Browsing by Author "Gordon, Alan Wesley"
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ItemBlack Border Increases Stomoxys calcitrans Catch on White Sticky Traps(MDPI, 2018-02-02) Murchie, Archie K.; Hall, Carol E.; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Clawson, SamStable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans, is a biting fly that can cause severe irritation to livestock resulting in reduced productivity. The most common method of monitoring S. calcitrans is through the use of sticky traps and many designs have been developed using different colours and materials such as alsynite fibreglass and polypropylene sheeting. Laboratory experiments and some field experimentation have demonstrated that colour contrast can attract S. calcitrans. However, this response has not been fully utilised in trap design. To test that simple colour contrast could increase trap efficacy, white sticky traps were mounted on three differently coloured backgrounds (white, yellow, and black) and positioned at five sites on a mixed livestock farm. White sticky traps on a black background caught significantly more S. calcitrans than the yellow or white backgrounds. An incidental result was that Pollenia sp. were caught in greater numbers on the yellow framed traps. The reasons for S. calcitrans attraction to black–white contrast are most likely due to conspicuousness in the environment although the extent to which flies are using this feature as a host-location cue or a perching site are unknown. ItemThe Effect of Beef Production System on the Health, Performance, Carcass Characteristics, and Meat Quality of Holstein Bulls(MDPI, 2020-10-19) Rutherford, Naomi; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Arnott, Gareth; Lively, FrancisThe aim of this study was to evaluate the e ect of production system on the health, performance, carcass characteristics, and meat quality of autumn born (AB) and spring born (SB) Holstein bulls. The study involved a total of 224 Holstein bulls and was conducted over two years (2017/18, 2018/19). The four production system treatments di ered during the grower period and consisted of: (i) grazed with no concentrate supplementation (G), (ii) grazed with 2 kg concentrate supplementation per day (G2), (iii) grazed with ad libitum access to concentrates (GA) and (iv) housed with ad libitum access to concentrates and grass silage (HA). All bulls were finished on ad libitum concentrates and grass silage and were slaughtered at a mean age of 15.5 months. Total grower dry matter intake (DMI) (p < 0.001) and total finishing DMI (p < 0.001) di ered between production systems for both AB and SB bulls, with that of GA bulls being the greatest in both cases. Average daily gain (ADG) during the grower period was greatest (p < 0.001) for the HA production system in the AB bulls and the GA and HA production systems for the SB bulls. However, during the finishing period, G bulls had the greatest (p < 0.001) ADG of the AB bulls, while that of the SB bulls was from the G2 production system (p < 0.001). For both AB and SB, bulls on the GA and HA production systems produced heavier cold carcass weights than the G and G2 bulls (p < 0.001). There was no significant di erence (p > 0.05) in health, carcass conformation, fat classification, or meat quality between production systems. ItemThe effect of floor type on the performance, cleanliness, carcass characteristics and meat quality of dairy origin bulls(Elsevier, 2017-10-02) Murphy, V.S.; Lowe, Denise; Lively, Francis O.; Gordon, Alan WesleyThe aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of using different floor types to accommodate growing and finishing beef cattle on their performance, cleanliness, carcass characteristics and meat quality. In total, 80 dairy origin young bulls (mean initial live weight 224 kg (SD=28.4 kg)) were divided into 20 blocks with four animals each according to live weight. The total duration of the experimental period was 204 days. The first 101 days was defined as the growing period, with the remainder of the study defined as the finishing period. Cattle were randomly assigned within blocks to one of four floor type treatments, which included fully slatted flooring throughout the entire experimental period (CS); fully slatted flooring covered with rubber strips throughout the entire experimental period (RS); fully slatted flooring during the growing period and moved to a solid floor covered with straw bedding during the finishing period (CS-S) and fully slatted flooring during the growing period and moved to fully slatted flooring covered with rubber strips during the finishing period (CS-RS). Bulls were offered ad libitum grass silage supplemented with concentrates during the growing period. During the finishing period, bulls were offered concentrates supplemented with chopped barley straw. There was no significant effect of floor type on total dry matter intake (DMI), feed conversion ratio, daily live weight gain or back fat depth during the growing and finishing periods. Compared with bulls accommodated on CS, RS and CS-RS, bulls accommodated on CS-S had a significantly lower straw DMI (P<0.01). Although bulls accommodated on CS and CS-S were significantly dirtier compared with those accommodated on RS and CS-RS on days 50 (P<0.05) and 151 (P<0.01), there was no effect of floor type on the cleanliness of bulls at the end of the growing and finishing periods. There was also no significant effect of floor type on carcass characteristics or meat quality. However, bulls accommodated on CS-S