Browsing by Author "Yan, Tianhai"
Now showing 1 - 20 of 26
Results Per Page
ItemAltitude influences microbial diversity and herbage fermentation in the rumen of yaks(BMC, 2020-12-04) Fan, Qingshan; Wanapat, Metha; Yan, Tianhai; Hou, FujiangBackground: Rumen microbiota in ruminants are vital for sustaining good rumen ecology, health, and productivity. Currently, limited information is available regarding the response of yaks (Bos grunniens) to fluctuating environments, especially the rumen microbiome. To address this, we investigated the diet, rumen bacterial community, and volatile fatty acids (VFA) of rumen fluid of yaks raised in the great Qinghai-Tibet plateau (QTP) at 2800 (low altitude, L), 3700 (middle altitude, M), and 4700 m (high altitude, H) above sea level. Results: The results showed that despite a partial diet overlap, H yaks harbored higher fibrous fractious contents than the M and L grazing yaks. Bacteria including Christensenellaceae_R-7_group, Ruminococcus_1, Romboutsia, Alloprevotella, Eubacterium coprostanoligenes, Clostridium, Streptococcus, and Treponema were found to be enriched in the rumen of yaks grazing at H. They also showed higher rumen microbial diversity and total VFA concentrations than those shown by yaks at M and L. Principal coordinates analysis (PCoA) on weighted UniFrac distances revealed that the bacterial community structure of rumen differed between the three altitudes. Moreover, Tax4fun metagenome estimation revealed that microbial genes associated with energy requirement and carbohydrate metabolic fate were overexpressed in the rumen microbiota of H yaks. Conclusions: Collectively, our results revealed that H yaks had a stronger herbage fermenting ability via rumen microbial fermentation. Their enhanced ability of utilizing herbage may be partly owing to a microbiota adaptation for more energy requirements in the harsh H environment, such as lower temperature and the risk of hypoxia. ItemAppropriate level of alfalfa hay in diets for rearing Simmental crossbred calves in dryland China(Asian-Australasian Association of Animal Production Societies, 2018-05-24) Kobayashi, Nobuyuki; Hou, Fujiang; Tsunekawa, Atsushi; Chen, Xianjiang; Yan, Tianhai; Ichinohe, ToshiyoObjective: In dryland areas of China, alfalfa hay (AH) is a possible substitute for concentrate feed for beef cattle. To evaluate the potential benefits of this substitution, we studied the effect of the ratio of AH intake to total dry matter (DM) intake on average daily body-weight gain (ADG), dietary energy utilization status, and economic benefit in Gansu province. Methods: In each of two feeding trials in 2016 (trial 1 [T1], July 3 to 17; trial 2 [T2], August 15 to September 23), crossbred male Simmental calves were allocated to low AH (LA), medium AH (MA), and high AH (HA) feeding groups (n = 4 per group). The target ADG was set as 1 kg for both trials. In a one-way-layout design based on conventional feeding practices in the province, calves received diets containing the different AH amounts, with a constant ratio of corn stover:total DM and decreasing rations of concentrate feed proportional to the increase in AH. Calves in T1 received AH at 15% (T1-LA), 23% (T1-MA), or 31% (T1-HA) of their dietary DM allowances; those in T2 received 9% (T2-LA), 24% (T2-MA), or 34% (T2-HA) AH. Results: Among the T1 groups, both ADG and economic benefit were highest in T1-LA; whereas in T2, they were higher in the T2-LA and T2-MA groups than in T2-HA. Energy digestibility did not significantly differ among the groups in either trial. The dietary AH inclusion ratios of 14% in the warm season and 8% to 21% in the cool season appeared to yield optimal ADG, metabolizable energy intake, and economic benefit. Conclusion: Low-level inclusion of AH, ranging from 8% to 21%, is a practical approach for beef cattle feeding. This modified feeding regimen likely will promote increased growth performance during the fattening stage of beef steers in dryland areas of Gansu province, China. ItemCistanche deserticola Addition Improves Growth, Digestibility, and Metabolism of Sheep Fed on Fresh Forage from Alfalfa/Tall Fescue Pasture(MDPI, 2020-04-12) Liu, Xulei; Liu, Fuyao; Yan, Tianhai; Chang, Shenghua; Wanapat, Metha; Hou, FujiangThis study is targeted at evaluating whether C. deserticola addition promotes digestion, nitrogen and energy use, and methane production of sheep fed on fresh forage from alfalfa/tall fescue pastures. The sheep feeding trial was conducted with four addition levels with C. deserticola powder, and a basal diet of fresh alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea). Addition