Now showing items 1-20 of 2668

    • Next-Generation Food Research: Use of Meta-Omic Approaches for Characterizing Microbial Communities Along the Food Chain

      Yap, Min; Ercolini, Danilo; Álvarez-Ordóñez, Avelino; O'Toole, Paul W.; O'Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D.; Irish Dairy Levy; Science Foundation Ireland; European Commission; SFI/12/RC/2273; et al. (Annual Reviews, 2021-10-22)
      Microorganisms exist along the food chain and impact the quality and safety of foods in both positive and negative ways. Identifying and understanding the behavior of these microbial communities enable the implementation of preventative or corrective measures in public health and food industry settings. Current culture-dependent microbial analyses are time-consuming and target only specific subsets of microbes. However, the greater use of culture-independent meta-omic approaches has the potential to facilitate a thorough characterization of the microbial communities along the food chain. Indeed, these methods have shown potential in contributing to outbreak investigation, ensuring food authenticity, assessing the spread ofantimicrobial resistance, tracking microbial dynamics during fermentation and processing, and uncovering the factors along the food chain that impact food quality and safety. This review examines the community-based approaches, and particularly the application of sequencing-based meta-omics strategies, for characterizing microbial communities along the food chain.
    • 28. The effect of phenotypically ranking beef cattle for residual methane output on daily methane emissions, intensity and animal productivity

      Smith, Paul E.; Waters, Sinéad M.; Kenny, David A.; Kirwan, Stuart F.; Conroy, Stephen; Kelly, Alan K.; European Union; 16/RD/ERAGAS/1RUMENPREDICT-ROI2017; 818368 (Elsevier BV, 2021-04)
      Beef cattle ranked as having low residual methane output had lower emissions intensity and similar overall productive performance as their high emissions ranking contemporaries. The concept of residual methane output is proposed as an appropriate trait to more equitably identify animals on the basis of low emissions beef production
    • Datafile: Grassland legacy effects on yield of a follow-on crop in rotation strongly influenced by legume proportion and moderately by drought

      Grange, Guylain; Brophy, Caroline; Finn, John (2022)
      Dataset contains the dry matter and nitrogen yield responses of a Lolium multiflorum crop (summed across harvests). The L. multiflorum crop was sown on plots comprising grassland communities of one to six species (and one to three functional groups) that were growing for the previous two years. An experimental summer drought was implemented on half of each plot during the grassland phase but not the crop phase. Data were collected in Wexford, Republic of Ireland (52.299584, -6.506458) in 2020.
    • Developments in nutrition for pasture-based cattle and sheep systems in Ireland

      Patton, J.; Dineen, M.; Keady, T.W.J.; McGee, Mark; Waters, Sinead M. (Teagasc, 2022-03-03)
      For ruminant production systems, the requirement to meet specific nutrient targets in the animal’s diet must be balanced with the aim of achieving high utilisation of forage in the overall feed budget. A focus of research and extension in an Irish industry context has been to meet these objectives using grazed pasture as the predominant forage source. This has prompted investigation to improve understanding of the components defining forage nutritive value, as well as the management factors affecting its intake and utilisation by animals. Similarly, quantifying the animal performance responses to varying type, rate and timing of dietary supplementation has been an important area of investigation. This review summarises some of the principal outcomes and developments over recent years across beef, sheep and dairy production systems. In addition, ruminant production systems are increasingly challenged to reduce potential environmental impacts by mitigating nutrient and gaseous emissions across their production cycles. Current and emerging research with regard to this issue, and enteric methane production in particular, is discussed.
    • Characteristics of robust animals for grass-based production systems