had a tendency for less channel, cod and kidney fat (P=0.084) compared with those accommodated on CS, RS and CS-RS. Overall, floor type had no effect on the performance, cleanliness, carcass characteristics or meat quality of growing or finishing beef cattle. ItemEffect of increasing the time between slurry application and first rainfall event on phosphorus concentrations in runoff(Wiley, 2021-07-12) O'Rourke, Sharon M.; Foy, Robert H.; Watson, Catherine J.; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Higgins, Suzanne; Vadas, Peter A.Minimizing slurry phosphorus (P) losses in runoff requires careful management in the context of both soil P surpluses and changing patterns in rainfall. Increasing the time interval between slurry application and the first rainstorm event is known to reduce P loss in runoff although the risk period for elevated P concentrations in runoff can extend for weeks. This study investigated the impact of increasing the time interval between slurry application and first rainstorm event on P concentrations in runoff. Simulated rainfall (40 mm h−1) was applied at 2, 4, 10, 18, 30 and 49 days after dairy slurry was surface-applied to a grassland sward in Ireland. Increasing time to runoff resulted in a decrease in dissolved reactive P concentrations from 5.0 to 1.0 mg P L−1 and a P signal in runoff for 18 days. Beyond 18 days, elevated P concentrations were observed in runoff collected from natural rainfall that preceded the day 49 rainstorm event. A published surface phosphorus and runoff model (SurPhos) was used to understand the slurry P dynamics controlling P interactions with runoff. Dissolved reactive P in runoff was predicted with accuracy by SurPhos, R2 = .89. The SurPhos model implied that slurry P mineralization occurred during the experimental period that resulted in a small spike in P concentrations beyond the defined risk period. This study shows that the experimental data have the potential to be extrapolated to different weather scenarios using SurPhos and could test when and where slurry P could be most safely spread. ItemEffect of passive transfer status on response to a glycoprotein E (gE)-negative bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BoHV-1) and bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) vaccine and weaning stress in pre-weaned dairy calves(Taylor & Francis, 2018-01-09) Dunn, Amanda; Welsh, Michael; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Arguello, Anastasio; Morrison, Steven J.; Earley, BernadetteThe study objectives were to: 1) examine how calves of divergent immune status respond to BRSV vaccination at 3 weeks of age; 2) trace glycoprotein E negative BoHV-1 antibodies from vaccinated dams to calf sera and to investigate how passive transfer affects response to live BoHV-1 vaccine at 6 weeks of age; 3) explore the impact of passive transfer status on blood metabolites around weaning. Thirty seven Holstein cows and their calves were included in the study. All cows were immunised with a commercial marker vaccine against BoHV-1(gE-) administered intra-muscularly at 4 month prior to the start of calving. Calves were assigned to 1 of 2 colostrum treatment groups: 1) 5% of BW in colostrum fed at birth, or 2) 10% of BW in colostrum fed at birth. Calves were also immunised at 3 weeks of age with a respiratory commercial vaccine, and a booster administered 4 weeks later. Calves were also immunised against BoHV-1 at 6 weeks of age, using one dose of a live commercial vaccine. The results demonstrated that level of passive immunity had no effect on immune response to vaccination and the importance of feeding colostrum from vaccinated BoHV-1 gE- dams to provide calves with passive protection against IBRV. ItemEffect of reduced dietary protein level on finishing pigs’ harmful social behaviour before and after an abrupt dietary change.(Elsevier, 2022-10-06) McAuley, Melanie; Buijs, Stephanie; Muns Vila, Ramon; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Palmer, Maeve; Meek, Kayleigh; O'Connell, NiamhTail biting in pigs is a harmful behavioural disorder that negatively affects their welfare. Nutrition has played a crucial role in improving farm efficiency; however, an imbalance in key nutrients is an accepted risk factor for tail biting. The exact contributing factors and the level of risk associated with inadequate nutrition remain unclear. We aimed to assess the effect of dietary protein level on harmful social behaviours in finishing pigs before and after an abrupt dietary change. A total of 80 pigs (Duroc x (Landrace x Large White)) were assigned to this trial over two batches. Pigs were housed in mixed sex groups of 10 and assigned to one of two treatments at 12 weeks of age. These consisted of a control treatment (CON) containing 15.5% Crude Protein (CP) and a low CP treatment (LowCP) containing 13.5% CP. The abrupt dietary change occurred at 16 weeks of age (71.45 kg) in batch 1 and at 15 weeks of age (67.04 kg) in batch 2. This change in diet led to a 1.2% drop in CP in the CON treatment and a 1.4% drop in CP in the LowCP treatment. Behavioural observations were performed before and after the diet change and largely focused on the pigs' social behaviour. Using a "hurdle" model analysis, we investigated whether diet, diet change or sex influenced: 1) the probability that a behaviour was not performed, and 2) the frequency and/or duration when the behaviour was performed. The LowCP treatment led to an increased duration of limb-directed behaviour (P = 0.03) when performed at all, and also an increased duration of ‘tail-in-mouth’ behaviour (P = 0.02) in males but not females. However, LowCP did not affect the level of ear-directed behaviours in this way (P > 0.05). An increase in standing frequency occurred after the abrupt diet change (P = 0.04). Our study indicates that a small reduction in dietary protein and sex affect behaviour in the finishing phase, with some impacts on important harmful social behaviours. Furthermore, an effect of abrupt diet change on behaviour is suggested, which will require further confirmation. ItemEffect of selective removal of badgers (Meles meles) on ranging behaviour during a ‘Test and Vaccinate or Remove’ intervention in Northern Ireland(Cambridge University Press, 2021-05-07) O'Hagan, M.J.H.; Gordon, Alan Wesley; McCormick, C.M.; Collins, S.F.; Trimble, N.A.; McGeown, C.F.; McHugh, G.E.; McBride, K.R.; Menzies, F.D.The role of the Eurasian badger (Meles meles) as a wildlife host has complicated the management of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle. Badger ranging behaviour has previously been found to be altered by culling of badgers and has been suggested to increase the transmission of bTB either among badgers or between badgers and cattle. In 2014, a five-year bTB intervention research project in a 100 km2 area in Northern Ireland was initiated involving selective removal of dual path platform (DPP) VetTB (immunoassay) test positive badgers and vaccination followed by release of DPP test negative badgers (‘Test and Vaccinate or Remove’). Home range sizes, based on position data obtained from global positioning system collared badgers, were compared between the first year of the project, where no DPP test positive badgers were removed, and follow-up years 2–4 when DPP test positive badgers were removed. A total of 105 individual badgers were followed over 21 200 collar tracking nights. Using multivariable analyses, neither annual nor monthly home ranges differed significantly in size between years, suggesting they were not significantly altered by the bTB intervention that was applied in the study area. ItemField Evaluation of Deltamethrin and Ivermectin Applications to Cattle on Culicoides Host-Alighting, Blood-Feeding, and Emergence(MDPI, 2019-08-08) Murchie, Archie K.; Thompson, Geoff M.; Clawson, Sam; Brown, Andrew; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Jess, StephenThe impact of topical applications of deltamethrin and ivermectin to cattle on Culicoides spp. landing and blood-feeding was studied in this work using sticky traps mounted on Friesian heifers’ backs. There was no effect of the insecticides on total numbers of Culicoides trapped or the proportion engorged. Deltamethrin and ivermectin treatment did not prevent blood-feeding on these animals. Deltamethrin did result in significant Culicoides mortality as evidenced by the numbers of dead midges combed from heifers’ upper flanks. The proximity of engorged midges on traps to dead midges in the hair suggests that blood-feeding took place despite midges receiving an ultimately lethal dose of deltamethrin. Ivermectin application resulted in a smaller proportion of nulliparous than parous females caught. There was no significant effect of ivermectin on the numbers of Culicoides that emerged from dung samples (but p was small at 0.095 for the Obsoletus group Culicoides). In cases of suspect animal imports, pour-on or spray applications of deltamethrin could reduce the risk of onward transmission of bluetongue virus. ItemGrass silage composition and nutritive value on Northern Ireland farms between 1998 and 2017(Wiley, 2021-05) Patterson, John; Sahle, Biruk; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Archer, John E.; Yan, Tianhai; Grant, Nicholas William; Ferris, Conrad P.Grass silage is the predominant conserved forage offered to ruminant livestock within Northern Ireland (NI) when housed. This study involved the analysis of a dataset (n = 76,452 samples) comprising silage samples from commercial farms, analysed by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) between 1998 and 2017. The effects of harvest number (1, 2 or 3) and year were examined. Most of the differences between harvests 1–3 were significant although these differences were of little biological significance. Silage crude protein (CP) increased from harvests 1 to 3, while ammonia N concentration was higher in 3rd harvests. Acid detergent fibre (ADF) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) concentrations decreased from harvest 1 to 3, while dry-matter (DM) digestibility and D-value (% DM) were higher in 1st compared to 2nd harvest. Across the twenty year period, silage DM and water soluble carbohydrate concentrations increased, while ADF and NDF concentrations decreased. Crude protein concentration did not change over time. There was no significant improvement in silage digestibility. While silage intake potential for dairy cows increased by approximately 8% (from 88.8 to 96.1 g kg W0.75, meant across all harvests), silage intake potential for beef cattle increased only within harvest 1. Despite overall increases in silage DM concentration, silage digestibility parameters did not show any significant improvement over the 20-year period, highlighting the need for a renewed focus on improving silage nutritive value. ItemImpact of adopting non-antibiotic dry-cow therapy on the performance and udder health of dairy cows(Wiley, 2022-05-28) Lavery, Anna; Craig, Aimee-Louise; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Ferris, Conrad P.Background On dairy farms, the prophylactic use of