Now showing items 1-20 of 2242

    • Why Dairy Farming And Silvopastoral Agroforestry Could Be The Perfect Match

      Irish Agroforestry Forum; Short, Ian; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Irish Farm Business, 2020)
      Could we be missing a trick here? Could silvopasture be a design solution to the environmental challenges facing farming? Can it be the ideal mechanism to combine agriculture, forestry and ecology with very positive outcomes for farmers? Well -designed silvopasture can help increase profits and productivity, animal, and soil health, diversify the farm business, buffer against increasingly variable weather, drought and flood risks while benefiting the environment, the water cycle and the carbon cycle.
    • Breed- and trait-specific associations define the genetic architecture of calving performance traits in cattle

      Purfield, Deirdre C; Evans, Ross D; Berry, Donagh; European Union; Science Foundation Ireland; 727213; 14/IA/2576); 16/RC/3835 (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020-05-04)
      Reducing the incidence of both the degree of assistance required at calving, as well as the extent of perinatal mortality (PM) has both economic and societal benefits. The existence of heritable genetic variability in both traits signifies the presence of underlying genomic variability. The objective of the present study was to locate regions of the genome, and by extension putative genes and mutations, that are likely to be underpinning the genetic variability in direct calving difficulty (DCD), maternal calving difficulty (MCD), and PM. Imputed whole-genome single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data on up to 8,304 Angus (AA), 17,175 Charolais (CH), 16,794 Limousin (LM), and 18,474 Holstein-Friesian (HF) sires representing 5,866,712 calving events from descendants were used. Several putative quantitative trait loci (QTL) regions associated with calving performance both within and across dairy and beef breeds were identified, although the majority were both breed- and trait-specific. QTL surrounding and encompassing the myostatin (MSTN) gene were associated (P < 5 × 10−8) with DCD and PM in both the CH and LM populations. The well-known Q204X mutation was the fifth strongest association with DCD in the CH population and accounted for 5.09% of the genetic variance in DCD. In contrast, none of the 259 segregating variants in MSTN were associated (P > × 10−6) with DCD in the LM population but a genomic region 617 kb downstream of MSTN was associated (P < 5 × 10−8). The genetic architecture for DCD differed in the HF population relative to the CH and LM, where two QTL encompassing ZNF613 on Bos taurus autosome (BTA)18 and PLAG1 on BTA14 were identified in the former. Pleiotropic SNP associated with all three calving performance traits were also identified in the three beef breeds; 5 SNP were pleiotropic in AA, 116 in LM, and 882 in CH but no SNP was associated with more than one trait within the HF population. The majority of these pleiotropic SNP were on BTA2 surrounding MSTN and were associated with both DCD and PM. Multiple previously reported, but also novel QTL, associated with calving performance were detected in this large study. These also included QTL regions harboring SNP with the same direction of allele substitution effect for both DCD and MCD thus contributing to a more effective simultaneous selection for both traits.
    • On-farm net benefit of genotyping candidate female replacement cattle and sheep

      Newton, J.E.; Berry, Donagh; Science Foundation Ireland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; European Union; 16/RC/3835; 727213 (Elsevier BV, 2020-12-07)
      The net benefit from investing in any technology is a function of the cost of implementation and the expected return in revenue. The objective of the present study was to quantify, using deterministic equations, the net monetary benefit from investing in genotyping of commercial females. Three case studies were presented reflecting dairy cows, beef cows and ewes based on Irish population parameters; sensitivity analyses were also performed. Parameters considered in the sensitivity analyses included the accuracy of genomic evaluations, replacement rate, proportion of female selection candidates retained as replacements, the cost of genotyping, the sire parentage error rate and the age of the female when it first gave birth. Results were presented as an annualised monetary net benefit over the lifetime of an individual, after discounting for the timing of expressions. In the base scenarios, the net benefit was greatest for dairy, followed by beef and then sheep. The net benefit improved as the reliability of the genomic evaluations improved and, in fact, a negative net benefit of genotyping was less frequent when the reliability of the genomic evaluations was high. The impact of a 10% point increase in genomic reliability was, however, greatest in sheep, followed by beef and then dairy. The net benefit of genotyping female selection candidates reduced as replacement rate increased. As genotyping costs increased, the net benefit reduced irrespective of the percentage of selection candidates kept, the replacement rate or even the population considered. Nonetheless, the association between the genotyping cost and the net benefit of genotyping differed by the percentage of selection candidates kept. Across all replacement rates evaluated, retaining 25% of the selection candidates resulted in the greatest net benefit when genotyping cost was low but the lowest net benefit when genotyping cost was high. Genotyping breakeven cost was non-linearly associated with the percentage of selection candidates retained, reaching a maximum when 50% of selection candidates were retained, irrespective of replacement rate, genomic reliability or the population. The genotyping breakeven cost was also non-linearly associated with replacement rate. The approaches outlined within provide the back-end framework for a decision support tool to quantify the net benefit of genotyping, once parameterised by the relevant population metrics.
    • Improving robustness and accuracy of predicted daily methane emissions of dairy cows using milk mid‐infrared spectra

