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ItemThe effect of creep feed intake and starter diet allowance on piglets’ gut structure and growth performance after weaning(Oxford University Press, 7-09-20) Muns, Ramon; Magowan, ElizabethDiets offered to lactating and weaned piglets are the most expensive diets within pig production; however, the effect of these diets on lifetime pig performance is inconsistent. The objective of the current study was to investigate the impact of creep feed consumption during lactation and different starter diet allowances on piglets' gut structure and lifetime growth performance. In total, 320 pigs and 80 pigs (Landrace × Large White) were used after weaning in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement to study growth performance and gut structure, respectively. At weaning, piglets that ate creep feed and piglets that were not offered creep feed during lactation were allocated to 2 kg/pig [low level (LL)] or 6 kg/pig [high level (HL)] of starter 1 diet (16.5 MJ DE/kg, 22.5% CP, and 1.7% total Lys) allowance. At weaning and at 1 and 3 wk after weaning, 8 piglets per treatment were sacrificed, and their small intestine morphology was evaluated (villus height and crypt depth). Piglets that ate creep feed had increased feed intake during the first week after weaning (P < 0.05), but no effect of creep feed intake was observed on piglets growth or gut structure during the postweaning period (both P > 0.05). Piglets that were fed HL after weaning had higher ADG and BW from weaning to 16 wk after weaning (both P < 0.05) and had lower feed conversion ratio (FCR) from weaning to 6 wk after weaning (P < 0.05). Piglets fed HL after weaning also had higher villi height and greater crypt depth than LL piglets at 3 wk after weaning (both P < 0.05). Creep feed consumption during lactation increases feed intake early after weaning, suggesting an improved capacity of piglets to cope with weaning, but did not influence their growth performance. Offering piglets 6 kg of starter diet enhances piglets' growth performance during the growing and finishing phase, probably by improving gut structure after weaning. ItemEvidence of non-extractable florfenicol residues: The development and validation of a confirmatory method for total florfenicol content in kidney by UPLC-MS/MS(Taylor & Francis, 2016-05-20) Faulkner, Dermot V.; Cantley, Lynne M.; Walker, Matthew; Crooks, StevenThe parent compound florfenicol (FF) is a broad-spectrum antibacterial compound licensed in the UK for use in cattle, pigs and the aquaculture industry. The analysis of porcine tissues in this study demonstrates that significant amounts of solvent non-extractable FF-related residues are present in incurred tissues (kidney and muscle) from treated animals. The results indicate that methods based on solvent extraction alone may carry a significant risk of reporting false-negative results. The use of a strong acid hydrolysis step prior to solvent extraction of tissue samples is necessary for an accurate estimate of the total tissue FF content. A robust and sensitive method for the determination of total FF residue content in kidney samples by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) has been developed and validated. This method covers the synthetic amphenicol drug FF and its metabolites, measured as the marker residue florfenicol amine (FFA) as per Commission Regulation (EU) No. 37/2010. Non-extractable and intermediate metabolites are converted to the hydrolysis product FFA, and then partitioned into ethyl acetate. Extracts are solvent exchanged prior to a dispersive solid-phase extraction step, then analysed using an alkaline reverse-phase gradient separation by UPLC-MS/MS. The method was validated around the maximum residue levels (MRLs) set out in Regulation (EU) No. 37/2010 for bovine kidney in accordance with Commission Decision No. 2002/657/EC. The following method performance characteristics were assessed during a single laboratory validation study: selectivity, specificity, sensitivity, linearity, matrix effects, accuracy and precision (decision limit (CCα) and detection capability (CCβ) were determined). 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. ItemNematode neuropeptides as transgenic nematicides(Public Library of Science, 2017-02-27) Warnock, Neil D.; Wilson, Leonie; Patten, Cheryl; Fleming, Colin C.; Maule, Aaron G.; Dalzell, JohnathanPlant parasitic nematodes (PPNs) seriously threaten global food security. Conventionally an integrated approach to PPN management has relied heavily on carbamate, organophosphate and fumigant nematicides which are now being withdrawn over environmental health and safety concerns. This progressive withdrawal has left a significant shortcoming in our ability to manage these economically important parasites, and highlights the need for novel and robust control methods. Nematodes can assimilate exogenous peptides through retrograde transport along the chemosensory amphid neurons. Peptides can accumulate within cells of the central nerve ring and can elicit physiological effects when released to interact with receptors on adjoining cells. We have profiled bioactive neuropeptides from the neuropeptide-like protein (NLP) family of PPNs as