antibiotics at drying-off is being increasingly challenged. The objective of this study was to examine the effect of antibiotic dry-cow therapy (DCT) or non-antibiotic DCT on dairy cow performance and udder health. Methods Holstein cows (n = 285) with low risk of intramammary infection (<200,000 cells/ml) were assigned to one of two treatments, either antibiotic DCT (A + TS; antibiotic treatment in combination with internal and external teat sealants) or non-antibiotic DCT (TS; internal and external teat sealant only). Results There was no statistically significant (p > 0.05) difference between treatments for mean cow milk yield, composition or energy corrected milk yield. Mean somatic cell count was 0.16 loge higher in the TS treatment (95% confidence interval [CI]: −0.00 loge to −0.33 loge) compared to A + TS treatment (p = 0.047). A 50% increase in the number of mastitis cases was observed in the A + TS treatment compared to TS treatment (odds ratio = 1.5, 95% CI: 0.80%–3.01%), although this was not significant. There was no statistical evidence (p > 0.05) that treatment had any effect on colostrum quality and composition. Conclusion Results indicate that non-antibiotic DCT can be adopted in ‘low-risk’ cows who were offered grass silage-based diets in cubicle accommodation, with low risk of adverse effects on performance or udder health. ItemImpact of feeding low and average birthweight pigs on a weight basis post-weaning on growth performance and body composition(Elsevier, 2020-08-29) Hawe, Samuel James; Scollan, Nigel; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Muns Vila, Ramon; Magowan, ElizabethThis study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of employing a targeted nutritional regime until slaughter to maintain performance in animals recording high weaning weights. Low birthweight (Low BW; <1 kg) and average birthweight (Av BW; 1.3kg-1.7 kg) pigs were reared on sows exhibiting a high lactation feed intake and, as a result, weaning weights were 7.9 kg and 8.9 kg respectively. Pens containing either Low BW or Av BW animals were then offered either a ‘standard’ (STAND) or ‘feed-to-weight’ (FTW) regime from weaning until slaughter. The STAND regime was reflective of commercial production, where diet transitions were implemented after pre-determined feed levels or time intervals had been reached. In contrast, diet transitions in the FTW regime were carried out when target pen average weights of 12 kg, 18 kg, 22 kg, 45 kg and 75 kg respectively were met. Animal growth, feeding performance and body composition were monitored from weaning until slaughter. As expected, Av BW pigs were heavier than Low BW animals throughout (P<0.001), recording a superior average daily gain (ADG) (P<0.01) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) (P<0.001) at each stage of growth. This resulted in Av BW animals recording a greater carcass weight (P<0.001) and kill-out percentage (P<0.01). DEXA scan analysis showed Low BW animals to exhibit a greater percentage fat (P<0.001) and lower percentage lean (P<0.01) content at week 4 and 10 of age, however birthweight had no effect on these parameters at week 21 (P>0.05). Feeding regime did not affect age or weight at diet transition for Av BW animals for most transitions (P>0.05). However Low BW animals offered the FTW regime were significantly older and heavier than those offered the STAND regime at each transition (P<0.05). The FTW regime increased animal ADG and ADFI compared to STAND pigs from weeks 4 to 10 of age (P<0.05), whilst providing a greater average daily intake of energy and lysine from week 4 to 10 (P<0.05) and week 10 to 17 (P<0.05). This facilitated a greater liveweight in FTW animals from 7 weeks of age through to slaughter (P<0.05). Feeding regime had no effect on kill-out percentage or back-fat depth (P>0.05). Furthermore, DEXA scan results showed total or percentage lean and fat did not differ for FTW or STAND pigs at 10 or 21 weeks of age (P>0.05). In conclusion, feeding Low BW animals on a ‘feed to weight’ basis improved nutrient intake and animal liveweight, likely due to a greater time allowance for digestive development between diet transitions. As such, this approach should be considered for commercial adoption. ItemImpact of sow lactation feed intake on the growth and suckling behavior of low and average birthweight pigs to 10 weeks of age(Oxford University Press, 2020-05-09) Hawe, Samuel J.; Scollan, Nigel; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Magowan, ElizabethImproved genetics in commercial pig production have resulted in larger litter sizes. However this has increased the prevalence of compromised pigs exhibiting inferior birthweights, weaning weights, and lifetime performance. This study aimed to determine the effects of increased sow lactation feed intake on growth of low and average birthweight piglets until 10 wk of age. Low (Low BW; <1 kg) and average (Av BW; 1.3–1.7 kg) birthweight animals were reared in uniformly weighted litters comprising 14 piglets on a foster mother offered either a low (Low FA; max 7.5 kg/d) or high (High FA; max 11 kg/d) feed allowance over a 28- ± 1-d lactation. Piglet performance was monitored from birth until 10 wk of age. Sows offered a High FA consumed 42.4 kg more feed on average than those offered Low FA, resulting in a greater derived milk yield (P < 0.05). Animals of Av BW remained heavier than Low BW pigs throughout the trial (P < 0.05). Piglets reared by High FA sows were heavier at weeks 3, 4, 5, and 7 (P < 0.05) but not week 10 (P > 0.05). Growth rate of piglets