Now showing items 1-20 of 2476

    • Predicting the dry matter intake of grazing dairy cows using infrared reflectance spectroscopy analysis

      Lahart, B; McParland, S; Kennedy, E; Boland, T.M.; Condon, T; Williams, M; Galvin, N; McCarthy, B; Buckley, F; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-10-31)
      The objective of this study was to compare mid-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (MIRS) analysis of milk and near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) analysis of feces with regard to their ability to predict the dry matter intake (DMI) of lactating grazing dairy cows. A data set comprising 1,074 records of DMI from 457 cows was available for analysis. Linear regression and partial least squares regression were used to develop the equations using the following variables: (1) milk yield (MY), fat percentage, protein percentage, body weight (BW), stage of lactation (SOL), and parity (benchmark equation); (2) MIRS wavelengths; (3) MIRS wavelengths, MY, fat percentage, protein percentage, BW, SOL, and parity; (4) NIRS wavelengths; (5) NIRS wavelengths, MY, fat percentage, protein percentage, BW, SOL, and parity; (6) MIRS and NIRS wavelengths; and (7) MIRS wavelengths, NIRS wavelengths, MY, fat percentage, protein percentage, BW, SOL, and parity. The equations were validated both within herd using animals from similar experiments and across herds using animals from independent experiments. The accuracy of equations was greater for within-herd validation compared with across-herds validation. Across-herds validation was deemed the more suitable method to assess equations for robustness and real-world application. The benchmark equation was more accurate [coefficient of determination (R2) = 0.60; root mean squared error (RMSE) = 1.68 kg] than MIRS alone (R2 = 0.30; RMSE = 2.23 kg) or NIRS alone (R2 = 0.16; RMSE = 2.43 kg). The combination of the benchmark equation with MIRS (R2 = 0.64; RMSE = 1.59 kg) resulted in slightly superior fitting statistics compared with the benchmark equation alone. The combination of the benchmark equation with NIRS (R2 = 0.58; RMSE = 1.71 kg) did not result in a more accurate prediction equation than the benchmark equation. The combination of MIRS and NIRS wavelengths resulted in superior fitting statistics compared with either method alone (R2 = 0.36; RMSE = 2.15 kg). The combination of the benchmark equation and MIRS and NIRS wavelengths resulted in the most accurate equation (R2 = 0.68; RMSE = 1.52 kg). A further analysis demonstrated that Holstein-Friesian cows could predict the DMI of Jersey × Holstein-Friesian crossbred cows using both MIRS and NIRS. Similarly, the Jersey × Holstein-Friesian animals could predict the DMI of Holstein-Friesian cows using both MIRS and NIRS. The equations developed in this study have the capacity to predict DMI of grazing dairy cows. From a practicality perspective, MIRS in combination with variables in the benchmark equation is the most suitable equation because MIRS is currently used on all milk-recorded milk samples from dairy cows.
    • Meta-proteomics for the discovery of protein biomarkers of beef tenderness: An overview of integrated studies

      Picard, Brigitte; Gagaoua, Mohammed; Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant; Enterprise Ireland; Pôle Aquitain Agro-Alimentation et Nutrition; National Institute of Agronomical Research; National Institute of Origin and Quality; FNADT Massif Central; DATAR Massif Central; ANR GenAnimal; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-01)
      This meta-proteomics review focused on proteins identified as candidate biomarkers of beef tenderness by comparing extreme groups of tenderness using two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) associated with mass spectrometry (MS). We reviewed in this integromics study the results of 12 experiments that identified protein biomarkers from two muscles, Longissimus thoracis (LT) and Semitendinosus (ST), of different types of cattle: young bulls, steers or cows from beef breeds (Charolais, Limousin, Blond d’Aquitaine), hardy breed (Salers) or mixed breed (PDO Maine-Anjou). Comparative proteomics of groups differing in their tenderness evaluated by instrumental Warner-Bratzler shear force (WBSF) or by sensory analysis using trained panelists, revealed 61 proteins differentially abundant (P < 0.05) between tender and tough groups. A higher number of discriminative proteins was observed for LT (50 proteins) compared to ST muscle (28 proteins). The Gene Ontology annotations showed that the proteins of structure and contraction, protection against oxidative stress and apoptosis, energy metabolism, 70 family HSPs and proteasome subunits are more involved in LT tenderness than in ST. Amongst the list of candidate biomarkers of tenderness some proteins such as HSPB1 are common between the 2 muscles whatever the evaluation method of tenderness, but some relationships with tenderness for others (MYH1, TNNT3, HSPB6) are inversed. Muscle specificities were revealed in this meta-proteomic study. For example, Parvalbumin (PVALB) appeared as a robust biomarker in ST muscle whatever the evaluation method of tenderness. HSPA1B seems to be a robust candidate for LT tenderness (with WBSF) regardless the animal type. Some gender specificities were further identified including similarities between cows and steers (MSRA and HSPA9) in contrast to bulls. The comparison of the 12 proteomic studies revealed strong dissimilarities to identify generic biomarkers of beef tenderness. This integrative analysis allowed better understanding of the biological processes involved in tenderness in two muscles and their variations according to the main factors underlying this quality. It allowed also proposing for the first time a comprehensive list of candidate biomarkers to be evaluated deeply to validate their relationships with tenderness on a large number of cattle and breeds.
    • Transcriptomic response of maize primary roots to low temperatures at seedling emergence