      Vanlierde, Amélie; Dehareng, Frédéric; Gengler, Nicolas; Froidmont, Eric; McParland, Sinead; Kreuzer, Michael; Bell, Matthew; Lund, Peter; Martin, Cécile; Kuhla, Björn; et al. (Wiley, 2020-11-22)
      BACKGROUND A robust proxy for estimating methane (CH4) emissions of individual dairy cows would be valuable especially for selective breeding. This study aimed to improve the robustness and accuracy of prediction models that estimate daily CH4 emissions from milk Fourier transform mid‐infrared (FT‐MIR) spectra by (i) increasing the reference dataset and (ii) adjusting for routinely recorded phenotypic information. Prediction equations for CH4 were developed using a combined dataset including daily CH4 measurements (n = 1089; g d−1) collected using the SF6 tracer technique (n = 513) and measurements using respiration chambers (RC, n = 576). Furthermore, in addition to the milk FT‐MIR spectra, the variables of milk yield (MY) on the test day, parity (P) and breed (B) of cows were included in the regression analysis as explanatory variables. RESULTS Models developed based on a combined RC and SF6 dataset predicted the expected pattern in CH4 values (in g d−1) during a lactation cycle, namely an increase during the first weeks after calving followed by a gradual decrease until the end of lactation. The model including MY, P and B information provided the best prediction results (cross‐validation statistics: R2 = 0.68 and standard error = 57 g CH4 d−1). CONCLUSIONS The models developed accounted for more of the observed variability in CH4 emissions than previously developed models and thus were considered more robust. This approach is suitable for large‐scale studies (e.g. animal genetic evaluation) where robustness is paramount for accurate predictions across a range of animal conditions. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry
    • A comparison of 4 different machine learning algorithms to predict lactoferrin content in bovine milk from mid-infrared spectra

      Soyeurt, H.; Grelet, C.; McParland, Sinead; Calmels, M.; Coffey, M.; Tedde, A.; Delhez, P.; Dehareng, F.; Gengler, N.; European Union; et al. (American Dairy Science Association, 2020-10-22)
      Lactoferrin (LF) is a glycoprotein naturally present in milk. Its content varies throughout lactation, but also with mastitis; therefore it is a potential additional indicator of udder health beyond somatic cell count. Condequently, there is an interest in quantifying this biomolecule routinely. First prediction equations proposed in the literature to predict the content in milk using milk mid-infrared spectrometry were built using partial least square regression (PLSR) due to the limited size of the data set. Thanks to a large data set, the current study aimed to test 4 different machine learning algorithms using a large data set comprising 6,619 records collected across different herds, breeds, and countries. The first algorithm was a PLSR, as used in past investigations. The second and third algorithms used partial least square (PLS) factors combined with a linear and polynomial support vector regression (PLS + SVR). The fourth algorithm also used PLS factors, but included in an artificial neural network with 1 hidden layer (PLS + ANN). The training and validation sets comprised 5,541 and 836 records, respectively. Even if the calibration prediction performances were the best for PLS + polynomial SVR, their validation prediction performances were the worst. The 3 other algorithms had similar validation performances. Indeed, the validation root mean squared error (RMSE) ranged between 162.17 and 166.75 mg/L of milk. However, the lower standard deviation of cross-validation RMSE and the better normality of the residual distribution observed for PLS + ANN suggest that this modeling was more suitable to predict the LF content in milk from milk mid-infrared spectra (R2v = 0.60 and validation RMSE = 162.17 mg/L of milk). This PLS +ANN model was then applied to almost 6 million spectral records. The predicted LF showed the expected relationships with milk yield, somatic cell score, somatic cell count, and stage of lactation. The model tended to underestimate high LF values (higher than 600 mg/L of milk). However, if the prediction threshold was set to 500 mg/L, 82% of samples from the validation having a content of LF higher than 600 mg/L were detected. Future research should aim to increase the number of those extremely high LF records in the calibration set.
    • Comparative Genomics Analysis of Lactobacillus ruminis from Different Niches