relative to their birthweight was significantly greater for Low BW piglets than those of Av BW during lactation (P < 0.001). Piglets reared by sows offered a High FA expressed greater relative growth preweaning (P < 0.05); however, postweaning relative growth for piglets reared on sows offered a Low FA was greater (P < 0.05) suggesting compensatory growth. Neither birthweight nor sow feed allowance significantly affected preweaning mortality (P > 0.05). However, Low BW animals on sows with a High FA recorded half the preweaning mortality of Low BW pigs on sows with a Low FA. During week 1 of lactation, Av BW litters recorded a greater total suckling duration compared to Low BW litters (P < 0.05) but there was no difference in suckling frequency (P > 0.05). During week 3 of lactation, High FA litters displayed a significantly lower suckling frequency (P < 0.05) yet a greater total suckling duration (P < 0.001). Average daily gain was greater for Av BW pigs during weeks 4–7 (P < 0.001) but no difference was recorded between weeks 7 and 10 (P > 0.05). Average daily feed intake was greater for Av BW pigs throughout the nursery period (P < 0.05) but feed–conversion ratio did not differ compared to Low BW pens (P>0.05). In conclusion, offering sows a High FA increased weaning weight of all animals; however, birthweight was the major determinant of postweaning performance. ItemMethane Emissions from Grazing Holstein-Friesian Heifers at Different Ages Estimated Using the Sulfur Hexafluoride Tracer Technique(Elsevier, 2017-05-17) Morrison, Steven J.; McBride, Judith; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Wylie, Alastair R.G.; Yan, TianhaiAlthough the effect of animal and diet factors on enteric methane (CH4) emissions from confined cattle has been extensively examined, less data is available regarding CH4 emissions from grazing young cattle. A study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of the physiological state of Holstein-Friesian heifers on their enteric CH4 emissions while grazing a perennial ryegrass sward. Two experiments were conducted: Experiment 1 ran from May 2011 for 11 weeks and Experiment 2 ran from August 2011 for 10 weeks. In each experiment, Holstein-Friesian heifers were divided into three treatment groups (12 animals/group) consisting of calves, yearling heifers, and in-calf heifers (average ages: 8.5, 14.5, and 20.5 months, respectively). Methane emissions were estimated for each animal in the final week of each experiment using the sulfur hexafluoride tracer technique. Dry matter (DM) intake was estimated using the calculated metabolizable energy (ME) requirement divided by the ME concentration in the grazed grass. As expected, live weight increased with increasing animal age (P < 0.001); however, there was no difference in live weight gain among the three groups in Experiment 1, although in Experiment 2, this variable decreased with increasing animal age (P < 0.001). In Experiment 1, yearling heifers had the highest CH4 emissions (g·d–1) and in-calf heifers produced more than calves (P < 0.001). When expressed as CH4 emissions per unit of live weight, DM intake, and gross energy (GE) intake, yearling heifers had higher emission rates than calves and in-calf heifers (P < 0.001). However, the effects on CH4 emissions were different in Experiment 2, in which CH4 emissions (g·d–1) increased linearly with increasing animal age (P < 0.001), although the difference between yearling and in-calf heifers was not significant. The CH4/live weight ratio was lower in in-calf heifers than in the other two groups (P < 0.001), while CH4 energy output as a proportion of GE intake was lower in calves than in yearling and in-calf heifers (P < 0.05). All data were then pooled and used to develop prediction equations for CH4 emissions. All relationships are significant (P < 0.001), with R2 values ranging from 0.630 to 0.682. These models indicate that CH4 emissions could be increased by 0.252 g·d–1 with an increase of 1 kg live weight or by 14.9 g·d–1 with an increase of 1 kg·d–1 of DM intake; or, the CH4 energy output could be increased by 0.046 MJ·d–1 with an increase of 1 MJ·d–1 of GE intake. These results provide an alternative approach for estimating CH4 emissions from grazing dairy heifers when actual CH4 emission data are not available ItemNorthern Ireland farm-level management factors for prolonged bovine tuberculosis herd breakdowns.(Cambridge University Press, 2020-09-28) Doyle, L.P.; Courcier, E.A.; Gordon, Alan Wesley; O'Hagan, M.J.H.; Johnston, P.; McAleese, E.; Buchanan, J.R.; Stegeman, J.A.; Menzies, F.D.This study determined farm management factors associated with long-duration bovine tuberculosis (bTB) breakdowns disclosed in the period 23 May 2016 to 21 May 2018; a study area not previously subject to investigation in Northern Ireland. A farm-level epidemiological investigation (n = 2935) was completed when one or more Single Intradermal Comparative Cervical Test (SICCT) reactors or when one or more confirmed (positive histological and/or bacteriological result) lesion at routine slaughter were disclosed. A case-control study design was used to construct an explanatory set of management factors associated with long-duration bTB herd breakdowns; with a case (n = 191) defined as an investigation into a breakdown of 365 days or longer. Purchase of infected animal(s) had the strongest association as the most likely source of infection for long-duration bTB herd breakdowns followed by badgers and then cattle-to-cattle contiguous herd spread. However, 73.5% (95% CI 