levels of 4% and 6% improved average body weight gain (BWG) by 215.71 and 142.86 g/d, and feed conversion ratio (FCR) by 0.20 and 0.14, respectively. Digestibility of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and ether extract (EE) was 62.25%, 65.18%, 58.75%, and 47.25% under the addition level of 2%, which is greater than that in the control group. C. deserticola addition improved energy utilization efficiency, while addition levels of 2% and 4% increased nitrogen intake and deposited nitrogen. Overall, C. deserticola has the potential to improve growth performance, digestion of sheep, so it has suitability to be used as a feed additive. ItemDetermination of maintenance energy requirement and responses of dry ewes to dietary inclusion of lucerne versus concentrate meal(Elsevier, 2021-05-23) Wang, C.M.; Yan, Tianhai; Xie, K.L.; Chang, C.; Hou, F.J.An accurate value for metabolizable energy (ME) requirement for maintenance (MEm) is essential to enable sheep husbandry practice to reach its potential. The objectives of the study were to use calorimetry chamber data of dry ewes (Hu × thin-tail Han F1 crossbred) to develop updated MEm, examine effects of substituting concentrate feed with lucerne hay on energy partitioning, and explore the relationships between energy utilization and fasting heat production (FHP). Data were collected from three experiments. In Exps. 1, 2a and 2b, lucerne hay was used to replace concentrates in three levels (0:40%, 15:25% and 30:10%), with diets containing 60% maize stover (Exp. 1), fresh rye forage (Exp. 2a) or dry rye forage (Exp. 2b). Within each experiment, diets were isoenergetic (digestible energy, DE) and isonitrogenous. Exp. 3 aimed at evaluating effects of three BW levels on nutrient utilization of dry ewes offered diets containing 60% maize stover, 15% lucerne hay and 25% concentrates. Energy metabolism data were measured using the respiration calorimeter chamber technique in all three experiments, followed by the measurement of FHP in Exps. 1, 2b and 3. The MEm derived from the linear regression between energy balance (EB) and ME intake was 0.440 MJ/kg BW0.75. The average FHP was 0.326 MJ/kg BW0.75. The fasting metabolism, net energy requirement for maintenance (NEm) and MEm were estimated to be 0.336, 0.359 and 0.511 MJ/kg BW0.75, respectively, through adjustment of FHP using fasting urinary energy output, activity allowance and efficiency of ME use for maintenance. The FHP was negatively correlated to EB/metabolic BW, ME/gross energy (GE), ME/DE, EB/GE intake and EB/ME intake, while positively correlated to HP/GE intake, HP/ME intake and CH4-E/GE intake. Compared to zero lucerne hay diet, the 15% lucerne hay intake decreased HP (MJ/d), and had no negative effects on EB (MJ/d) or energy utilization efficiencies. The results indicate that nutrient requirement standards currently used across the world are likely to underestimate MEm for dry ewes, and the selection of low FHP ewes for breeding has the potential to improve sheep production efficiency. ItemEffect of different levels of protein concentrates supplementation on the growth performance, plasma amino acids profile and mTOR cascade genes expression in early-weaned yak calves(Asian-Australasian Association of Animal Production Societies (AAAP), 2017-06-27) Peng, Q.H.; Khan, N.A.; Xue, B.; Yan, Tianhai; Wang, Z.S.Objective This study evaluated the effects of different levels of protein concentrate supplementation on the growth performance of yak calves, and correlated the growth rate to changes occurring in the plasma- amino acids, -insulin profile, and signaling activity of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) cascade to characterize the mechanism through which the protein synthesis can be improved in early weaned yaks. Methods For this study, 48 early (3 months old) weaned yak calves were selected, and assigned into four dietary treatments according to randomized complete block design. The four blocks were balanced for body weight and sex. The yaks were either grazed on natural pasture (control diet) in a single herd or the grazing yaks was supplemented with one of the three protein rich supplements containing low (17%; LP), medium (19%; MP), or high (21%; HP) levels of crude proteins for a period of 30 days. Results Results showed that the average daily gain of calves increased (0.14 vs 0.23–0.26 kg; p<0.05) with protein concentrates supplementation. The concentration of plasma methionine increased (p<0.05; 8.6 vs 10.1–12.4 μmol/L), while those of serine and tyrosine did not change (p>0.05) when the grazing calves were supplemented with protein