      Delaby, Luc; Buckley, Frank; McHugh, Noirin; Blanc, F. (Teagasc, 2021-12-21)
      A characterisation of dairy, beef and sheep breeds and/or strains best suited to profitable/sustainable production within the context of European [semi] intensive pasture-based systems is presented. To deliver optimal performance, pasture must be managed effectively, but pasture-based systems are less energy intensive, are climate sensitive and induce challenges and constraints not normally posed to animals in intensive feeding environments. This emphasises the importance of animal traits associated with robustness and adaptive abilities. A survey of French dairy farmers concluded that a robust cow is an “invisible” cow with a long lifetime. The traits common to both indoor and grazing systems include: efficient converters of feed to human edible products, functionality, being healthy, reproductively fit and exhibiting longevity. Unique to successful grazing is the capability to achieve large intakes of forage to meet productive potential, an ability to adapt to fluctuating feed supply and, in seasonal systems, the ability to conceive and give birth at the appropriate time each year, usually within 365 d. The breed or strain of choice may differ based on local management constraints and objectives; however, general principles apply, and ideally should be guided by a suitable selection index combining all of the economically important traits appropriate to the local conditions and systems.
    • Towards sustainable European grassland farming with Inno4Grass: an infrastructure for innovation and knowledge sharing

      Krause, A.; Becker, T.; Feindt, P.H.; Huyghe, C.; Van den Pol-van Dasselaar, A.; O'Donovan, Michael; European Union; 727368-INNO4GRASS (Teagasc, 2021-12-14)
      European agriculture is facing tremendous challenges related to the rapid decrease in farm populations, competitiveness on open markets and the preservation of natural resources. Grasslands, which are highly significant for nature conservation often face land-use competition with arable cropping, urbanisation and other uses. Farmers need dedicated innovations to improve the economic performance of grasslands and their effective implementation in practice. This requires co-creation of knowledge between researchers and farmland practitioners, as was broadly pointed out by the European Commission. This paper describes a novel approach for creating a collaborative space for grassland innovations contributing to profitability of European grassland farms while preserving environmental benefits. Innovative modes of collaboration between practice and science are enabled by an international thematic network across eight European member states. A methodology that serves to collect farmers’ innovative ideas and to stimulate collaboration among various stakeholders (farmers’ groups, extension services, education and research) including cross-border collaborations, where grassland-related knowledge is made available for local conditions. This interactive innovation model fosters knowledge exchange and establishes a farmland-specific information management system. The aim is to stimulate a renewed, collaborative innovation culture for European Union (EU) grasslands. The methods are conceptualised and put into practice by the thematic network project Inno4Grass funded under Horizon 2020.
    • Societal and economic options to support grassland-based dairy production in Europe

      Van den Pol-van Dasselaar, A.; Becker, T.; Botana Fernández, A.; Peratoner, G. (Teagasc, 2021-06-04)
      Grassland-based dairy production provides multiple benefits to farmers and to the wider society, but the European grassland area has been significantly reduced during the last decades. This paper aims to explore societal and economic options to support grassland-based dairy production in Europe. In the recent past, several societal initiatives have emerged to stimulate grassland-based dairy production: treaties, premiums and market concepts. When developing stimulating initiatives, the mindset of the farmer should be taken into account. Farmers are key actors when it comes to maintaining and improving grassland-based dairy production systems since they decide on the day-to-day management of the farm. To maintain grassland-based dairy production and to preserve the associated ecosystem services, it is, therefore, necessary to clearly show the importance of this production system for society to the farmers (show the customer perspective) and to support this by valuing the products from these systems accordingly. “New” business models should financially reward farmers for their added value contributions in delivering ecosystem services.
    • A review of precision technologies in pasture-based dairying systems

      Shalloo, Laurence; Byrne, T.; Leso, L.; Ruelle, Elodie; Starsmore, K.; Geoghegan, A.; Werner, J.; O’Leary, N. (Teagasc, 2021-02-02)
      Grassland-based dairy production provides multiple benefits to farmers and to the wider society, but the European grassland area has been significantly reduced during the last decades. This paper aims to explore societal and economic options to support grassland-based dairy production in Europe. In the recent past, several societal initiatives have emerged to stimulate grassland-based dairy production: treaties, premiums and market concepts. When developing stimulating initiatives, the mindset of the farmer should be taken into account. Farmers are key actors when it comes to maintaining and improving grassland-based dairy production systems since they decide on the day-to-day management of the farm. To maintain grassland-based dairy production and to preserve the associated ecosystem services, it is, therefore, necessary to clearly show the importance of this production system for society to the farmers (show the customer perspective) and to support this by valuing the products from these systems accordingly. “New” business models should financially reward farmers for their added value contributions in delivering ecosystem services.
    • Influence of pasture feeding on milk and meat products in terms of human health and product quality