61.1–85.9%) of the herd type contributing to the purchase of infection source were defined as beef fattening herds. This result demonstrates two subpopulations of prolonged bTB breakdowns, the first being beef fattening herds with main source continuous purchase of infected animals and a second group of primary production herds (dairy, beef cows and mixed) with risk from multiple sources. ItemPerformance and milk quality parameters of Jersey crossbreds in low-input dairy systems(Nature Research, 2022-05-09) Ormston, Sabrina; Davis, Hannah; Butler, Gillian; Chatzidimitriou, Eleni; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Theodoridou, Katerina; Huws, Sharon; Yan, Tianhai; Leifert, Carlo; Stergiadis, SokratisPrevious work has demonstrated some benefit from alternative breeds in low-input dairying, although there has been no systematic analysis of the simultaneous effect of Jersey crossbreeding on productivity, health, fertility parameters or milk nutritional quality. This work aimed to understand the effects of, and interactions/interrelations between, dairy cow genotypes (Holstein-Friesian (HF), Holstein-Friesian × Jersey crossbreds (HF × J)) and season (spring, summer, autumn) on milk yield; basic composition; feed efficiency, health, and fertility parameters; and milk fatty acid (FA) profiles. Milk samples (n = 219) and breed/diet data were collected from 74 cows in four UK low-input dairy farms between March and October 2012. HF × J cows produced milk with more fat (+ 3.2 g/kg milk), protein (+ 2.9 g/kg milk) and casein (+ 2.7 g/kg milk); and showed higher feed, fat, and protein efficiency (expressed as milk, fat and protein outputs per kg DMI) than HF cows. Milk from HF × J cows contained more C4:0 (+ 2.6 g/kg FA), C6:0 (+ 1.9 g/kg FA), C8:0 (+ 1.3 g/kg FA), C10:0 (+ 3.0 g/kg FA), C12:0 (+ 3.7 g/kg FA), C14:0 (+ 4.6 g/kg FA) and saturated FA (SFA; + 27.3 g/kg milk) and less monounsaturated FA (MUFA; -23.7 g/kg milk) and polyunsaturated FA (− 22.3 g/kg milk). There was no significant difference for most health and fertility parameters, but HF × J cows had shorter calving interval (by 39 days). The superior feed, fat and protein efficiency of HF × J cows, as well as shorter calving interval can be considered beneficial for the financial sustainability of low-input dairy farms; and using such alternative breeds in crossbreeding schemes may be recommended. Although statistically significant, it is difficult to determine if differences observed between HF and HF × J cows in fat composition are likely to impact human health, considering average population dairy fat intakes and the relatively small difference. Thus, the HF × J cow could be used in low-input dairying to improve efficiency and productivity without impacting milk nutritional properties. ItemPerformance of dairy cows offered either zero-grazed grass or grass silage prepared from the same sward(Elsevier, 2023-10-05) Lavery, Anna; Gordon, Alan Wesley; White, Alison; Ferris, Conrad; Sustainable LivestockDaily harvesting of fresh grass for housed livestock when its nutritive value is high (Zero-grazing) is a labour-intensive process which requires a consistent supply of grass at the optimum growth stage. An alternative approach which may save on labour and require less time spent on grassland management each day, involves harvesting and ensiling herbage on a number of occasions (every 4 weeks approximately) during the growing season when it is at the same nutritive value as herbage used for zero-grazing. This study examined the impact of these two approaches to dairy cow performance. Thirty-six mid-lactation Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were offered either zero-grazed fresh grass (ZG), or grass silage (SIL) prepared from the same sward harvested at a similar growth stage, over a single season. Fresh grass was harvested daily and offered to ZG cows for a 12-week period. During this period, the same sward was harvested once weekly and ensiled in round bales. Following a five-week ensilage period, the silage was offered to cows on SIL for a 12-week period. All cows were also offered 8.0 kg concentrate per day. Zero-grazed grass and grass silage had a mean metabolisable energy content of 11.0 and 11.3 MJ/kg DM, respectively. Mean forage DM intake (DMI) and total DMI were greater for cows on ZG (P < 0.001) compared to SIL, with intakes during weeks 8–12 of the experiment lower with SIL compared to ZG (P < 0.001). Cows on ZG had a higher milk yield, milk protein concentration, milk fat plus protein yield and energy-corrected milk (ECM) yield (P < 0.001) than cows on SIL. With the exception of milk yield (where the difference was primarily observed during weeks 8–12 of lactation), these differences were observed most weeks during the study period. Milk fat concentration was unaffected by treatment (P > 0.05). Milk of cows on ZG had higher concentrations of total monounsaturated fatty acids (P < 0.001), total polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs, P < 0.001) but lower concentrations of saturated fatty acids (SFAs, P < 0.001) compared to cows on SIL. Diet had no effect on cow BW or condition score. This study has shown that when harvested from the same sward, milk yield and ECM yield were improved when cows were offered zero-grazed grass compared to grass silage. This difference in performance was likely due to the lower forage intake observed with the grass silage-based diet. ItemPerformance of Dairy Cows Offered Grass Silage Produced within Either a Three- or Four-Harvest System When Supplemented with