novel nematicides, and have identified numerous discrete NLPs that negatively impact chemosensation, host invasion and stylet thrusting of the root knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita and the potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida. Transgenic secretion of these peptides from the rhizobacterium, Bacillus subtilis, and the terrestrial microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii reduce tomato infection levels by up to 90% when compared with controls. These data pave the way for the exploitation of nematode neuropeptides as a novel class of plant protective nematicide, using novel non-food transgenic delivery systems which could be deployed on farmer-preferred cultivars. ItemModelling-based identification of factors influencing campylobacters in chicken broiler houses and on carcasses sampled after processing and chilling(Wiley, 2017-03-04) Hutchison, M.L.; Taylor, M.J.; Tchorzewska, G.; Ford, G.; Madden, R.H.; Knowles, T.G.Aims: To identify production and processing practices that might reduceCampylobacter numbers contaminating chicken broiler carcasses.Methods and Results: The numbers of campylobacters were determined oncarcass neck skins after processing or in broiler house litter samples.Supplementary information that described farm layouts, farming conditions forindividual ﬂocks, the slaughterhouse layouts and operating conditions insideplants was collected, matched with each Campylobacter test result. Statisticalmodels predicting the numbers of campylobacters on neck skins and in litterwere constructed. Carcass microbial contamination was more stronglyinﬂuenced by on-farm production practices compared with slaughterhouseactivities. We observed correlations between the chilling, washing anddefeathering stages of processing and the numbers of campylobacters oncarcasses. There were factors on farm that also correlated with numbers ofcampylobacters in litter. These included bird gender, the exclusion of dogsfrom houses, beetle presence in the house litter and the materials used toconstruct the house frame.Conclusions: Changes in farming practices have greater potential for reducingchicken carcass microbial contamination compared with processinginterventions.Signiﬁcance and Impact of the Study: Routine commercial practices wereidentiﬁed that were correlated with lowered numbers of campylobacters.Consequently, these practices are likely to be both cost-effective and suitablefor adoption into established farms and commercial processing ItemFinishing pigs that are divergent in feed efficiency show small differences in intestinal functionality and structure(Public Library of Science, 2017-04-05) Metzler-Zebeli, Barbara U.; Lawlor, Peadar G.; Magowan, Elizabeth; McCormack, Ursula M.; Curiao, Tania; Hoffman, Manfred; Ertl, Reinhard; Aschenbach, Jorg R.; Zebeli, QendrimControversial information is available regarding the feed efficiency-related variation in intestinal size, structure and functionality in pigs. The present objective was therefore to investigate the differences in visceral organ size, intestinal morphology, mucosal enzyme activity, intestinal integrity and related gene expression in low and high RFI pigs which were reared at three different geographical locations (Austria, AT; Northern Ireland, NI; Republic of Ireland, ROI) using similar protocols. Pigs (n = 369) were ranked for their RFI between days 42 and 91 postweaning and low and high RFI pigs (n = 16 from AT, n = 24 from NI, and n = 60 from ROI) were selected. Pigs were sacrificed and sampled on ~day 110 of life. In general, RFI-related variation in intestinal size, structure and function was small. Some energy saving mechanisms and enhanced digestive and absorptive capacity were indicated in low versus high RFI pigs by shorter crypts, higher duodenal lactase and maltase activity and greater mucosal permeability (P < 0.05), but differences were mainly seen in pigs from AT and to a lesser degree in pigs from ROI. Additionally, low RFI pigs from AT had more goblet cells in duodenum but fewer in jejunum compared to high RFI pigs (P < 0.05). Together with the lower expression of TLR4 and TNFA in low versus high RFI pigs from AT and ROI (P < 0.05), these results might indicate differences in the innate immune response between low and high RFI pigs. Results demonstrated that the variation in the size of visceral organs and intestinal structure and functionality was greater between geographic location (local environmental factors) than between RFI ranks of pigs. In conclusion, present results support previous findings that the intestinal size, structure and functionality do not significantly contribute to variation in RFI of pigs. 