      STANTON, CATHERINE; Mills, S.; Ryan, A.; Di Gioia, D.; Ross, R. Paul (Teagasc, 2021-02-02)
      Cows are fed either indoors on a diet of mixed ration or in areas with temperate climates, such as Ireland and New Zealand, the feeding regime of dairy and beef herds is almost entirely pasture-based. Animal feeding regimes and herd management practices are linked to differences in organoleptic and nutritional quality attributes of milk, dairy and meat/beef products, with pasture-based feeding systems being associated with superior quality produce. Consumers generally perceive that milk and meat products produced from outdoor grazing pastures are “healthier” than produce derived from indoor feeding systems, based on animals fed typical indoor rations and concentrates. However, while research has demonstrated differences in milk and meat quality, especially in terms of fatty acids, based on different feeding systems, data are limited on the impact of dairy and meat products produced from different feeding systems on human health.
    • Opportunities and challenges for breeding perennial ryegrass cultivars with improved livestock production potential

      Gilliland, T.J.; Ball, T.; Hennessy, Deirdre (Teagasc, 2021-01-30)
      This review addresses key factors and impediments that govern the efficient transfer of nutrient energy from primary producing grassland to ruminant milk and meat. The review focuses on permanent improved grasslands, defined as “swards maintained at a high production potential by grass-to-grass renewal”, frequently of a 5- to 10-yr longevity. Breeding progress to date is examined as are the primary objectives for the next generation of cultivars. This involves aligning grass productivity to ruminant demand in three primary aspects, namely intake potential, nutritional value and productivity profile. The opportunity to selectively improve plant traits affecting sward structure, chemical composition, seasonality and ability to persist and perform under farm conditions is evaluated. The EU context involves appraising the impact of variables such as grass species and cultivar, regional abiotic stresses (water, temperature, nutrients, soil type, etc.), biotic stresses from disease and pests, regional diversity in sward management strategies, and the opportunity to minimise the environmental footprint of ruminant farming.
    • Ruminant grassland production systems in Ireland

      O'Donovan, Michael; Hennessy, Deirdre; Creighton, Philip (Teagasc, 2021-01-12)
      In Ireland grazing systems provide the basis of sustainable livestock production, as grazed grass is the cheapest feed source of nutrients for ruminants. The main future objective for these systems is to achieve high grass utilisation, ensure system sustainability and maintain extremely high animal health and welfare. There is no reason why all three cannot be combined. Ireland’s national farm policy targets growth in exports to €19 billion per annum by 2025. This figure represents an 85% increase from the current 3 yr average. There are major improvements required in the areas of grassland management and its conversion into milk and meat to fulfil such a target. While every farm situation is unique due to varying soil types, climatic conditions, stocking rates and management capabilities, herbage production and utilisation is below optimum on most farms. Irish farms, especially dairy farms, are expanding and will continue to do so over the next number of years. Increasing stocking rates and more compact calving and lambing has resulted in increased spring feed demand. Extra grass needs be grown and utilised in this period to minimise the use of supplementary feed. This paper outlines the importance of grassland on Irish farms, and where farms can improve grassland management, to increase output, lower farm costs and improve further farm system sustainability.
    • Data file: A landscape classification map of Ireland and its potential use in national land use monitoring.

      Carlier, J.; Doyle, M.; Finn, John; Ó hUallacháin, D.; Moran, J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 2019R425 (Elsevier, 2021)
      This data file provides the map (png file) and GIS data associated with a publication in the Journal of Environmental Management titled 'A landscape classification map of Ireland and its potential use in national land use monitoring.'
    • An outline of achievements in selected areas of forest research in Ireland 1960–2021