      Di Fenza, Mauro; Hogg, Bridget; Grant, Jim; Barth, Susanne; Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF 07 501 (PeerJ, 2017-01-05)
      Background. Maize (Zea mays) is a C4 tropical cereal and its adaptation to temperate climates can be problematic due to low soil temperatures at early stages of establishment. Methods. In the current study we have firstly investigated the physiological response of twelve maize varieties, from a chilling condition adapted gene pool, to sub-optimal growth temperature during seedling emergence. To identify transcriptomic markers of cold tolerance in already adapted maize genotypes, temperature conditions were set below the optimal growth range in both control and low temperature groups. The conditions were as follows; control (18 ◦C for 16 h and 12 ◦C for 8 h) and low temperature (12 ◦C for 16 h and 6 ◦C for 8 h). Four genotypes were identified from the condition adapted gene pool with significant contrasting chilling tolerance. Results. Picker and PR39B29 were the more cold-tolerant lines and Fergus and Codisco were the less cold-tolerant lines. These four varieties were subjected to microarray analysis to identify differentially expressed genes under chilling conditions. Exposure to low temperature during establishment in the maize varieties Picker, PR39B29, Fergus and Codisco, was reflected at the transcriptomic level in the varieties Picker and PR39B29. No significant changes in expression were observed in Fergus and Codisco following chilling stress. A total number of 64 genes were differentially expressed in the two chilling tolerant varieties. These two varieties exhibited contrasting transcriptomic profiles, in which only four genes overlapped. Discussion. We observed that maize varieties possessing an enhanced root growth ratio under low temperature were more tolerant, which could be an early and inexpensive measure for germplasm screening under controlled conditions. We have identified novel cold inducible genes in an already adapted maize breeding gene pool. This illustrates that further varietal selection for enhanced chilling tolerance is possible in an already preselected gene pool.
    • Advances of plant-based structured food delivery systems on the in vitro digestibility of bioactive compounds

      Comunian, Talita Aline; Drusch, Stephan; Brodkorb, Andre; Research Leaders 2025 programme; European Union; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Teagasc; 754380; 16/RC/3835 (Taylor & Francis, 2021-03-27)
      Food researchers are currently showing a growing interest in in vitro digestibility studies due to their importance for obtaining food products with health benefits and ensuring a balanced nutrient intake. Various bioactive food compounds are sensitive to the digestion process, which results in a lower bioavailability in the gut. The main objective of structured food delivery systems is to promote the controlled release of these compounds at the desired time/place, in addition to protecting them during digestion processes. This review provides an overview of the influence of structured delivery systems on the in vitro digestive behavior. The main delivery systems are summarized, the pros and cons of different structures are outlined, and examples of several studies that optimized the use of these structured systems are provided. In addition, we have reviewed the use of plant-based systems, which have been of interest to food researchers and the food industry because of their health benefits, improved sustainability as well as being an alternative for vegetarian, vegan and consumers suffering from food allergies. In this context, the review provides new insights and comprehensive knowledge regarding the influence of plant-based structured systems on the digestibility of encapsulated compounds and proteins/polysaccharides used in the encapsulation process.
    • Mid infrared spectroscopy and milk quality traits: a data analysis competition at the “International Workshop on Spectroscopy and Chemometrics 2021”