concentrates. Compared to control diet, the insulin level of calves increased (p<0.05; 1.86 vs 2.16–2.54 μIU/mL) with supplementation of protein concentrates. Addition of protein concentrates up-regulated (p<0.05) expression of mTOR-raptor, mammalian vacuolar protein sorting 34 homolog, the translational regulators eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E binding protein 1, and S6 kinase 1 genes in both Longissimus dorsi and semitendinosus. In contrast, the expression of sequestosome 1 was down-regulated in the concentrate supplemented calves. Conclusion Our results show that protein supplementation improves the growth performance of early weaned yak calves, and that plasma methionine and insulin concentrations were the key mediator for gene expression and protein deposition in the muscles. ItemEffect of substituting fresh-cut perennial ryegrass with fresh-cut white clover on bovine milk fatty acid profile(Wiley, 2018-03-06) Stergiadis, Sokratis; Hynes, Deborah; Thomson, Anna L.; Kliem, Kirsty E.; Berlitz, Carolina G.B.; Gunal, Mevlut; Yan, TianhaiBACKGROUND Including forage legumes in dairy systems can help address increasing environmental/economic concerns about perennial ryegrass monoculture pastures. This work investigated the effect of substituting fresh-cut grass with increasing quantities of fresh-cut white clover (WC) on milk fatty acid (FA) profile and transfer efficiency of dietary linoleic (LA) and α-linolenic (ALNA) acids to milk fat. Three groups of three crossbred dairy cows were used in a 3 × 3 crossover design. Dietary treatments were 0 g kg−1 WC + 600 g kg−1 grass, 200 g kg−1 WC + 400 g kg−1 grass, and 400 g kg−1 WC + 200 g kg−1 grass. All treatments were supplemented with 400 g kg−1 concentrates on a dry matter basis. Cows had a 19-day adaptation period to the experimental diet before a 6-day measurement period in individual tie stalls. RESULTS Increasing dietary WC did not affect dry matter intake, milk yield or milk concentrations of fat, protein or lactose. Milk polyunsaturated FA concentrations (total n-3, total n-6, LA and ALNA) and transfer efficiency of LA and ALNA were increased with increasing dietary WC supply. CONCLUSION Inclusion of WC in pastures may increase concentrations of nutritionally beneficial FA, without influencing milk yield and basic composition, but any implications on human health cannot be drawn. ItemEffect of Varying Dietary Crude Protein Level on Feed Intake, Nutrient Digestibility, Milk Production, and Nitrogen Use Efficiency by Lactating Holstein-Friesian Cows(MDPI, 2020-12-19) Katongole, Constantine; Yan, TianhaiThe effect of dietary crude protein (CP) level on intake, digestibility, milk production, and nitrogen (N) use efficiency was studied. Twenty-four Holstein-Friesian cows (17 multiparous and seven primiparous) were grouped by parity, days in milk, milk yield, and live weight into six blocks of four, and randomly assigned to four total mixed ration (TMR) treatments, containing 141, 151, 177, or 210 g CP/kg dry matter (DM), over 28 day experimental periods. Apparent total-tract DM and fiber digestibilities and milk fat composition were similar across treatments. Milk protein and urea-N compositions, and urinary and manure N excretion increased linearly, while milk N efficiency (MNE) decreased linearly with increasing CP. DM intake was highest with the 177 diet, while CP intake increased linearly with increasing CP, peaking at 200 g/kg DM. Milk yield increased with CP intake for the three lower CP levels, peaking at 176 g CP/kg DM. The further increase in CP level from 177 to 210 g/kg DM did not result in improved milk yield, but resulted in decreased milk N secretion and increased urinary N excretion. In summary, milk protein composition increased linearly with increasing CP, accompanied by a linear decrease in MNE, resulting in a bell-shaped relationship between milk yield and dietary CP level. ItemEffects of concentrate input on nutrient utilization and methane emissions of two breeds of ewe lambs fed fresh ryegrass(Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science., 2019-01) Wang, Chunmei; Zhao, Yiguang; Aubry, Aurélie; Arnott, Gareth; Hou, Fujiang; Yan, TianhaiThe objective of this study was to evaluate if high-quality grass could sustain a similar feeding efficiency to concentrate meals for two breeds of lowland ewe lambs. Sixteen lowland ewe lambs of approximately 13 mo age and 61.5 ± 5.28 kg live weight were used in a 2 × 2 factorial study, with 2 diets (fresh perennial ryegrass [Lolium perenne] vs. fresh perennial ryegrass plus 0.5 kg/d fresh concentrate) × 2 breeds (Highlander vs. Texel). Grass