      Farrelly, Niall; Nemesio Gorriz, Miguel; Short, I.; Ní Dhubháin, Á.; Tobin, B.; O’Hanlon, R.; Earl, R.; McCullagh, A.; O’Donoghue, C.; Ryan, M. (Teagasc, 2022-03-01)
      In this paper, we provide an overview of achievements in forest research in Ireland carried out by various agencies over the past 60 yr. Many of the outcomes of the research have ensured that policy and practice are well-founded, and many of the research results form the basis of current forest standards and practice. Forest research has, and will continue to have, a significant role in national policy development and international reporting commitments. The achievement of future goals and targets is increasingly dependent on the maintenance of the goods and services that forests provide; these can be enhanced through the establishment of new forests and by appropriate management of the resource (e.g. The EU Green Deal and EU Forest Strategy). We outline the current state of knowledge which can be used to inform afforestation goals and the importance of tree improvement, forest management and forest protection to improve competitiveness and sustainability. Research into forestry and carbon provides a focus on the opportunities and challenges of climate change to Irish forestry. Future efforts will involve longer-term monitoring of environmental change commensurate with the forest rotation to reduce the uncertainties associated with climate change. Research into forestry economics, attitudinal surveys and behavioural studies may help inform the achievement of future policy goals. Reducing the impacts of biotic attack through efficient surveying, disease monitoring and assessing future risk is likely to be the focus of future research effort.
    • Impact of a total mixed ration or pasture/pasture silage-based feeding strategy in the initial stages of lactation of spring-calving dairy cows on milk production, composition and selected milk processability parameters

      McKay, Z.C.; Mulligan, F.J.; Brady, E.L.; O’Sullivan, M.; Rajauria, G.; Lynch, M.B.; O’Callaghan, T.F.; Pierce, K.M.; Enterprise Ireland Innovative Partnership; Department of Agriculture Food and Marine; et al. (Teagasc, 2022-02-28)
      The objective of this experiment was to investigate the effect of feeding strategy on milk production, composition and selected processability parameters in the initial stages of lactation. Twenty Holstein Friesian cows were allocated to one of two dietary treatments (n = 10; 7 multiparous and 3 primiparous) in a randomised complete block design for 21 d from day 10 to day 31 post-calving. Treatment 1 (pasture-based system [PBS]) was a pasture/pasture silage-based diet where cows were offered ad libitum grazed pasture or pasture silage (when weather did not permit grazing) plus 3 kg DM/d or 5 kg DM/d concentrate supplementation, respectively. On average, cows grazed pasture for 7.5 d and were fed pasture silage indoors for 13.5 d. Treatment 2 (TMR) was a total mixed ration (TMR) diet made up of concentrate, plus maize silage, pasture silage, beet pulp, soya bean meal and straw. Multiparous cows were blocked on calving date and balanced for parity and milk yield. Primiparous cows were balanced for live weight. Milk attributes pertinent to composition and functionality (e.g., fatty acids and rennet coagulation time [RCT]) were examined over a 21-d experimental period from day 10 to day 31 post-calving. Cows offered PBS tended to have a lower test day milk yield (PBS = 24.2 kg/cow vs. TMR = 26.8 kg/cow, P = 0.09) and a greater milk urea nitrogen (MUN) content compared to TMR (PBS = 0.030 g/100 g milk vs. TMR = 0.013 g/100 g milk, P < 0.001). Most notably, PBS-derived milks had a greater (P < 0.001) concentration of cis-9 trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to TMR. In conclusion, milk produced during early lactation from both feeding strategies was suitable for processing. Feeding a TMR compared with ad libitum pasture/pasture silage had no impact on average milk pH, casein concentration or RCT. Cows fed a pasture/pasture silage-based diet produced milk with a desirable RCT for milk processing, while the higher MUN content from cows offered PBS did not impact the processability of milk. Furthermore, milk from cows offered PBS had greater concentrations of cis-9 trans-11 CLA, which may offer human health benefits.
    • A landscape classification map of Ireland and its potential use in national land use monitoring