      Frizzarin, Maria; Bevilacqua, Antonio; Dhariyal, Bhaskar; Domijan, Katarina; Ferraccioli, Frederico; Hayes, Elena; Ifrim, Georgiana; Konkowleska, Agnieszka; Le Nguyễn, Thach; Mbaka, Uche; et al. (2021-09-06)
      chemometric data analysis challenge has been arranged during the first edition of the “International Workshop on Spectroscopy and Chemometrics”, organized by the Vistamilk SFI Research Centre and held online in April 2021. The aim of the competition was to build a calibration model in order to predict milk quality traits exploiting the information contained in mid-infrared spectra only. Three different traits have been provided, presenting heterogeneous degrees of prediction complexity thus possibly requiring trait-specific modelling choices. In this paper the different approaches adopted by the participants are outlined and the insights obtained from the analyses are critically discussed.
    • Does supplementation with leucine-enriched protein alone and in combination with fish-oil-derived n–3 PUFA affect muscle mass, strength, physical performance, and muscle protein synthesis in well-nourished older adults? A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

      Murphy, Caoileann H; Flanagan, Ellen M; De Vito, Giuseppe; Susta, Davide; Mitchelson, Kathleen A J; de Marco Castro, Elena; Senden, Joan M G; Goessens, Joy P B; Mikłosz, Agnieszka; Chabowski, Adrian; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2021-04-19)
      Background Leucine-enriched protein (LEU-PRO) and long-chain (LC) n–3 (ω–3) PUFAs have each been proposed to improve muscle mass and function in older adults, whereas their combination may be more effective than either alone. Objective The impact of LEU-PRO supplementation alone and combined with LC n–3 PUFAs on appendicular lean mass, strength, physical performance and myofibrillar protein synthesis (MyoPS) was investigated in older adults at risk of sarcopenia. Methods This 24-wk, 3-arm parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted in 107 men and women aged ≥65 y with low muscle mass and/or strength. Twice daily, participants consumed a supplement containing either LEU-PRO (3 g leucine, 10 g protein; n = 38), LEU-PRO plus LC n–3 PUFAs (0.8 g EPA, 1.1 g DHA; LEU-PRO+n–3; n = 38), or an isoenergetic control (CON; n = 31). Appendicular lean mass, handgrip strength, leg strength, physical performance, and circulating metabolic and renal function markers were measured pre-, mid-, and postintervention. Integrated rates of MyoPS were assessed in a subcohort (n = 28). Results Neither LEU-PRO nor LEU-PRO+n–3 supplementation affected appendicular lean mass, handgrip strength, knee extension strength, physical performance or MyoPS. However, isometric knee flexion peak torque (treatment effect: −7.1 Nm; 95% CI: −12.5, −1.8 Nm; P < 0.01) was lower postsupplementation in LEU-PRO+n–3 compared with CON. Serum triacylglycerol and total adiponectin concentrations were lower, and HOMA-IR was higher, in LEU-PRO+n–3 compared with CON postsupplementation (all P < 0.05). Estimated glomerular filtration rate was higher and cystatin c was lower in LEU-PRO and LEU-PRO+n–3 postsupplementation compared with CON (all P < 0.05). Conclusions Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not observe a beneficial effect of LEU-PRO supplementation alone or combined with LC n–3 PUFA supplementation on appendicular lean mass, strength, physical performance or MyoPS in older adults at risk of sarcopenia. This trial was registered at as NCT03429491.
    • Disease screening profiles and colostrum management practices on 16 Irish suckler beef farms