      Wang, Shuo; Yang, Bo; Ross, R. Paul; STANTON, CATHERINE; Zhao, Jianxin; Zhang, Hao; Chen, Wei; National Natural Science Foundation of China; Jiangsu Province; 31771953; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-01-08)
      Lactobacillus ruminis is a commensal motile lactic acid bacterium living in the intestinal tract of humans and animals. Although a few genomes of L. ruminis were published, most of them were animal derived. To explore the genetic diversity and potential niche-specific adaptation changes of L. ruminis, in the current work, draft genomes of 81 L. ruminis strains isolated from human, bovine, piglet, and other animals were sequenced, and comparative genomic analysis was performed. The genome size and GC content of L. ruminis on average were 2.16 Mb and 43.65%, respectively. Both the origin and the sampling distance of these strains had a great influence on the phylogenetic relationship. For carbohydrate utilization, the human-derived L. ruminis strains had a higher consistency in the utilization of carbon source compared to the animal-derived strains. L. ruminis mainly increased the competitiveness of niches by producing class II bacteriocins. The type of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats /CRISPR-associated (CRISPR/Cas) system presented in L. ruminis was mainly subtype IIA. The diversity of CRISPR/Cas locus depended on the high denaturation of spacer number and sequence, although cas1 protein was relatively conservative. The genetic differences in those newly sequenced L. ruminis strains highlighted the gene gains and losses attributed to niche adaptations.
    • A Guide to Designing a Sheep Handling Unit

      Egan, Edward (Teagasc, 2020)
      The purpose of this book 1. How to design an efficient new handling unit. 2. How to improve an existing handling unit. 3. Bring together in one book good handling ideas. 4. Consider different options.
    • Assessing the ability of Nisin A and derivatives thereof to inhibit Gram-negative bacteria from the genus Thermus

      Jonnala, Bhagya R. Yeluri; Feehily, Conor; O'Connor, Paula M.; Field, Des; Hill, Colin; Ross, R. Paul; McSweeney, P. L. H.; Sheehan, Diarmuid (JJ); Cotter, Paul D. (2020-12-09)
    • Diversity of Gut Microbiota and Bifidobacterial Community of Chinese Subjects of Different Ages and from Different Regions

      Yang, Bo; Yan, Shuang; Chen, Yang; Ross, R. Paul; STANTON, CATHERINE; Zhao, Jianxin; Zhang, Hao; Chen, Wei; National Natural Science Foundation of China; National First-Class Discipline Program of Food Science and Technology; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-07-24)
      Gut microbiota composition and functionality are closely linked to host health. In this study, the fecal microbiota and bifidobacterial communities of 111 healthy volunteers from four regions of China of varying age profiles (Child, 1–5 years; Young, 18–50 years; Elder, 60–80 years; Longevity, ≥90 years) were investigated via high-throughput sequencing. Canonical analysis revealed that the gut microbiota, as well as bifidobacteria profiles of the subjects, clustered according to their regions and age. Eight genera were shared among all subjects, however, certain genera distributed differently in subjects grouped by region and age. Faecalibacterium was enriched in samples from Zhongxiang, unclassified Ruminococcaceae and Christensenellaceae were enriched in the Longevity group, and Bifidobacterium was enriched in Child. Within Bifidobacterium, B. longum was the most abundant species in almost all samples except for Child, in which B. pseudocatenulatum was the most abundant. Additionally, the abundances of B. adolescentis and B. dentium were lower in Child. In conclusion, our results suggest that geography and age affect the structure of the gut microbiota, as well as Bifidobacterium composition, and this variation may greatly associate with the metabolic and immune changes that occur during the process of aging.
    • Genetic Analysis Using a Multi-Parent Wheat Population Identifies Novel Sources of Septoria Tritici Blotch Resistance