      Carlier, J.; Doyle, M.; Finn, John; O hUallachain, Daire; Moran, J.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 2019R425 (Elsevier BV, 2021-07)
      This study presents a novel landscape classification map of the Republic of Ireland and is the first to identify broad landscape classes by incorporating physiographic and land cover data. The landscape classification responds to commitments to identify and classify the Irish landscape as a signatory to the European Landscape Convention. The methodology applied a series of clustering iterations to determine an objective multivariate classification of physiographic landscape units and land cover datasets. The classification results determined nine statistically significant landscape classes and the development of a landscape classification map at a national scale. A statistical breakdown of land cover area and diversity of each class was interpreted, and a comparison was extended using independent descriptive variables including farmland use intensity, elevation, and dominant soil type. Each class depicts unique spatial and composition characteristics, from coastal, lowland and elevated, to distinct and dominating land cover types, further explained by the descriptive variables. The significance of individual classes and success of the classification is discussed with particular reference to the wider applicability of the map. The transferability of the methodology to other existing physiographic maps and environmental datasets to generate new landscape classifications is also considered. This novel work facilitates the development of a strategic framework to efficiently monitor, compare and analyse ecological and other land use data that is spatially representative of the distribution and extent of land cover in the Irish countryside.
    • Current research and emerging tools to improve fresh red meat quality

      GAGAOUA, Mohammed; Duffy, Geraldine; Álvarez García, Carlos; Burgess, Catherine; Hamill, Ruth; Crofton, Emily C.; Botinestean, Cristina; Ferragina, A.; Cafferky, J.; Mullen, Anne Maria; et al. (Teagasc, 2022-03-01)
      A consumer’s decision to purchase red meat is guided by a combination of many interacting factors including safety, nutrition, sustainability and perception of healthiness along with a variety of sensory characteristics such as colour, marbling, tenderness, juiciness and flavour. Red meat quality is complex and influenced by many intrinsic and extrinsic factors, spanning the chain from breed/genetics through to the final end product with key influences coming from on-farm management and post-mortem processing. As a result of various factors, including consumer demands, the importance of both red meat quality and safety has in recent times come to the fore for the meat industry, with steps to meet these requirements having a large bearing on profitability. Therefore, a critical review of steps which can help control these traits is very important. Accordingly, several processing strategies were proposed at the research and industry level aiming to improve fresh red meat quality traits. This review summarises the current methods applied to improve fresh red meat quality and safety, including the advances in management and prediction tools for carcass and technological and sensory quality traits. These methods are also relevant to the safety and microbiological status of carcasses and meat produced, along with the recent developments in sensory analysis, which aim to understand the sensory properties of red meat and consumers responses. The potential of foodomics approaches is discussed under the topics of genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, which help our understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms behind the variation of sensory and technological quality traits and their use for the discovery of putative biomarkers. We further considered the current and emerging sequencing-based methods used to understand microbial community composition of fresh red meat.
    • Irish research response to dairy quality in an era of change

      O'Brien, Bernadette J.; Beresford, Tom; Cotter, Paul D.; Gleeson, D.; Kelly, A.; Kilcawley, Kieran; Magan, J.; McParland, Sinead; Murphy, E.; O’Callaghan, Tom; et al. (Teagasc, 2022-02-26)
      The Irish dairy sector is recognised for its very significant contribution to the national economic status; it is now worth ∼€5 billion annually and represents the largest food and drink export category, which, in turn, represents one of the four largest manufacturing industries in the country. Given anticipated further growth in global demand for dairy products and the positive attributes and capabilities that Ireland has to meet that demand, in terms of pasture-based production and cost competitiveness, it is incumbent for the sector to attain the highest quality milk and dairy products. The combined collaborative approach between research and industry has ensured significant progress and enabled Ireland to remain at the forefront globally in terms of production of quality milk and dairy products. This paper highlights some specific scientific platforms and technologies currently shaping the industry in this regard and discusses current research activity as well as anticipating key requirements for future progress. While research, and farm and processing plant management have accomplished very significant advances in milk and dairy product quality, some overarching emerging challenges include product substitution and sustainability. Some key pillars for the future have been identified on which a strong, efficient dairy sector can be maintained and progressed. Specifically, the use of evidence-based information and real-time measures in prediction and decision-making will be a crucial pillar for the dairy sector of the future. This can promote an approach of proactive maintenance and optimisation of production through improved predictability and control of manufacturing processes.
    • Benchmarking a decade of holistic agro-environmental studies within the Agricultural Catchments Programme