      O’Shaughnessy, James; Earley, Bernadette; Barrett, Damien; Doherty, Michael L; Crosson, Paul; de Waal, Theo; Mee, John F; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2015)
      Background Calf output is a key element in determining the profitability of a suckler beef enterprise. Infectious agents such as Bovine Virus Diarrhoea (BVD) virus, colostrum management and parasitic challenge can all affect calf output. Prior to the national BVD eradication programme, there was little published information on either the prevalence or effect of BVD in Irish beef herds. There is little published information on colostrum management practices in Irish commercial beef herds and there have also been few studies published on the prevalence of liver fluke or rumen fluke infection in Irish beef herds. Sixteen farms participating in the Teagasc/Farmers Journal BETTER farm beef programme were used in this study. Fourteen herds were screened for the presence of BVD virus in 2010 using RT-PCR. In 13 herds, blood samples were collected from calves (2–14 days of age) in November 2011 - April 2012 to determine their passive immune status using the zinc sulphate turbidity (ZST) test, while in 12 herds, blood and faecal samples were taken in order to determine the level of exposure to gastrointestinal and hepatic helminths. Results The overall prevalence of BVD virus-positive cattle was 0.98% (range 0 - 3% per herd, range 0.6 - 3.0% per positive herd). Eighteen of the 82 calves (22%) sampled had ZST values less than 20 units (herd mean range 17.0 – 38.5 units) indicating a failure of passive transfer. The overall animal-level (herd-level) prevalence of liver fluke and rumen fluke infection in these herds was 40.5% (100%) and 20.8% (75%), respectively. Conclusions The potential costs associated with the presence of animals persistently infected with BVD virus through the increased use of antibiotics; the rate of failure of passive transfer of colostral immunoglobulins and the high prevalence of liver fluke infection in these herds highlight that some Irish suckler beef farms may not be realizing their economic potential due to a range of herd health issues. The use of farm-specific herd health plans should be further encouraged on Irish suckler beef farms.
    • First Report of Shot Hole Disease on Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) Caused by Micrococcus aloeverae in Ireland

      Smith, L.; Gibriel, H. A. Y.; Brennan, C.; del Pino de Elias, M.; Twamley, A.; Doohan, F.; Grogan, H.; Feechan, A.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 15/S/759 (American Phytopathological Society, 2020-08-13)
      First Report of Shot Hole disease on Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) Caused by Micrococcus aloeverae in Ireland
    • Antioxidant active packaging systems to extend the shelf life of sliced cooked ham

      Pateiro, Mirian; Domínguez, Rubén; Bermúdez, Roberto; Munekata, Paulo E.S.; Zhang, Wangang; Gagaoua, Mohammed; Lorenzo, José M.; INIA-MINECO; Axencia Galega de Innovación; CYTED; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2019-11)
      The effectiveness of active packaging systems with green tea extract and oregano essential oil was checked for their use in sliced cooked ham. Three packaging systems were evaluated: i) control group without active film, ii) ATGT packed with active film of green tea extract (1%) and iii) ATRX with a mixture of green tea extract and oregano essential oil (1%). The evolution of microbiological, physicochemical (pH, aw, colour and lipid oxidation) and sensory attributes were analysed after 0, 7, 14 and 21 days of refrigerated storage. Microbial populations were below the limits established by the European Regulations (106 UFC/g). The samples packed with ATGT showed the better antimicrobial activity against total viable counts (TVC) and lactic acid bacteria (BAL), while lower counts of Brochothrix thermosphacta was observed in ATRX film (1.48 vs. 1.78 and 2.59 UFC/g for ATRX vs. ATGT and CON, respectively). Regarding colour, low differences were found between the samples packaged with active and control films. Unlike L*, a* and b* parameters showed a progressive diminution throughout the storage in all batches, being the films that contained green tea (ATGT) were the ones that showed the less discolouration at the end of storage (8.86 vs. 8.63 and 7.50 for ATGT vs. CON and ATRX, respectively). The low fat content of this type of product and the use of anaerobic atmosphere for the packaging of cooked ham did not allow to show an antioxidant effect on lipid oxidation (values below 0.15 mg MDA/kg). Finally, the use of ATGT and ATRX did not suppose a modification of the sensorial attributes of the product, being acceptance scores under the acceptance limit during the whole display.
    • Mitigation of phosphorus, sediment and Escherichia coli losses in runoff from a dairy farm roadway

      McDowell, R.W.; Daly, Karen M.; Fenton, Owen; Environment Bay of Plenty; Our Land and Water National Science Challenge; Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; C10X1507; 2018-W-MS-38 (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2020-11-30)
      Dairy cow deposits on farm roadways are a potential source of contaminants entering streams. Phosphorus (P), suspended sediment (SS) and Escherichia coli (E. coli) loads in 18 runoff events over 12 mo from two-halves of a section of dairy farm roadway that spilt into an adjacent P-impacted stream were measured. The runoff from one half was untreated while the other half was directed through a filter of steel melter slag [termed aluminium chlorohydrate (ACH)-altered slag] sprayed with 1% ACH solution to improve P sorption capacity. An uncertainty analysis was conducted to ascertain potential loads of P lost from roadways considering variation in deposit weight, number and P content. Over the monitoring period, the total load decreased P (92%), SS (98%) and E. coli (76%) from the ACHaltered slag roadway compared to the control. However, uncertainty analysis showed that the amount of dung-P deposited on the roadway could be 10-fold greater.
    • The effects of cow genetic group on the density of raw whole milk