      Riaz, Adnan; KockAppelgren, Petra; Hehir, James Gerard; Kang, Jie; Meade, Fergus; Cockram, James; Milbourne, Dan; Spink, John; Mullins, Ewen; Byrne, Stephen; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-08-04)
      Zymoseptoria tritici is the causative fungal pathogen of septoria tritici blotch (STB) disease of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) that continuously threatens wheat crops in Ireland and throughout Europe. Under favorable conditions, STB can cause up to 50% yield losses if left untreated. STB is commonly controlled with fungicides; however, a combination of Z. tritici populations developing fungicide resistance and increased restrictions on fungicide use in the EU has led to farmers relying on fewer active substances. Consequently, this serves to drive the emergence of Z. tritici resistance against the remaining chemistries. In response, the use of resistant wheat varieties provides a more sustainable disease management strategy. However, the number of varieties offering an adequate level of resistance against STB is limited. Therefore, new sources of resistance or improved stacking of existing resistance loci are needed to develop varieties with superior agronomic performance. Here, we identified quantitative trait loci (QTL) for STB resistance in the eight-founder “NIAB Elite MAGIC” winter wheat population. The population was screened for STB response in the field under natural infection for three seasons from 2016 to 2018. Twenty-five QTL associated with STB resistance were identified in total. QTL either co-located with previously reported QTL or represent new loci underpinning STB resistance. The genomic regions identified and the linked genetic markers serve as useful resources for STB resistance breeding, supporting rapid selection of favorable alleles for the breeding of new wheat cultivars with improved STB resistance.
    • The Impact of Formulation on Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and meso-Zeaxanthin Bioavailability: A Randomised Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study

      Green-Gomez, Marina; Prado-Cabrero, Alfonso; Moran, Rachel; Power, Tommy; Gómez Gómez-Mascaraque, Laura; Stack, Jim; Nolan, John N.; Howard Foundation UK; Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) President’s scholarship program (MDPI AG, 2020-08-18)
      Lutein (L), zeaxanthin (Z), and meso-zeaxanthin (MZ) have been the focus of research and commercial interest for their applications in human health. Research into formulations to enhance their bioavailability is merited. This 6 month randomised placebo-controlled trial involving 81 healthy volunteers compared the bioavailability of different formulations of free L, Z, and MZ in sunflower or omega-3 oil versus L, Z, and MZ diacetates (Ld, Zd, and MZd) in a micromicellar formulation. Fasting serum carotenoids, macular pigment, and skin carotenoid score were analysed at baseline and 6 months. Serum L, Z, and MZ concentrations increased in all active interventions compared to placebo (p < 0.001 to p = 0.008). The diacetate micromicelle formulation exhibited a significantly higher mean response in serum concentrations of Z and MZ compared to the other active interventions (p = 0.002 to 0.019). A micromicellar formulation with solubilised Z and MZ diacetates is a promising technology advancement that enhances the bioavailability of these carotenoids when compared to traditional carotenoid formulations (ISRCTN clinical trial registration number: ISRCTN18206561)
    • A Whey Fraction Rich in Immunoglobulin G Combined with Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis ATCC 15697 Exhibits Synergistic Effects against Campylobacter jejuni