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 ItemThe In Vitro and In Vivo Effect of Carvacrol in Preventing Campylobacter Infection, Colonization and in Improving Productivity of Chicken Broilers(Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 2017-06-01) Kelly, Carmel A.; Gundogdu, Ozan; Pircalabioru, Gratiela; Cean, Ada; Scates, Pamela J.; Linton, W. Mark R.; Pinkerton, Laurette; Magowan, Elizabeth; Staf, Lavinia; Simiz, Eliza; Pet, Ioan; Stewart, Sharon; Stabler, Richard; Wren, Brendan; Dorrell, Nick; Corcionivoschi, NicolaeThe current trend in reducing the antibiotic usage in animal production imposes urgency in the identification of novel biocides. The essential oil carvacrol, for example, changes the morphology of the cell and acts against a variety of targets within the bacterial membranes and cytoplasm, and our in vitro results show that it reduces adhesion and invasion of chicken intestinal primary cells and also biofilm formation. A trial was conducted to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation of carvacrol at four concentrations (0, 120, 200, and 300 mg/kg of diet) on the performance of Lactobacillus spp., Escherichia coli, Campylobacter spp., and broilers. Each of the four diets was fed to three replicates/trial of 50 chicks each from day 0 to 35. Our results show that carvacrol linearly decreased feed intake, feed conversion rates and increased body weight at all levels of supplementation. Plate count analysis showed that Campylobacter spp. was only detected at 35 days in the treatment groups compared with the control group where the colonization occurred at 21 days. The absence of Campylobacter spp. at 21 days in the treatment groups was associated with a significant increase in the relative abundance of Lactobacillus spp. Also, carvacrol was demonstrated to have a significant effect on E. coli numbers in the cecum of the treatment groups, at all supplementation levels. In conclusion, this study shows for the first time that at different concentrations, carvacrol can delay Campylobacter spp., colonization of chicken broilers, by inducing changes in gut microflora, and it demonstrates promise as an alternative to the use of antibiotics. 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. Item“Hot spots” of N and C impact nitric oxide, nitrous oxide and nitrogen gas emissions from a UK grassland soil(Elsevier, 2017-07-03) Loicka, Nadine; Dixon, Elizabeth; Abalos, Diego; Vallejo, Antonio; Matthews, Peter; McGeough, Karen; Watson, Catherine; Baggs, Elizabeth M.; Cardenas, Laura M.Agricultural soils are a major source of nitric- (NO) and nitrous oxide (N2O), which are produced and consumed by biotic and abiotic soil processes. The dominant sources of NO and N2O are microbial nitrification and denitrification, and emissions of NO and N2O generally increase after fertiliser application. The present study investigated the impact of N-source distribution on emissions of NO and N2O from soil and the significance of denitrification, rather than nitrification, as a source of NO emissions. To eliminate spatial variability and changing environmental factors which impact processes and results, the experiment was conducted under highly controlled conditions. A laboratory incubation system (DENIS) was used, allowing simultaneous measurement of three N-gases (NO, N2O, N2) emitted from a repacked soil core, which was combined with 15N-enrichment isotopic techniques to determine the source of N emissions. It was found that the areal distribution of N and C significantly affected the quantity and timing of gaseous emissions and 15N-analysis showed that N2O emissions resulted almost exclusively from the added amendments. Localised higher concentrations, so-called hot spots, resulted in a delay in N2O and N2 emissions causing a longer residence time of the applied N-source in the soil, therefore minimising NO emissions while at the same time being potentially advantageous for plant-uptake of nutrients. If such effects are also observed for a wider range of soils and conditions, then this will have major implications for fertiliser application protocols to minimise gaseous N emissions while maintaining fertilisation efficiency. ItemStrategies towards Improved Feed Efficiency in Pigs Comprise Molecular Shifts in Hepatic Lipid and Carbohydrate Metabolism(MDPI, 2017-08-01) Reyer, Henry; Oster, Michael; Magowan, Elizabeth; Dannenberger, Dirk; Ponsuksili, Siriluck; Wimmers, KlausDue to the central role of liver tissue in partitioning and metabolizing of nutrients, molecular liver-specific alterations are of considerable interest to characterize an efficient conversion and usage of feed in livestock. To deduce tissue-specific and systemic effects on nutrient metabolism and feed efficiency (FE) twenty-four animals with extreme phenotypes regarding residual feed intake (RFI) were analyzed. Transcriptome and fatty acid profiles of liver tissue were complemented with measurements on blood parameters and thyroid hormone levels. Based on 803 differentially-abundant probe sets between low- and high-FE animals, canonical pathways like integrin signaling and lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, were shown to be affected. Molecular alterations of lipid metabolism show a pattern of a reduced hepatic usage of fatty acids in high-FE animals. Complementary analyses at the systemic level exclusively pointed to increased circulating triglycerides which were, however, accompanied by considerably lower concentrations of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids in the liver of high-FE pigs. These results are in accordance with altered muscle-to-fat ratios usually ascribed to FE animals. It is concluded that strategies to improve FE might favor a metabolic shift from energy storage towards energy utilization and mobilization. ItemPlant and soil nutrient stoichiometry along primary ecological successions: Is there any link?