      Parmar, P.; Lopez-Villalobos, Nicolas; Tobin, John T.; Murphy, Eoin; Buckley, Frank; McDonagh, A.; O’Mahony, J.A.; Crowley, S.V.; Kelly, A.L.; Shalloo, Laurence; et al. (Compuscript Ltd., 2021-01-30)
      The density of milk is dependent upon various factors including temperature, processing conditions, and animal breed. This study evaluated the effect of different cow genetic groups, Jersey, elite Holstein Friesians (EHF), and national average Holstein Friesians (NAHF) on the compositional and physicochemical properties of milk. Approximately 1,040 representative (morning and evening) milk samples (~115 per month during 9 mo) were collected once every 2 wk. Milk composition was determined with a Bentley Dairyspec instrument. Data were analysed with a mixed linear model that included the fixed effects of sampling month, genetic group, interaction between month and genetic group and the random effects of cow to account for repeated measures on the same animal. Milk density was determined using three different analytical approaches – a portable and a standard desktop density meter and 100 cm3 calibrated glass pycnometers. Milk density was analysed with the same mixed model as for milk composition but including the analytical method as a fixed effect. Jersey cows had the greatest mean for fat content (5.69 ± 0.13%), followed by EHF (4.81 ± 0.16%) and NAHF (4.30 ± 0.15%). Milk density was significantly higher (1.0313 g/cm³ ± 0.00026, P < 0.05) for the milk of Jersey breed when compared to the EHF (1.0304 ± 0.00026 g/cm³) and NAHF (1.0303 ± 0.00024 g/cm³) genetic groups. The results from this study can be used by farmers and dairy processors alike to enhance accuracy when calculating the quantity and value of milk solids depending upon the genetic merit of the animal/herd, and may also improve milk payment systems through relating milk solids content and density.
    • Adding value to under-utilised Irish fish roe: a physico-chemical and sensory comparison of cured Irish pollock (Pollachius pollachius) roe with commercial mullet (Mugil cephalus) and cod (Gadus morhua) products

      Furey, A.E.; Hoeche, U.; Noci, F.; Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2020-11-30)
      Irish marine fish roe is generally discarded at sea or processed as low value-added fishmeal and not utilised as nutritious seafood ingredients. Locally sourced pollock roes were salted, air-dried (Mediterranean-style) and compared to similar commercial mullet and cod products for: weight; moisture content; pH; instrumental texture and colour; and sensory attributes. Raw pollock roes averaged 105 g (n = 25). Roes lost on average 3.1% moisture (w/w) after a 2-h salting period and 48.8% weight reduction was observed after an average 105 h air-drying time. The moisture content of pollock was not significantly different to commercial products. Average pH for pollock, mullet and cod products was 5.9, 5.4 and 5.7, respectively (P < 0.05). Pollock and mullet had similar hardness, but cod was significantly harder than both, when measured instrumentally. Total colour difference (ΔE*) between the surface of pollock and cod, and that of pollock and mullet was 7.5 and 3.0, respectively. Sensory assessment of sliced and powdered products, using 9-point hedonic and 5-point just-about-right (JAR) scales, was conducted with 38 consumers. Pollock received the highest scores for overall liking and intention to purchase compared to commercial mullet and cod products, averaging 5.6, 5.6 and 4.9, respectively, for sliced roe products, and 6.3, 5.3 and 6.1 for powdered products. Penalty analysis of JAR showed “overall liking” was impacted by the flavour being “too fishy”. In conclusion, pollock had similar characteristics and acceptable sensory attributes compared to commercial products presenting opportunities to expand the range of value-added roe products (e.g., trout, salmon) available, while also contributing to waste reduction.
    • The effect of extended post-mortem ageing on the Warner–Brazler shear force of longissimus thoracis from beef heifers from two sire breeds, slaughtered at 20 or 25 mo of age

