estimate, and test day SCC + (-ß)(test day milk yield)) to account for milk yield, similar trends in milk loss were observed. Alternatively, adjusting SCC (SCC*test day milk yield/mean test day milk yield) to account for milk yield showed an increase in test day milk with increasing SCC category. The results from this study highlight that adherence to best milking/farming practice will help reduce SCC and TBC on farms. The results contribute to the knowledge relating to SCC through increasing the accuracy of milk loss due to SCC and management practices associated with SCC. The results in the study can also be used in the development of strategies to reduce SCC on farms.
    • A Study of Time and Labour Use on Irish Suckler Beef Farms

      Fallon, R.J.; Leahy, H.; O’Riordan, Edward G.; Ruane, D. (Teagasc, 2006-01-01)
      Labour is one of the four factors of production and an increasingly costly and scarce input on farms. The attractiveness of non-farming employment, the nature of farm work and the price received for farm outputs are resulting in falling levels of hired and family labour.
    • A Study of Time and Labour Use on Irish Suckler Beef Farms

      Fallon, Richard J.; Leahy, H.; O'Riordan, Edward G.; Ruane, D. (Teagasc, 2006-01)
      Labour is one of the four factors of production and an increasingly costly and scarce input on farms. The attractiveness of non-farming employment, the nature of farm work and the price received for farm outputs are resulting in falling levels of hired and family labour. A study was undertaken to quantify labour use and efficiency issues on suckler beef farms and to identify on-farm factors which influenced labour use.
    • Study on the Functioning of Land Markets in the EU Member states under the Influence of Measures applied under the Common Agricultural Policy

      Donnellan, Trevor; Hanrahan, Kevin; Hennessy, Thia (Teagasc, 21/07/2008)
      Study on the Functioning of Land Markets in the EU Member states under the Influence of Measures applied under the Common Agricultural Policy
    • A study on the use of chilling as a critical control point in a beef HACCP plan

      Kinsella, Kathleen; Sheridan, James J.; Rowe, T.; Downey, Gerard; National Development Plan (NDP) (Teagasc, 01/02/2006)
      Investigations were undertaken to establish the critical limits for use of chilling in a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system for beef. Information was obtained on the influence of chilling on the survival of bacteria, including the pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium DT104, attached to beef carcass surfaces. In general, a chilling regime could not be identified that gave consistent and meaningful reductions in surface bacterial counts while not seriously compromising the quality of the carcasses in terms of excessive amounts of weight loss. The study concluded that chilling was not a satisfactory process for use as a critical control point (CCP) in beef chilling and could not be recommended to the Irish beef industry for inclusion in a HACCP plan.
    • A study on the use of chilling as a critical control point in a beef HACCP plan.

      Kinsella, Kathleen; Sheridan, James J.; Rowe, T. (Teagasc, 2006-02)
      Investigations were undertaken to establish the critical limits for use of chilling in a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system for beef. Information was obtained on the influence of chilling on the survival of bacteria, including the pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium DT104, attached to beef carcass surfaces. In general, a chilling regime could not be identified that gave consistent and meaningful reductions in surface bacterial counts while not seriously compromising the quality of the carcasses in terms of excessive amounts of weight loss. The study concluded that chilling was not a satisfactory process for use as a critical control point (CCP) in beef chilling and could not be recommended to the Irish beef industry for inclusion in a HACCP plan.
    • Supercritical fluid extraction of veterinary drug residues from meat

      O'Keeffe, Mandy J.; O'Keeffe, Michael; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Ireland (Teagasc, 1999-10)
      Extraction is a key step in the analysis of food samples for residues of veterinary drugs. Over the last ten years there has been increasing interest in alternatives to the use of organic solvents for sample extraction. The development of supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) for the determination of residues in meat provides alternative methods, which may be automated and which have attractive properties such as avoidance of organic solvents and increased speed of extraction. This project is a jointly-funded United States Department of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture and Food activity with the objective of developing robust SFE procedures suitable for the quantitative recovery of ß-agonists (illegal growth promoters) from animal tissue. Fundamental aspects of SFE in its application to residue analysis are also addressed.
    • Supply Chains Linking Food SMEs in Lagging Rural Regions in Ireland