Concentrates on a Feed-to-Yield Basis(MDPI, 2023-01-07) Craig, Aimee; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Ferris, ConradMore frequent harvesting of grass swards provides an opportunity to improve the nutritive value of grass silage. This study investigated the effect of offering silages produced within either a three- (3H) or four-harvest (4H) system on dairy cow performance when concentrate supplements were offered according to the individual cow’s milk yield (feed-to-yield). Cows (n = 80) were allocated to either 3H or 4H at calving and remained on experiment for 25 weeks. Within both treatments, cows were offered silage from each harvest consecutively in proportion to the dry matter (DM) yield for each harvest. Silage was offered as a mixed ration with concentrate added at a rate of 8 kg/cow/day. Additional concentrates were offered on a feed-to-yield basis. Herbage yields were reduced in the 4H system, but 4H silage contained higher metabolisable energy and crude protein content compared to 3H. Cows offered the 4H silage had greater silage DM intake, milk yield and milk protein content, while milk fat content was greater in cows offered 3H silages. In conclusion, increasing harvesting frequency from three to four harvests per year can improve silage feed value, silage intakes and milk yields when concentrates are offered on a feed-to-yield basis. ItemPhysical and economic performance of dairy cows managed within contrasting grassland based milk production systems over three successive lactation(Elsevier, 2022-02-03) Ferris, Conrad P.; Watson, Sally; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Barley, JasonA diverse range of grassland-based milk produc- tion systems are practiced on dairy farms in temper- ate regions, with systems differing in relation to the proportion of grazed grass, conserved forages and concentrates in diet, calving season, duration of hous- ing, cow genotype, and performance levels. The current study was conducted to examine performance within diverse grassland-based systems of milk production under experimental conditions. This study examined 4 milk production systems over 3 successive lactations (20 cows per system during each lactation). With win- ter calving-fully housed (WC-FH), Holstein cows were housed for the entire lactation and offered a complete diet consisting of grass silage, maize silage, and con- centrates [approximately 50% forage on a dry matter (DM) basis]. With winter calving-conventional (WC- Con), Holstein cows were housed and offered the same diet from calving until turnout (late March) as offered with WC-FH, and thereafter cows were given access to grazing and supplemented with 5.0 kg of concentrate/ cow daily. Two spring-calving systems were examined, the former involving Holstein cows (SC-H) and the lat- ter Jersey × Holstein crossbred cows (SC-J×H). Cows on these systems were offered a grass silage-concentrate mix (70% forage on a DM basis) until turnout (late February), and thereafter cows were given access to grazing supplemented with 1.0 kg of concentrate/ cow per day. The contributions of concentrates (3,080, 2,175, 722, and 760 kg of DM/cow per lactation), conserved forages (3,199, 1,556, 1,053, and 1,066 kg of DM/cow per lactation), and grazed grass (0, 2,041, 2,788, and 2,692 kg of DM/cow per lactation) to total DMI (6,362, 5,763, 4,563, and 4,473 kg of DM/cow per lactation) with WC-FH, WC-Con, SC-H, and SC-J×H, respectively, varied considerably. Similarly, milk yield (9,333, 8,443, 6,464, and 6,049 kg/cow per lactation), milk fat content (44.9, 43.3, 42.8, and 49.0 g/kg), and milk protein content (34.6, 34.9, 33.6, and 36.3 g/kg) differed between systems (WC-FH, WC-Con, SC-H, and SC-J×H, respectively). The higher milk yields with the WC systems reflect the greater concentrate inputs with these systems, whereas the greater milk fat and protein content with SC-J×H reflect the use of Jersey crossbred cows. Crossbred cows on SC-J×H produced a similar yield of milk solids as Holstein cows on SC-H. Cows on WC-FH ended the lactation with a greater body weight (BW) and body condition score than cows on any other treatment. While Jersey crossbred cows on SC-J×H had a lower BW than Holstein cows on SC-H, cows on these 2 systems were not different for any of the other BW, body condition score, or blood metabolite parameters examined. Cows on WC-FH had a greater interval from calving to conception, a greater mastitis incidence, and a greater locomotion score than cows on the spring calving systems. Whole-system stocking rates and annual milk outputs were calcu- lated as 2.99, 2.62, 2.48, and 2.50 cows/ha, and 25,706, 20,822, 15,289, and 14,564 kg of milk/ha, with each of WC-FH, WC-Con, SC-H, and SC-J×H, respectively. Gross margin per cow was highest with WC-Con, gross margin per hectare was highest with WC-FH, and gross margin per kilogram of milk was highest with SC-J×H. This study demonstrated that diverse grassland-based milk production systems are associated with very dif- ferent levels of performance when examined per cow and per hectare. ItemRelationships between energy balance during early lactation and cow performance, blood metabolites, and fertility: A meta-analysis of individual cow data(Elsevier, 2021-03-06) Civiero, M.; Cabezas-Garcia, E.H.; Ribeiro-Filho, H.M.N.; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Ferris, Conrad P.This study was designed to contribute to the understanding of the relationships between energy balance (EB) in early lactation [4 to 21 d in milk (DIM)] and fertility traits [interval to