      Moloney, Aidan P; Picard, B.; Moran, Lara; European Union; Food-CT-2006-36241 (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2020-12-22)
      were examined. Spring-born Angus × Holstein-Friesian heifers (n = 48) and Belgian Blue × Holstein-Friesian heifers (n = 48) were slaughtered, within sire breed, at 20 or 25 mo of age. Approximately 48 h post-mortem, LT steaks (2.5 cm) were removed, and either stored at −20°C for chemical analysis or vacuum-packed, stored at 2°C for 7, 14 or 28 d post-mortem and then at −20°C pending Warner–Bratzler shear force (WBSF) analysis. Muscle from Angus-sired heifers had higher (P < 0.001) intramuscular fat (IMF) concentration, lower (P < 0.001) proportion of type IIX muscle fibres and higher (P < 0.001) proportion of type IIA and type I muscle fibres compared to muscle from Belgian Blue-sired heifers. Collagen characteristics did not differ between sire breeds. Later slaughter increased (P < 0.001) IMF concentration and decreased (P < 0.001) total and insoluble concentrations and collagen solubility. There were no interactions between the main effects for WBSF and no difference between sire breeds. Later slaughter and increasing the duration of ageing decreased (P < 0.05) WBSF. Based on threshold WBSF values in the literature, all samples would be considered tender (<39 N) after 7 d ageing. Untrained consumers are likely to detect the decrease in WBSF from 7 to 14 d ageing but not due to further ageing. Within the production system examined and based on WBSF data, extending LT ageing to 28 d is not necessary to ensure consumer satisfaction.
    • Oat–buckwheat breads – technological quality, staling and sensory properties

      Wronkowska, M.; Jarmułowicz, A.; Lamparski, G.; Jeliński, T.; Haros, C.M.; IAR & FR PAS; KNOW Consortium; 05-1/KNOW2/2015 (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2020-11-21)
      The technological and sensory properties and the staling of breads made from oat flour (OF) and buckwheat flour (BF) were analysed. Significant differences in protein and ash content were found in the experimental breads due to significant differences in the composition of the BF and OF used. As the proportion of BF in the recipe increased, a deterioration in the technological properties of the dough and bread as well as an increase in the crumb hardness were observed. The presence of OF in the recipe increased the bread volume, significantly enhanced the lightness of the crust and crumb and improved the overall sensory quality. The OF used in the recipe decreased the starch retrogradation enthalpy value, which is strongly related to a delay in bread staling. The proposed bakery products can be attractive to consumers who are looking for new food products.
    • Impact of field headlands on wheat and barley performance in a cool Atlantic climate as assessed in 40 Irish tillage fields

      Ward, M.; Forristal, Dermot; McDonnell, K.; Teagasc; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; ICTAGRI Eranet (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2020-11-30)
      The reduction in cereal crop yields on field headlands has previously been examined in other geographical regions, with research focusing on the relationship between yield and the distance from the crop edge. Headlands are subject to greater machinery trafficking than the centre of the field and the level of traffic imposed depends on the machine size and adopted turning practice. The aim of this work was to examine the impact of turning headlands on crop performance in a survey of 40 field sites in Irish conditions. The headland was categorised into three distinct zones: the area next to the field edge subject to moderate traffic intensities (field edge); the main headland area of greatest turning traffic (turning) and a transition zone (transition). An in-field zone (in-field) in which no machinery turns occur was also included. The 2-year survey included sites from three regions, four soil texture classes and had crops established with plough-based systems. Crop measurements, including plant densities, shoot counts and light interception, and yields were recorded at each site and included winter barley (WB), spring barley (SB) and winter wheat (WW) crops. The yield response of each crop type varied with sample zone, region and soil texture. There were significant (P < 0.001) yield differences recorded between the turning area and in-field zone for all three crops. Winter barley yields were reduced by 1.3 t/ha in the turning zone compared with the in-field section, while SB and WW had yield reductions of 2.08 and 4.04 t/ha, respectively, between these two field zones.
    • The Beast from the East: impact of an atypical cold weather event on hydrology and nutrient dynamics in two Irish catchments