      Quinn, Erinn M.; Kilcoyne, Michelle; Walsh, Dan; Joshi, Lokesh; Hickey, Rita M.; Teagasc Walsh Fellowship Programme (MDPI AG, 2020-06-29)
      Evidence that whey proteins and peptides have health benefits beyond basic infant nutrition has increased dramatically in recent years. Previously, we demonstrated that a whey-derived immunoglobulin G-enriched powder (IGEP) enhanced adhesion of Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis ATCC 15697 (B. infantis) to HT-29 cells. In this study, we investigated the synergistic effect of IGEP-treated B. infantis on preventing the attachment of highly invasive Campylobacter jejuni 81–176 (C. jejuni) to intestinal HT-29 cells. The combination decreased the adherence of C. jejuni to the HT-29 cells by an average of 48% compared to the control (non-IGEP-treated B. infantis). We also confirmed that treatment of IGEP with sodium metaperiodate, which disables the biological recognition of the conjugated oligosaccharides, reduced adhesion of B. infantis to the intestinal cells. Thus, glycosylation of the IGEP components may be important in enhancing B. infantis adhesion. Interestingly, an increased adhesion phenotype was not observed when B. infantis was treated with bovine serum-derived IgG, suggesting that bioactivity was unique to milk-derived immunoglobulin-rich powders. Notably, IGEP did not induce growth of B. infantis within a 24 hours incubation period, as demonstrated by growth curves and metabolite analysis. The current study provides insight into the functionality of bovine whey components and highlights their potential in positively impacting the development of a healthy microbiota.
    • Detection of Novel QTLs for Late Blight Resistance Derived from the Wild Potato Species Solanum microdontum and Solanum pampasense

      Meade, Fergus; Hutten, Ronald; Wagener, Silke; Prigge, Vanessa; Dalton, Emmet; Kirk, Hanne Grethe; Griffin, Denis; Milbourne, Dan; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; IPM Potato Group; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-06-30)
      Wild potato species continue to be a rich source of genes for resistance to late blight in potato breeding. Whilst many dominant resistance genes from such sources have been characterised and used in breeding, quantitative resistance also offers potential for breeding when the loci underlying the resistance can be identified and tagged using molecular markers. In this study, F1 populations were created from crosses between blight susceptible parents and lines exhibiting strong partial resistance to late blight derived from the South American wild species Solanum microdontum and Solanum pampasense. Both populations exhibited continuous variation for resistance to late blight over multiple field-testing seasons. High density genetic maps were created using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers, enabling mapping of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for late blight resistance that were consistently expressed over multiple years in both populations. In the population created with the S. microdontum source, QTLs for resistance consistently expressed over three years and explaining a large portion (21–47%) of the phenotypic variation were found on chromosomes 5 and 6, and a further resistance QTL on chromosome 10, apparently related to foliar development, was discovered in 2016 only. In the population created with the S. pampasense source, QTLs for resistance were found in over two years on chromosomes 11 and 12. For all loci detected consistently across years, the QTLs span known R gene clusters and so they likely represent novel late blight resistance genes. Simple genetic models following the effect of the presence or absence of SNPs associated with consistently effective loci in both populations demonstrated that marker assisted selection (MAS) strategies to introgress and pyramid these loci have potential in resistance breeding strategies.
    • Effectiveness of current hygiene practices on minimization of Listeria monocytogenes in different mushroom production‐related environments

      Pennone, Vincenzo; Dygico, Kenneth Lyonel; Coffey, Aidan; Gahan, Cormac G.M.; Grogan, Helen; McAuliffe, Olivia; Burgess, Catherine M.; Jordan, Kieran; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 14/F/881 (Wiley, 2020-05-20)
      Background: The commercial production of Agaricus bisporus is a three stage process: 1) production of compost, also called “substrate”; 2) production of casing soil; and 3) production of the mushrooms. Hygiene practices are undertaken at each stage: pasteurization of the substrate, hygiene practices applied during the production of casing soil, postharvest steam cookout, and disinfection at the mushroom production facilities. However, despite these measures, foodborne pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes, are reported in the mushroom production environment. In this work, the presence of L. monocytogenes was evaluated before and after the application of hygiene practices at each stage of mushroom production with swabs, samples of substrate, casing, and spent mushroom growing substrates. Results: L. monocytogenes was not detected in any casing or substrate sample by enumeration according to BS EN ISO 11290-2:1998. Analysis of the substrate showed that L. monocytogenes was absent in 10 Phase II samples following pasteurization, but was then present in 40% of 10 Phase III samples. At the casing production facility, 31% of 59 samples were positive. Hygiene improvements were applied, and after four sampling occasions, 22% of 37 samples were positive, but no statistically significant difference was observed (p > .05). At mushroom production facilities, the steam cookout process inactivated L. monocytogenes in the spent growth substrate, but 13% of 15 floor swabs at Company 1 and 19% of 16 floor swabs at Company 2, taken after disinfection, were positive. Conclusion: These results showed the possibility of L. monocytogenes recontamination of Phase III substrate, cross-contamination at the casing production stage and possible survival after postharvest hygiene practices at the mushroom growing facilities. This information will support the development of targeted measures to minimize L. monocytogenes in the mushroom industry.
    • Towards More Sustainable Meat Products: Extenders as a Way of Reducing Meat Content