      Henchion, Maeve; McIntyre, Bridin; Meredith, David; Downey, Gerard; European Commission; QLK5-CT-2000-00841 (Teagasc, 01/04/2005)
      This report reflects the Irish contribution to a 3-year EU-funded research project, SUPPLIERS, which was concerned with the development, innovation, competitiveness and sustainability of food SMEs in lagging rural regions(LRRs) of the EU and Poland. It summarises the results of the research conducted in Ireland, evaluates these findings and makes recommendations to benefit food SMEs located in Ireland’s LRRs. Two regions were selected for study in Ireland. These were the West, comprising counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, and the Northwest, comprising counties Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim. Both are classified as Objective 1 regions reflecting their predominantly rural character, economic disadvantage and relative remoteness from urban centres. Three food products were selected for detailed study in each region. Products selected in the West were mushrooms, farmed salmon and speciality foods and, in the Northwest, organic produce, farmed shellfish and prepared consumer foods. This product range encompassed a range of chains from local to international, integrated to fragmented, direct to indirect, providing a basis for comparison and evaluation of different chain structures. This summary report concentrates on the results of four surveys carried out over the course of the study. Producers, intermediaries, commercial customers and support institutions were surveyed.
    • Surface and Groundwater Interactions Location of a sub-surface remediation trench.

      Fenton, Owen (Teagasc, 2006-12-01)
      The Water Framework Directive aims to achieve at least “good status” of all surface and groundwater bodies by 2015. In 2009 programmes of measures to achieve this status must be implemented. In 2012 water quality response to these measures will be examined at river basin catchment level. The adoption of the Water Framework Directive from the 1st January 2007 restricts the amount of nutrients which can be applied to agricultural land. A nutrient discharge to a waterbody has a negative impact on the environment and may lead to eutrophication. A broad strategy exists at European level to minimise nutrient loss to a waterbody. This strategy examines the source/pressure, pathway and receptor approach for nutrient transport. Such nutrient management strategies try to minimise nutrient loss while maintaining productivity. Nitrogen usage is now associated with environmental degradation even at lower levels than the maximum allowable concentration (11.3 mg NO3-N L-1). A further strategy proposes that nutrient management and increased utilisation of nutrients alone will fail to recognise nutrient loss even at high levels of efficiency. This strategy attempts to use remediation (Nitrate) and control technologies (Phosphorous) to intercept nutrients before discharge. Another function would be to further reduce concentrations presently at allowable levels. This introduces an interceptor phase into the nutrient transfer model. Groundwater characterisation leads to a better understanding of the nutrient source and pathway to a groundwater or surface water receptor. The interactions between surface runoff, sub-surface drainage (man made) and groundwater are important when dealing with the source pathway receptor concept. Interactions between shallow groundwater and surface water should also be considered. The deeper groundwater body and surface water interactions should also be characterised. A monitoring network incorporating surface, subsurface and groundwater elements was created on the Teagasc Environmental Research Centre, Wexford. A sub-surface drainage system was characterised and water quality monitored. Some breaches of the maximum admissible levels (MAC) of nitrate in groundwater were found in two separate locations (Dairy and Beef farms). A review of remediation options proposed a sub-surface denitrification trench to remediate excess nutrient loss on site. The location of such a permeable reactive barrier in the field to intercept a nitrate plume was investigated. The following investigations were carried out: • A review of “Groundwater remediation systems for the treatment of agricultural wastewater to satisfy the requirements of the Water Framework Directive” was carried out. This proposes options for Ireland. • The groundwater characterisation of the Dairy Farm in Teagasc, Environmental Research Centre, Wexford. • The groundwater and subsurface drainage system characterisation of a 4.2 ha field site on the Beef Farm in Teagasc, Environmental Research Centre, Wexford. • A methodology for the location of in-field remediation techniques was established.