was cut daily in the morning from a single zero-grazing sward and offered ad libitum. The animals were individually housed in pens and fed experimental diets for an adaptation phase of 19 d, and then transferred to respiration calorimeter chambers, remaining there for 5 d, with feed intake, feces and urine outputs, and methane (CH4) emissions measured during the final 4 d. There were no significant interaction effects between diets and breeds on any variables. Ewe lambs offered 0.5 kg/d concentrate supplementation had slightly greater DM intake and energy (GE, DE, and ME) intake, but had significantly higher N intake and N excretion in feces and urine than those fed the grass-only diet. However, diets had no significant effects on nutrient digestibility, energy or N utilization, or CH4 emission. Texel breed had a significantly lower DM intake and CH4 emissions per kg live weight, whereas the breed had no significant effect on nutrient digestibility or energy or N utilization. These results implicate that good quality grass could sustain high nutrient utilization efficiency as effectively as diets supplemented with concentrates for ewe lamb production. The two breeds of lowland ewe lambs can utilize good quality grass at a similar level of efficiency. ItemEffects of dietary crude protein concentration on animal performance and nitrogen utilisation efficiency at different stages of lactation in Holstein-Friesian dairy cows(Elsevier, 2022-06-13) Yang, C.T.; Ferris, Conrad P.; Yan, TianhaiNitrogen (N) excretion from livestock production systems is of significant environmental concern; however, few studies have investigated the effect of dietary CP concentration on N utilisation efficiency at different stages of lactation, and the interaction between dietary CP levels and stages of lactation on N utilisation. Holstein-Friesian dairy cows (12 primiparous and 12 multiparous) used in the present study were selected from a larger group of cows involved in a whole-lactation study designed to examine the effect of dietary CP concentration on milk production and N excretion rates at different stages of lactation. The total diet CP concentrations evaluated were 114 (low CP), 144 (medium CP) and 173 (high CP) g/kg DM, with diets containing (g/kg DM) 550 concentrates, 270 grass silage and 180 maize silage. During early (70–80 days), mid- (150–160 days) and late (230–240 days) lactation, the same 24 animals were transferred from the main cow house to metabolism units for measurements of feed intake, milk production and faeces and urine outputs. Diet had no effect on BW, body condition score, or milk fat, protein or lactose concentration, but DM intake, milk yield and digestibilities of DM, energy and N increased with increasing diet CP concentration. The effect of diet on milk yield was largely due to differences between the low and medium CP diets. Increasing dietary CP concentration significantly increased urine N/N intake and urine N/manure N, and decreased faecal N/N intake, milk N/N intake and manure N/N intake. Although increasing dietary CP level significantly increased urine N/milk yield and manure N/milk yield, differences in these two variables between low and medium CP diets were not significant. There was no significant interaction between CP level and stage of lactation on any N utilisation variable, indicating that the effects of CP concentration on these variables were similar between stages of lactation. These results demonstrated that a decrease in dietary CP concentration from high (173 g/kg DM) to medium level (144 g/kg DM) may be appropriate for Holstein-Friesian dairy cow to maintain milk production efficiency, whilst reducing both urine N and manure N as a proportion of N intake or milk production. ItemThe effects of dietary crude protein level on ammonia emissions from slurry from lactating Holstein-Friesian cows as measured in open-circuit respiration chambers.(MDPI, 2022-05-12) Katongole, Constantine; Yan, TianhaiThe effect of dietary crude protein (CP) level on ammonia (NH3) emissions from slurry from lactating Holstein-Friesian cows was studied. Twenty-four-hour total collections of faeces and urine were made from 24 lactating Holstein-Friesian cows fed four total mixed rations containing 141, 151, 177, and 201 g CP/kg DM (6 cows/diet). The collected urine and faeces from each cow were combined to form 2 kg duplicate slurry samples (weight/weight; fresh basis) according to the proportions in which they were excreted. NH3 emissions from the slurry samples were measured, during 0–24 and 24–48 h intervals in six open-circuit respiration chambers maintained at two