      Pintado, Tatiana; Delgado-Pando, Gonzalo (MDPI AG, 2020-08-03)
      The low efficiency of animal protein (meat products) production is one of the main concerns for sustainable food production. However, meat provides high-quality protein among other compounds such as minerals or vitamins. The use of meat extenders, non-meat substances with high protein content, to partially replace meat, offers interesting opportunities towards the reformulation of healthier and more sustainable meat products. The objective of this review is to give a general point of view on what type of compounds are used as meat extenders and how they affect the physicochemical and sensory properties of reformulated products. Plant-based ingredients (pulses, cereals, tubers and fruits) have been widely used to replace up to 50% of meat. Mushrooms allow for higher proportions of meat substitution, with adequate results in reduced-sodium reformulated products. Insects and by-products from the food industry are novel approaches that present an opportunity to develop more sustainable meat products. In general, the use of meat extenders improves the yield of the products, with slight sensory modifications. These multiple possibilities make meat extenders’ use the most viable and interesting approach towards the production of healthier meat products with less environmental impact.
    • The Effect of Compositional Changes Due to Seasonal Variation on Milk Density and the Determination of Season-Based Density Conversion Factors for Use in the Dairy Industry

      Parmar, Puneet; Lopez-Villalobos, Nicolas; Tobin, John T.; Murphy, Eoin; McDonagh, Arleen; Crowley, Shane V.; Kelly, Alan L.; Shalloo, Laurence; Enterprise Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-07-27)
      The objective of this study was to determine the effect of seasonal variation on milk composition and establish an algorithm to predict density based on milk composition to enable the calculation of season-based density conversion calculations. A total of 1035 raw whole milk samples were collected from morning and evening milking of 60 spring-calving individual cows of different genetic groups, namely Jersey, Elite HF (Holstein–Friesian) and National Average HF, once every two weeks for a period of 9 months (March–November, 2018). The average mean and standard deviation for milk compositional traits were 4.72 ± 1.30% fat, 3.85 ± 0.61% protein and 4.69 ± 0.30% lactose and density was estimated at 1.0308 ± 0.002 g/cm3 . The density of the milk samples was evaluated using three methods: a portable density meter, DMA 35; a standard desktop version, DMA 4500M; and an Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC) method using 100-mL glass pycnometers. Statistical analysis using a linear mixed model showed a significant difference in density of milk samples (p < 0.05) across seasonal and compositional variations adjusted for the effects of days in milk, parity, the feeding treatment, the genetic group and the measurement technique. The mean density values and standard error of mean estimated for milk samples in each season, i.e., spring, summer and autumn were 1.0304 ± 0.00008 g/cm3 , 1.0314 ± 0.00005 g/cm3 and 1.0309 ± 0.00007 g/cm3 , respectively.
    • Investigation of Raman Spectroscopy (with Fiber Optic Probe) and Chemometric Data Analysis for the Determination of Mineral Content in Aqueous Infant Formula