      Vero, S.E.; McDonald, N.T.; McGrath, G.; Mellander, Per-Erik (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2020-11-21)
      A historic lack of continuous stream nutrient monitoring at the catchment scale limits understanding of the effects of snowstorms. The most significant snowstorm since 1985, nicknamed “the Beast from the East”, occurred in February–March 2018. High-frequency stream outlet monitoring in two close but hydrologically and agriculturally contrasting catchments (<1,200 ha) captured phosphorus (total and reactive), total oxygenated nitrogen (TON), temperature and discharge dynamics during and after the event. The grassland catchment consists of poorly drained gley soils and exhibits overland flow pathways, while the arable catchment consists of well-drained brown earths and is dominated by subsurface pathways. Nitrate (NO3-N) concentrations were initially elevated (3.50 and 7.89 mg/L for poorly drained grassland and well-drained arable catchments, respectively) before becoming diluted by meltwater. Total reactive phosphorus (TRP) displayed a distal (anti-clockwise) concentration-discharge hysteresis in the poorly drained grassland catchment suggesting low mobilisation from the soil. Conversely, the well-drained arable catchment displayed proximal (clockwise) hysteresis, indicative of the mobilisation from stream and bank sediment. These relatively infrequent snow events behave similarly to heavy rainfall as regards nutrient losses, albeit subject to a time-lag induced by the speed of snowmelt and the soil moisture deficit (SMD) prior to snowfall. Antecedent land management is crucial to mitigate risk. The current absence of records and analyses of catchment response, particularly nutrient dynamics, to atypical cold weather events in Ireland limits understanding of their effects on water quality. The present study provides the first such baseline information from which land management strategies and the implications for attaining environmental targets can be explored.
    • Behavioural and physiological responses of individually housed dairy calves to change in milk feeding frequency at different ages

      Scoley, G.; Ashfield, A.; Oiartzun, M. Romero; Gordon, A.; Morrison, S.J. (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2020-11-30)
      This study aimed to use a range of non-invasive monitoring technologies to investigate the behavioural and physiological responses of individually housed dairy calves to age at change in milk replacer (MR) feeding frequency. Forty-eight Holstein Friesian calves were individually penned and fed MR (625 g/d) as solids in one of three feeding regimes: (i) once-a-day feeding commencing at age 14 d (OAD14), (ii) once-a-day feeding commencing at age 28 d (OAD28) and (iii) twice-a-day feeding (TAD). Several behavioural (automatic activity sensors), physiological (infrared [IR] thermography and heart rate variability [HRV]) and haematological indicators were used to examine calf responses. Reduction in milk feeding frequency at 14 or 28 d of age increased daily concentrate intakes and drinking water consumption throughout the pre-wean period. Calf lying behaviour was unaffected by reduction in milk feeding frequency; however, TAD calves recorded a significant decrease in total daily lying time during the post-wean period compared with OAD28s. There was no effect of treatment on IR eye or rectal temperature throughout the experiment; however, there was an effect of age, with IR temperature decreasing as calf age increased. OAD14 calves tended to have decreased HRV at days 14 and 16, which is suggestive of an increased stress load. The findings suggest that under high levels of animal husbandry and whilst maintaining the same amount of milk powder/d (625 g/d), reduction in milk feeding frequency from twice to once daily at 28 d can occur without significant impact to behavioural, performance and physiological parameters assessed here.
    • Herbage nutritive value of binary- and multi-species swards relative to single-species swards in intensive silage systems

      Moloney, T.; Sheridan, H.; Grant, Jim; O'Riordan, Edward G.; O'Kiely, Padraig; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/147 (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2020-12-19)
      The nutritive value of sown binary- and multi-species grassland mixtures may differ from the values expected based on single-species swards of their constituent species. Field plots were established in a split-plot design to assess the nutritive value of binary- and multi-species mixtures compared to single-species swards of three grass species and red clover (RC) (Trifolium pratense L.) managed for intensive silage production. The nutritive value of grass–legume binary mixtures reflected the values of the constituent species grown on their own, and thus may be predicted from monoculture values. The relatively low digestibility (dry matter digestibility [DMD]) and crude protein (CP) content of the Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) sward compared to perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and timothy (Phleum pratense L.) suggests that it may have a limited role in binary- or multi-species swards. Herbage nutritive value in the multi-species swards (Mix 1: perennial ryegrass, timothy, RC and white clover [Trifolium repens L.]; Mix 2: perennial ryegrass, timothy, RC, ribwort plantain [Plantago lanceolata L.] and chicory [Cichorium intybus L.] ) appeared to be influenced more by the presence of legumes than herbs. Compared to perennial ryegrass, the multi-species swards had a slower rate of DMD decline prior to Cut 1, but subsequently had lower DMD values at the mid-season harvests. Both multi-species mixtures exhibited DMD, water-soluble carbohydrate (WSC) and CP values that would not have been predicted from their constituent species and thus need to be measured on herbage from field plots growing these mixtures.
    • Conservation efficiency and nutritive value of silages made from grass-red clover and multi-species swards compared with grass monocultures