temperatures (8 or 18 °C). NH3 emissions for the 0–24 and 0–48 h intervals, as well as the average daily emissions, increased linearly with increasing dietary CP level. Increasing the temperature from 8 to 18 °C positively affected NH3 emissions, but only for the 0–24 h interval. In situations where direct measurements are impossible, NH3 emissions from slurry can be predicted accurately using equations based on dietary CP level supported by either urinary nitrogen, faeces nitrogen, or both. In summary, increasing dietary CP level linearly increased average daily NH3 emissions from slurry, with a 5.4 g increase for each 10 g increase in dietary CP. ItemEffects of the particle of ground alfalfa hay on the growth performance, methane production and archaeal populations of rabbits(Public Library of Science, 2018-09-17) Liu, Siqiang; Yuan, Mei; Jin, Dingxing; Wang, Zhisheng; Zou, Huawei; Wang, Lizhi; Xue, Bai; Wu, De; Tian, Gang; Cai, Jingyi; Yan, Tianhai; Peng, QuanhuiThe world's annual output of rabbits is over 1.2 billion, therefore this sector is also one of the sources of greenhouse gases in livestock production. One hundred-twenty New Zealand rabbits were allocated into four treatments, five replicates in each treatment and six rabbits in each replicate to examine the effect of grinding alfalfa hay to different sizes on growth performance, methane production and cecal archaeal populations. The particle sizes of the alfalfa meal in the four treatment diets were 2500, 1000, 100 and 10 μm, while the other ingredients were ground through a 2.5 mm sieve. The average daily gain (ADG) and average daily feed intake (ADFI) increased (P<0.001) as the particle size decreased, but the feed conversion ratio (FCR) was not affected (P = 0.305). The digestibility of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) (P = 0.006) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) (P<0.006) increased while the greatest digestibility of crude protein (CP) was obtained in 1000 um group (P = 0.015). The rabbits produced more methane (CH4, L/kgBM0.75/d) with decreasing alfalfa particle size (P<0.001). The molar proportion of acetic acid and propionic acid decreased (P<0.001) at the cost of butyric acid (P<0.001). The greatest villus height:crypt depth ratio were obtained in 1000 μm group, and the decrease in the alfalfa hay particle size decreased the jejunum and ilem villus height:crypt depth ratio (P<0.05). The gastric muscular and mucosal thickness decreased with decreasing alfalfa particle size (P<0.05). Archaea diversity decreased with decreasing alfalfa particle size, and the relative abundance of genus Methanobrevibacter increased (P<0.001) while the genus Methanosphaera decreased (P<0.001). It is concluded that a finer particle size favors the growth of genus Methanobrevibacter, which produces more methane but promotes the growth performance of rabbits. ItemEvaluation of energy balances and greenhouse gas emissions from different agricultural production systems in Minqin Oasis, China(Peer J, 2019-06-26) Yan, Zhengang; Li, Wei; Yan, Tianhai; Chang, Shenghua; Hou, FujiangAgricultural production in Minqin Oasis, China, is commonly categorized as intensive crop production (ICP), integrated crop–livestock production (ICLP), intensive livestock production (confined feeding) (IFLP), and extensive livestock production (grazing) (EGLP). The objectives of the present study were to use a life cycle assessment technique to evaluate on-farm energy balances and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of agricultural production, and to compare the differences among the four systems. Data used in the present study were collected from published literature and face-to face questionnaires from 529 farms in eight towns (two towns per production system) within Minqin county. The ANOVA of averaged data from 2014 to 2015 indicated that the net energy ratio (Output/Input) for the EGLP system was significantly higher than that for any other system (P < 0.01), whereas the difference among other three systems were not significant. The EGLP system generated lower CO2-eq emissions per hectare of farmland than other systems (P < 0.01). Relating carbon economic efficiency to market values (US$) of agricultural products, indicated that the carbon economic efficiency (US$/kg CO2-eq) of the IFLP system was significantly greater than that of other systems (P < 0.01). The major GHG emission sources varied across the systems, that is, soil respiration is the dominant source in EGLP, while the main sources in IFLP are enteric methane and manure management; in ICLP major sources are enteric methane, soil respiration and fertilizer; and in ICP are soil respiration and fertilizer. The structural equation modelling analysis showed that livestock category was strongly linked to net income. The direct effects and total effects of water use efficiency, via its positive influence on energy balances and GHG emissions were much stronger than those of other dependent variables. The study provides important benchmark information to help develop sustainable agricultural production systems on energy balances and GHG emissions in northwestern China. 