      Zhao, Ming; Shaikh, Saif; Kang, Renxi; Markiewicz-Keszycka, Maria (MDPI AG, 2020-07-22)
      This study investigated the use of Raman spectroscopy (RS) and chemometrics for the determination of eight mineral elements (i.e., Ca, Mg, K, Na, Cu, Mn, Fe, and Zn) in aqueous infant formula (INF). The samples were prepared using infant formula powder reconstituted to concentrations of 3%–13% w/w (powder: water) (n = 83). Raman spectral data acquisition was carried out using a non-contact fiber optic probe on the surface of aqueous samples in 50–3398 cm−1. ICP-AES was used as a reference method for the determination of the mineral contents in aqueous INF samples. Results showed that the best performing partial least squares regression (PLSR) models developed for the prediction of minerals using all samples for calibration achieved R2CV values of 0.51–0.95 with RMSECVs of 0.13–2.96 ppm. The PLSR models developed and validated using separate calibration (n = 42) and validation (n = 41) samples achieved R2CVs of 0.93, 0.94, 0.91, 0.90, 0.97, and 0.94, R2Ps of 0.75, 0.77, 0.31, 0.60, 0.84, and 0.80 with RMSEPs of 3.17, 0.29, 3.45, 1.51, 0.30, and 0.25 ppm for the prediction of Ca, Mg, K, Na, Fe, and Zn respectively. This study demonstrated that RS equipped with a non-contact fiber optic probe and combined with chemometrics has the potential for timely quantification of the mineral content of aqueous INF during manufacturing.
    • Fertility of frozen sex-sorted sperm at 4 × 106 sperm per dose in lactating dairy cows in seasonal-calving pasture-based herds

      Maicas, C.; Holden, S.A.; Drake, E.; Cromie, A.R.; Lonergan, P.; Butler, S.T.; Irish Dairy Levy Trust; Munster Bovine; Meat Industry Ireland; Glanbia; et al. (American Dairy Science Association, 2019-09-23)
      The objective was to evaluate the reproductive performance of frozen sex-sorted sperm at 4 × 106 sperm per dose (SexedULTRA 4M, Sexing Technologies, Navasota, TX) relative to frozen conventional sperm in seasonal-calving pasture-based dairy cows. Semen from Holstein-Friesian (n = 8) and Jersey (n = 2) bulls was used. Four of the Holstein bulls used were resident at or near a sex-sorting laboratory (Cogent, UK, or ST Benelux, the Netherlands). The remaining 6 bulls were located at studs in Ireland. For these 6 bulls, ejaculates were collected, diluted with transport medium, and couriered to Cogent in parcel shippers. Transit time from ejaculation to arrival at the sorting laboratory was 6 to 7 h. For all bulls, ejaculates were split and processed to provide frozen conventional sperm (CONV) at 15 × 106 sperm per straw and frozen sex-sorted (SS) sperm at 4 × 106 sperm per straw and used to inseminate lactating dairy cows after spontaneous estrus. Pregnancy diagnosis was performed by ultrasound scanning (n = 7,246 records available for analysis). Generalized linear mixed models were used to examine effects on pregnancy per AI (P/AI) at first artificial insemination, with sperm treatment (CONV vs. SS), bull (n = 10), and treatment × bull interaction as the fixed effects, and herd (n = 142) as a random effect. Overall, P/ AI was greater for cows inseminated with CONV than for those inseminated with SS (59.9% vs. 45.5%; 76.0% relative to CONV). This study was not designed to compare resident bulls vs. shipped ejaculates, but the magnitude of the difference between P/AI achieved by CONV and SS was apparently less for resident bulls (60.3% vs. 50.2%) than for shipped ejaculates (58.6% vs. 40.7%). We discovered a treatment × bull interaction for shipped ejaculates (P/AI ranged from 45 to 86% relative to CONV) but not for the resident bulls (P/AI ranged from 81 to 87% relative to CONV). Relative P/AI of SS compared with CONV was greater in cows with high or average fertility potential (76.1% and 78.3%, respectively) than in cows with low fertility potential (58.1%). In 33.1% of the enrolled herds, the P/AI achieved with SS was 90% or more of the P/ AI achieved with CONV; this was mainly explained by herds in which SS performed exceptionally well but CONV performed poorly. In conclusion, SS had lower overall P/AI compared with CONV; however, P/AI achieved with SS was dependent on the bull, fertility potential of the cow, and herd. Strategies to improve the P/AI with SS in seasonal-calving pasture-based lactating dairy cows require further research.
    • Associations between postpartum phenotypes, cow factors, genetic traits, and reproductive performance in seasonal-calving, pasture-based lactating dairy cows