      Mellander, Per-Erik; Lynch, M.B.; Galloway, J.; Žurovec, O.; McCormack, Michele; O’Neill, M.; Hawtree, D.; Burgess, E.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Teagasc, 2022-02-26)
      Meeting sustainable food production challenges requires efficient ways to manage nutrients and mitigate the losses of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) to water. Future nutrient management therefore requires a clearer understanding of the relative influence of soils, geology, farm practice, landscape and weather on the propensity for nutrients to be lost to water. Within the Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP), environmental, agronomic and socioeconomic data have been gathered since 2009, using the same experimental methodology in five meso-scale river catchments, and one karst spring zone, covering a range of soils, landscapes and farming systems. The ACP has contributed to a better understanding of nutrient mobilisation and transfer pathways and highlighted the influence of the physical and chemical environment as well as agricultural and meteorological drivers on diffuse nutrient loss to ground and surface waters. The environmental quality standards were breached for N and/or P in some of the catchments, but for different reasons and not always clearly linked to the source pressures within the catchment. There are clearly no one-size-fits-all solutions for mitigation of nutrient losses to water. A better understanding of the underlying processes is required to identify critical source areas, to select mitigation strategies, when to implement them and to build realistic expectations of their impact. Sustainability in an agricultural setting is not confined to environmental issues, but also includes social, economic and innovative aspects. To maximise farmers’ uptake of environmental measures, the actions should encompass all these aspects of sustainability. Integrated knowledge transfer is key.
    • Animal welfare research – progress to date and future prospects

      Boyle, Laura A; Conneely, M.; Kennedy, Emer; O’Connell, N.; O'Driscoll, Keelin; Earley, Bernadette (Teagasc, 2022-02-26)
      RECORDABSTRACTARTICLE Animal welfare research – progress to date and future prospects OTHER Author(s): L. Boyle 1 , M. Conneely 1 , E. Kennedy 1 , N. O’Connell 2 , K. O’Driscoll 1 , B. Earley 3 , Publication date (Electronic): 26 February 2022 Journal: Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research Publisher: Compuscript Keywords: Animal welfare, beef, dairy, pig, poultry, welfare assessment Abstract The welfare status of an animal is dependent on its ability to cope and exist in harmony with its environment, such that good physical and psychological health is maintained. Improving animal welfare is an increasingly important aspect of livestock production systems due, in a large extent, to increased consumer concerns about animal production practices. Animal welfare is an integrated part of quality assurance programmes for sustainable animal production, considering that welfare, health, management, economy, consumer acceptance and environmental impact are interdependent. The major welfare concerns in the livestock industry in recent years relate to the rearing and management of dairy calves, the welfare of the dairy cow, effect of husbandry management procedures on the welfare of beef cattle, rearing of sows in gestation and farrowing crates, and the broiler (meat) chicken sector. The paper will focus on scientific research underpinning these welfare concerns, with a particular focus on research conducted on the island of Ireland.
    • The development of effective ruminant breeding programmes in Ireland from science to practice

      Berry, Donagh; Dunne, F.L.; McHugh, Noirin; McParland, Sinead; O’Brien, A.C.; Twomey, A.J. (Teagasc, 2022-02-25)
      A genetic improvement programme is a sustainable, cumulative and permanent approach to achieving year-on-year performance gains. Its success is predicated not only on an efficient and effective breeding programme but also on a vision of the traits of importance in the future. A single, industry-owned, centralised database for cattle and sheep has been the foundation for genetic improvement programmes in Ireland. While DNA information has been heralded as a breakthrough for accelerating genetic gain, the basic principles of a successful animal breeding programme still remain the same: (1) a pertinent breeding goal, (2) the appropriate breeding objective to deliver on the breeding goal, (3) an accurate genetic evaluation system, (4) an efficient and effective breeding scheme, and (5) a system to disseminate the elite germplasm to the end user; also of importance is a system for validating the underlying procedures and principles. The constituent traits and their relative emphasis within breeding objectives will continue to be contentious. Traits that will need to be considered more in future ruminant breeding objectives include environmental impact, product quality and animal well-being, including health; while not always explicitly included in Irish breeding objectives for cattle and sheep, indirect improvements for many are expected via the genetic improvement in traits like reproductive performance and survival as well as macro measures of quality such as milk fat and protein concentration and carcass merit. Crucial for the future sustainability of ruminant production systems is the co-evolution of management systems and breeding programmes so that the animal of the future is suited to the most sustainably efficient production system.