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. ItemThe impact of using novel equations to predict nitrogen excretion and associated emissions from pasture-based beef production systems.(MDPI, 2022-06-14) Angelidis, Angelos E.; McAuliffe, Graham A.; Takahashi, Taro; Crompton, Les; Yan, Tianhai; Reynolds, Christopher K.; Stergiadis, Sokratis; Misselbrook, TomThe excretion of nitrogen (N) in faeces and urine from beef cattle contributes to atmospheric pollution through greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions and eutrophication of land and aquatic habitats through excessive N deposition and nitrate leaching to groundwater. As N excretion by beef cattle is rarely measured directly, it is important to accurately predict losses by utilising a combined knowledge of diet and production parameters so that the effect of dietary changes on the potential environmental impact of beef production systems can be estimated. This study aimed to identify differences between IPCC and more detailed country-specific models in the prediction of N excretion and N losses at a system level and determine how the choice of model influences the interpretation of differences in diet at the system scale. The data used in this study were derived from a farm-scale experimental system consisting of three individual grazing farms, each with a different sward type: a permanent pasture, a high sugar ryegrass monoculture, and a high sugar ryegrass with white clover (~30% groundcover). Data were analysed using a mixed linear model (residual maximum likelihood analysis). The IPCC methods demonstrated significantly lower estimates of N excretion than country-specific models for the first housing period and significantly greater losses for the grazing and second housing periods. The country-specific models enabled prediction of N partitioning to urine and faeces, which is important for estimation of subsequent N losses through the production system, although the models differed in their estimates. Overall, predicted N losses were greater using the IPCC approaches compared to using more detailed country-specific approaches. The outcomes of the present study have highlighted that different models can have a substantial impact on the predicted N outputs and subsequent losses to the environment for pasture-based beef finishing systems, and the importance, therefore, of using appropriate models and parameters ItemImplications of Organic Dairy Management on Herd Performance and Milk Fatty Acid Profiles and Interactions with Season(MDPI, 2023-04-08) Ormston, Sabrina; Qin, Nanbing; Faludi, Gergely; Pitt, Joe; Gordon, Alan; Theodoridou, Katerina; Yan, Tianhai; Huws, Sharon A.; Stergiadis, SokratisInterest in organic cows’ milk has increased due to the perceived superior nutritional quality and improved sustainability and animal welfare. However, there is a lack of simultaneous assessments on the influence of organic dairy practices and dietary and breed drivers on productivity, feed efficiency, health parameters, and nutritional milk quality at the herd level. This work aimed to assess the impact of organic vs. conventional management and month on milk yield and basic composition, herd feed efficiency, health parameters, and milk fatty acid (FA) composition. Milk samples (n = 800) were collected monthly from the bulk tanks of 67 dairy farms (26 organic and 41 conventional) between January and December 2019. Data on breed and feeding practices were gathered via farm questionnaires. The samples were analyzed for their basic composition and FA profile using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and gas chromatography (GC), respectively. The data were analyzed using a linear mixed model, repeated measures design and multivariate redundancy analysis (RDA). The conventional farms had higher yields (kg/cow per day) of milk (+7.3 kg), fat (+0.27 kg), and protein (+0.25 kg) and higher contents (g/kg milk) of protein, casein, lactose, and urea. The conventional farms produced more milk (+0.22 kg), fat (+8.6 g), and protein (+8.1 g) per kg offered dry matter (DM). The