      Rojas Canadas, E.; Herlihy, M.M.; Kenneally, J.; Grant, J.; Kearney, F.; Lonergan, P.; Butler, S.T.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; RSF 13S528 (American Dairy Science Association, 2020-01)
      The objective of this study was to evaluate associations between corpus luteum (CL) status, uterine health, body condition score (BCS), metabolic status, parity, genetic merit for fertility traits, and reproductive performance in pasture-based dairy cows managed for seasonal reproduction. First- and second-lactation (n = 2,600) spring-calving dairy cows from 35 dairy farms located in Ireland were enrolled in the study. Farms were visited every 2 wk, and animals that were at wk 3 (range: 14–27 d in milk) and wk 7 (range: 42–55 d in milk) postpartum were examined. Body condition score was measured using a 1-to-5 scale in 0.25-point increments. Transrectal ultrasound examination was performed at wk 3 and 7 postpartum to determine presence or absence of CL and ultrasound reproductive tract score (scale of G1–G4). Blood samples were collected at each visit, and the concentrations of glucose, β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), and fatty acids (FA) were analyzed using enzymatic colorimetry. Animals were grouped into 3 BCS categories [low (≤2.5), target (2.75–3.25), and high (≥3.5)], 2 CL categories (present or absent), 2 uterine health status categories (normal or abnormal), and 3 metabolic status categories [good (high glucose, low FA and BHB), poor (low glucose, high FA and BHB), and moderate (all other combinations)]. Fisher's exact test was used to test for associations between variables and was supplemented by logistic regression. More cows with a CL at wk 7 were served during the first 21 d of the breeding period compared with cows without a CL. Cows classified as having a uterine score of G3 or G4 at wk 3 and 7 had lower odds of pregnancy establishment during the breeding period compared with animals with a uterine score of G1 or G2. Animals with low BCS at wk 7 had lower odds of pregnancy establishment than cows with a target BCS. Cows classified as having good metabolic status at both wk 3 and wk 7 had greater odds of pregnancy establishment during the first 21 d of the breeding season than those classified as having poor metabolic status. Overall, primiparous cows had greater reproductive performance than second-parity cows. Animals in the quartiles with the best predicted transmitting ability for survival and calving interval had better reproductive performance compared with animals in the other quartiles. Cows that had better genetic merit for fertility traits and good metabolic status, achieved target BCS, and had a favorable ultrasound reproductive tract score and a CL present at wk 7 postpartum had superior reproductive performance.
    • Farm health and safety adoption through engineering and behaviour change

      McNamara, J; Griffin, P; Phelan, J; Field, W.E.; Kinsella, J (2019)
      The agriculture sector is one of the most hazardous occupations worldwide. The EU farming population is predominantly self-employed, who are largely outside the scope of EU occupational safety and health (OSH) legislation. Utilising effective communications approaches to transmit clear messages is a possible way of motivating farmer OSH adoption. The Public Health Model (PHM) of accident causation conceptualises an accident as occurring due to multiple interacting physical and human factors while the Social-Ecologic Framework enhances the PHM by defining various levels of the social environment which are influential on persons’ OSH actions. A knowledge gap exists in how farmers conceptualise accident causation. The aim of this study is to report findings of a Score Card exercise conducted among Irish farmers (n = 1,151) to reveal knowledge on farmers’ conceptualisation of accident causation where farmers ranked in order of importance up to five causes of farm accidents. First ranked items related to ‘machinery/ vehicles’, ‘organisational’ and ‘livestock’ as accident causation factors (92%). Overall rankings for up to five ranked causes identified six causes: ‘machinery/ vehicles’, ‘organisational’, ‘livestock’, ‘slurry related’, ‘trips, falls, buildings-related’ and ‘electrical’ (96.5%). The study data indicated that farmers’ perceptions of accident causes were inaccurate when compared with objective fatal farm accident data. The study concluded that communicating accurate and contemporary OSH messages to farmers has potential to assist with farm accident prevention. Based on the multiple and interacting risk factors arising in agriculture it is suggested that more elaborate study of farm accident prevention is warranted.