      Moloney, T.; Sheridan, H.; Grant, Jim; O'Riordan, Edward G.; O'Kiely, Padraig; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11/S/147 (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2021-01-11)
      Binary grass-clover and multi-species swards can increase herbage yields or facilitate reduced inputs of inorganic fertiliser nitrogen (N) compared with perennial ryegrass monocultures. However, the efficiency of the ensilage process and the nutritive value of silage produced from multi-species swards has not been documented. Replicate samples from grass-red clover binary mixture and multi-species mixture swards were ensiled in laboratory silos to assess the ensilability, fermentation characteristics, conservation losses and silage nutritive value compared with grass monocultures produced using inorganic N fertiliser. The results suggest that assessment of the ensilability and subsequent ensilage characteristics of binary and multi-species mixtures should be based on direct sampling from such mixtures rather than being predicted from values obtained from monocultures of constituent species. Under favourable ensiling conditions, unwilted binary mixtures and multi-species mixtures are satisfactorily preserved as silage, comparable to a perennial ryegrass monoculture receiving inorganic N fertiliser. However, when ensiled under more challenging crop conditions the mixtures exhibited a greater requirement for their preservation to be aided, compared with the perennial ryegrass monoculture. Despite the application of inorganic N reducing the legume content of multi-species mixture swards, it had relatively little effect on herbage ensilability or silage preservation. For all species treatments, silage nutritive values were primarily dependent on the pre-ensiling values, although herbage digestibility values declined during ensilage where the ensilage process was inefficient. The current study suggests that in order to be satisfactorily preserved as silage, binary grass-clover and multispecies swards have a greater requirement for an adequate rapid field wilt and/or effective preservative application compared with perennial ryegrass produced using inorganic fertiliser N.
    • Yield of binary- and multi-species swards relative to single-species swards in intensive silage systems

      Moloney, T.; Sheridan, H.; Grant, Jim; O'Riordan, Edward G.; O'Kiely, Padraig; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF 11/S/147 (Compuscript Ltd.Teagasc, 2021-03-05)
      Binary- and multi-species sown mixtures may increase herbage yield and/or reduce inorganicnitrogen (N) requirement compared to perennial ryegrass (PRG) (Lolium perenne L.)swards. A split-plot design was used to compare yields of binary- and multi-speciesmixtures to single-species swards of three grasses and red clover managed for intensivesilage production under varying N application rates. Perennial and Italian (Loliummultiflorum Lam.) ryegrasses had greater annual yields when grown as single speciesreceiving 360 kg N/ha per year than in binary mixtures with red clover (Trifoliumpratense L.) receiving 0 kg N/ha per year, whereas timothy (Phleum pratense L.) producedequally high yields in both situations. When no inorganic N was applied, the annualdry matter yield of Mix 1 (10,738 kg/ha; PRG, timothy, red clover and white clover(Trifolium repens L.) and Mix 2 (11,679 kg/ha; PRG, timothy, red clover, ribwort plantain(Plantago lanceolata L.) and chicory (Cichorium intybus L.)) was greater than thatof a PRG sward (PRG/0N; 5,885 kg/ha) and derived more from the contribution of legumesthan herbs. This yield advantage of mixtures declined as inorganic N input increased,as did the legume and herb proportions in the multi-species swards. When averagedacross rates of inorganic N input, Mix 2 had a greater annual yield than Mix 1 (12,464vs. 11,893 kg/ha). Mix 2 receiving no inorganic fertiliser N and both Mix 1 and Mix2 receiving 120 kg N/ha per year matched the annual yield achieved by PRG receiving360 kg N/ha per year. Our results indicate that the yield performance of binary- andmulti-species grassland swards should be measured in situ rather than predicted fromsingle-species swards of constituent species.