organic farms produced more milk per kg of offered non-grazing and concentrate DM offered, respectively (+0.5 kg and +1.23 kg), and fat (+20.1 g and +51 g) and protein (+17 g and +42 g). The organic milk had a higher concentration of saturated fatty acid (SFA; +14 g/kg total FA), polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA; +2.4 g/kg total FA), and nutritionally beneficial FA alpha linolenic acid (ALNA; +14 g/kg total FA), rumenic acid (RA; +14 g/kg total FA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; +14 g/kg total FA); the conventional milk had higher concentrations of monounsaturated FA (MUFA; +16 g/kg total FA). Although the conventional farms were more efficient in converting the overall diet into milk, fat, and protein, the organic farms showed better efficiency in converting conserved forages and concentrates into milk, fat, and protein as a result of reduced concentrate feeding. Considering the relatively small differences in the FA profiles between the systems, increased pasture intake can benefit farm sustainability without negatively impacting consumer nutrition and health. ItemIntegrating heterogeneous across-country data for proxy-based random forest prediction of enteric methane in dairy cattle(Elsevier, 2022-03-22) Negussie, Enyew; Gonzalez-Recio, Oscar; Battagin, Mara; Bayat, Ali-Reza; Boland, Tommy; de Haas, Yvette; Garcia-Rodriguez, Aser; Garnsworthy, Philip C.; Gengler, Nicolas; Kreuzer, Michael; Kuhla, Bjorn; Lassen, Jan; Peiren, Nico; Pszczola, Marcin; Schwarm, Angela; Soyeurt, Helene; vanlierde, Amelie; Yan, Tianhai; Biscarini, FilippoDirect measurements of methane (CH4) from individual animals are difficult and expensive. Predictions based on proxies for CH4 are a viable alternative. Most prediction models are based on multiple linear regressions (MLR) and predictor variables that are not routinely available in commercial farms, such as dry matter intake (DMI) and diet composition. The use of machine learning (ML) algorithms to predict CH4 emissions from across-country heterogeneous data sets has not been reported. The objectives were to compare performances of ML ensemble algorithm random forest (RF) and MLR models in predicting CH4 emissions from proxies in dairy cows, and assess effects of imputing missing data points on prediction accuracy. Data on CH4 emissions and proxies for CH4 from 20 herds were provided by 10 countries. The integrated data set contained 43,519 records from 3,483 cows, with 18.7% missing data points imputed using k-nearest neighbor imputation. Three data sets were created, 3k (no missing records), 21k (missing DMI imputed from milk, fat, protein, body weight), and 41k (missing DMI, milk fat, and protein records imputed). These data sets were used to test scenarios (with or without DMI, imputed vs. nonimputed DMI, milk fat, and protein), and prediction models (RF vs. MLR). Model predictive ability was evaluated within and between herds through 10-fold cross-validation. Prediction accuracy was measured as correlation between observed and predicted CH4, root mean squared error (RMSE) and mean normalized discounted cumulative gain (NDCG). Inclusion of DMI in the model improved within and between-herd prediction accuracy to 0.77 (RMSE = 23.3%) and 0.58 (RMSE = 31.9%) in RF and to 0.50 (RMSE = 0.327) and 0.13 (RMSE = 42.71) in MLR, respectively than when DMI was not included in the predictive model. When missing DMI records were imputed, within and between-herd accuracy increased to 0.84 (RMSE = 18.5%) and 0.63 (RMSE = 29.9%), respectively. In all scenarios, RF models out-performed MLR models. Results suggest routinely measured variables from dairy farms can be used in developing globally robust prediction models for CH4 if coupled with state-of-the-art techniques for imputation and advanced ML algorithms for predictive modeling. ItemInvited review: Large-scale indirect measurements for enteric methane emissions in dairy cattle: A review of proxies and their potential for use in management and breeding decisions(Elsevier, 2017-02-01) Negussie, E.; de Haas, Y.; Dehareng, F.; Dewhurst, R.J.; Dijkstra, J.; Gengler, N.; Morgavi, D.P.; Soyeurt, H.; van Gastelen, S.; Yan, Tianhai; Biscarini, F.Efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of milk production through selection and management of low-emitting cows require accurate and large-scale measurements of methane (CH4) emissions from individual cows. Several techniques have been developed to measure CH4 in a research setting but most are not suitable for large-scale recording on farm. Several groups have explored proxies (i.e., indicators or indirect