start of luteal activity (SLA), interval to first observed heat (FOH), and conception to first artificial insemination (AI)], and their associated relationships with cow performance and blood metabolites between 4 to 150 DIM. Individual cow data (488 primiparous and 1,020 multiparous lactations) from 27 experiments was analyzed. Data on cow performance, EB (on a metabolizable energy basis), and fertility traits were available for all cows, whereas milk progesterone data (to determine SLA) and periodic blood metabolite data were available for 1,042 and 1,055 lactations, respectively. Data from primiparous and multiparous cows were analyzed separately, with the data sets for the 2 parity groups divided into quartiles (Q1–Q4) according to the average EB during 4 to 21 DIM (EB range for Q1 to Q4: primiparous, −120 to −49, −49 to −24, −24 to −3, and −3 to 92 MJ/d, respectively: multiparous, −191 to −79, −79 to −48, −48 to −22, and −22 to 93 MJ/d, respectively). Differences between EB quartiles for production and fertility traits were compared. In early lactation (4 to 21 DIM), moving from Q1 to Q4 mean DMI and metabolizable energy intake increased whereas mean ECM decreased. During the same period, moving from Q1 to Q4 milk fat content, milk fat-to-protein ratio, and plasma nonesterified fatty acid and β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations decreased, whereas milk protein content and plasma glucose concentrations increased in both primiparous and multiparous cows. When examined over the entire experimental period (4 to 150 DIM), many of the trends in intakes and milk production remained, although the magnitude of the difference between quartiles was much reduced, whereas milk fat content did not differ between quartiles in primiparous cows. The percentage of cows with FOH before 42 DIM increased from Q1 to Q4 (from 46 to 72% in primiparous cows, and from 41 to 58% in multiparous cows). Interval from calving to SLA and to FOH decreased with increasing EB during 4 to 21 DIM, with these occurring 9.8 and 10.2 d earlier, respectively, in Q4 compared with Q1 (primiparous cows), and 7.4 and 5.9 d earlier, respectively, in Q4 compared with Q1 (multiparous cows). For each 10 MJ/d decrease in mean EB during 4 to 21 DIM, FOH was delayed by 1.2 and 0.8 d in primiparous and multiparous cows, respectively. However, neither days to first AI nor the percentage of cows that conceived to first AI were affected by daily EB during 4 to 21 DIM in either primiparous or multiparous cows, and this is likely to reflect a return to a less metabolically stressed status at the time of AI. These results demonstrate that interval from calving to SLA and to FOH were reduced with increasing EB in early lactation, whereas early lactation EB had no effect on conception to the first service. ItemUse of thermal imaging in dairy calves: exploring the repeatability and accuracy of measures taken from different anatomical regions(Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science, 2018-11-18) Scoley, Gillian; Gordon, Alan Wesley; Morrison, Steven J.Three experiments were undertaken to 1) quantify the repeatability and reproducibility of thermal imaging across day and operator experience and 2) assess the correlation between descriptive infrared (IR) temperature parameters from different anatomical areas and core body temperature in dairy calves under 12 wk of age. In experiment 1, a single operator captured 30 replicate images of both the left and right eyes (defined as the whole eye + 1 cm margin) and the rectal area (defined as the anus +1.5 cm margin) from each of 16 calves. In experiment 2, three operators of varying experience captured images from both the left and right eyes and the rectal area of each of 12 calves. In experiment 3, a single operator captured images of the right eye and rectal area for a period of 5 consecutive days for each of 205 calves. All images were captured between 0900 and 1300 h. Core body temperature, obtained via rectal thermometer, was recorded every day for each of the 205 calves following completion of IR image capture. Ambient temperature and relative humidity were adjusted for each thermal image prior to manual extraction of maximum, minimum, and average temperature parameters. In experiment 1, lowest error variance was found within the maximum temperature parameter and the right eye was determined as the most repeatable anatomical area, with 80.48% of the total proportion of variance attributed to the calf. Results indicated that capturing at least three replicate images would provide the precision required to identify ill-health in calves. In experiment 2, operator variance was low across anatomical areas, with values of ≤0.01°C2 for the right and left eyes and ≤0.04°C2 for the rectal area. In experiment 3, day to day variation of thermal image measurements and core body temperature were minimal across anatomical areas with values of ≤0.008°C2. Correlations ranging from 0.16 to 0.32, and from 0.31 to 0.47 were found between maximum eye and core body temperature and maximum rectal area and core body temperature, respectively. Results of the present study indicate a low level of variability and high level of repeatability within IR temperature measurements in calves under 12 wk of age, particularly within maximum temperature parameters. Providing operators of varying abilities with a basic standardized protocol is sufficient to limit between-operator variation. Further research is required to investigate whether correlation between IR and core body temperature can be improved.