traits) for CH4; ideally these should be accurate, inexpensive, and amenable to being recorded individually on a large scale. This review (1) systematically describes the biological basis of current potential CH4 proxies for dairy cattle; (2) assesses the accuracy and predictive power of single proxies and determines the added value of combining proxies; (3) provides a critical evaluation of the relative merit of the main proxies in terms of their simplicity, cost, accuracy, invasiveness, and throughput; and (4) discusses their suitability as selection traits. The proxies range from simple and low-cost measurements such as body weight and high-throughput milk mid-infrared spectroscopy (MIR) to more challenging measures such as rumen morphology, rumen metabolites, or microbiome profiling. Proxies based on rumen samples are generally poor to moderately accurate predictors of CH4, and are costly and difficult to measure routinely onfarm. Proxies related to body weight or milk yield and composition, on the other hand, are relatively simple, inexpensive, and high throughput, and are easier to implement in practice. In particular, milk MIR, along with covariates such as lactation stage, are a promising option for prediction of CH4 emission in dairy cows. No single proxy was found to accurately predict CH4, and combinations of 2 or more proxies are likely to be a better solution. Combining proxies can increase the accuracy of predictions by 15 to 35%, mainly because different proxies describe independent sources of variation in CH4 and one proxy can correct for shortcomings in the other(s). The most important applications of CH4 proxies are in dairy cattle management and breeding for lower environmental impact. When breeding for traits of lower environmental impact, single or multiple proxies can be used as indirect criteria for the breeding objective, but care should be taken to avoid unfavorable correlated responses. Finally, although combinations of proxies appear to provide the most accurate estimates of CH4, the greatest limitation today is the lack of robustness in their general applicability. Future efforts should therefore be directed toward developing combinations of proxies that are robust and applicable across diverse production systems and environments. ItemLaser methane detector-based quantification of methane emissions from indoor-fed Fogera dairy cows(AAAP, 2021-01-01) Kobayashi, Nobuyuki; Hou, Fujiang; Tsunekawa, Atsushi; Yan, Tianhai; Tegegne, Firew; Tassew, Asaminew; Mekuriaw, Yeshambel; Mekuriaw, Shigdaf; Hunegnaw, Beyadglign; Mekonnen, Wondimeneh; Ichinohe, ToshiyoshiObjective: Portable laser methane detectors (LMDs) may be an economical means of estimating CH4 emissions from ruminants. We validated an LMD-based approach and then used that approach to evaluate CH4 emissions from indigenous dairy cows in a dryland area of Ethiopia. Methods: First, we validated our LMD-based approach in Simmental crossbred beef cattle (n = 2) housed in respiration chambers and fed either a high- or low-concentrate diet. From the results of the validation, we constructed an estimation equation to determine CH4 emissions from LMD CH4 concentrations. Next, we used our validated LMD approach to examine CH4 emissions in Fogera dairy cows grazed for 8 h/d (GG, n = 4), fed indoors on natural-grassland hay (CG1, n = 4), or fed indoors on Napier-grass (Pennisetum purpureum) hay (CG2, n = 4). All the cows were supplemented with concentrate feed. Results: The exhaled CH4 concentrations measured by LMD were linearly correlated with the CH4 emissions determined by infrared-absorption-based gas analyzer (r 2 = 0.55). The estimation equation used to determine CH4 emissions (y, mg/min) from LMD CH4 concentrations (x, ppm m) was y = 0.4259x+38.61. Daily CH4 emissions of Fogera cows estimated by using the equation did not differ among the three groups; however, a numerically greater milk yield was obtained from the CG2 cows than from the GG cows, suggesting that Napiergrass hay might be better than natural-grassland hay for indoor feeding. The CG1 cows had higher CH4 emissions per feed intake than the other groups, without significant increases in milk yield and body-weight gain, suggesting that natural-grassland hay cannot be recommended for indoor-fed cows. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate the potential of using LMDs to valuate feeding regimens rapidly and economically for dairy cows in areas under financial constraint, while taking CH4 emissions into consideration. 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 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.