(PLOS, 2017-08-07) Di Palo, Francesca; Fornara, DarioEcological stoichiometry suggests that plant Nitrogen (N)-to-Phosphorus (P) ratios respond to changes in both soil N:P stoichiometry and soil N and P availability. Thus we would expect that soil and plant N:P ratios be significantly related along natural gradients of soil development such as those associated with primary ecological successions. Here we explicitly search for linkages between plant and soil N:P stoichiometry along four primary successions distributed across Europe. We measured N and P content in soils and plant compartments (leaf, stem and root) of 72 wild plant species distributed along two sand dune and two glacier successions where soil age ranges from few to thousand years old. Overall we found that soil N:P ratios strongly increased along successional stages, however, plant N:P ratios were neither related to soil N:P stoichiometry nor to changes in soil N and P availability. Instead changes in plant nutrient stoichiometry were ªdrivenº by plant-functional-group identity. Not only N:P ratios differed between legumes, grasses and forbs but each of these plant functional groups maintained N:P ratios relatively constant across pioneer, middle and advanced successional stages. Our evidence is that soil nutrient stoichiometry may not be a good predictor of changes in plant N:P stoichiometry along natural primary ecological successions, which have not reached yet a retrogressive stage. This could be because wild-plants rely on mechanisms of internal nutrient regulation, which make them less dependent to changes in soil nutrient availability under unpredictable environmental conditions. Further studies need to clarify what underlying evolutionary and eco-physiological mechanisms determine changes in nutrient stoichiometry in plant species distributed across natural environmental gradients. ItemMarket impact of Foot-and-Mouth Disease control strategies: a UK case study(Frontiers Media, 2017-09-01) Feng, Siyi; Patton, Myles; Davis, JohnFoot-and-mouth disease (FMD) poses a serious threat to the agricultural sector due to its highly contagious nature. Outbreaks of FMD can lead to substantial disruptions to livestock markets due to loss of production and access to international markets. In a previously FMD-free country, the use of vaccination to augment control of an FMD outbreak is increasingly being recognized as an alternative control strategy to direct slaughtering [stamping-out (SO)]. The choice of control strategy has implications on production, trade, and hence prices of the sector. Specific choice of eradication strategies depends on their costs and benefits. Economic impact assessments are often based on benefit–cost framework, which provide detailed information on the changes in profit for a farm or budget implications for a government (1). However, this framework cannot capture price effects caused by changes in production due to culling of animals; access to international markets; and consumers’ reaction. These three impacts combine to affect equilibrium within commodity markets (2). This paper provides assessment of sectoral level impacts of the eradication choices of FMD outbreaks, which are typically not available from benefit–cost framework, in the context of the UK. The FAPRI-UK model, a partial equilibrium model of the agricultural sector, is utilized to investigate market outcomes of different control strategies (namely SO and vaccinate-to-die) in the case of FMD outbreaks. The outputs from the simulations of the EXODIS epidemiological model (number of animals culled/vaccinated and duration of outbreak) are used as inputs within the economic model to capture the overall price impact of the animal destruction, export ban, and consumers’ response. ItemAssessment of water-limited winter wheat yield potential at spatially contrasting sites in Ireland using a simple growth and development model(Teagasc, 2017-09-19) Lynch, J.P.; Fealy, R.; Doyle, D.; Black, Lisa C.; Spink, J.Although Irish winter wheat yields are among the highest globally, increases in the profitability of this crop are required to maintain its economic viability. However, in order to determine if efforts to further increase Irish wheat yields are likely to be successful, an accurate estimation of the yield potential is required for different regions within Ireland. A winter wheat yield potential model (WWYPM) was developed, which estimates the maximum water-limited yield achievable, within the confines of current genetic resources and technologies, using parameters for winter wheat growth and development observed recently in Ireland and a minor amount of daily meteorological input (maximum and minimum daily temperature, total daily rainfall and total daily incident radiation). The WWYPM is composed of three processes: (i) an estimation of potential green area index, (ii) an estimation of light interception and biomass accumulation and (iii) an estimation of biomass partitioning to grain yield. Model validation indicated that WWYPM estimations of water-limited yield potential (YPw) were significantly related to maximum yields recorded in variety evaluation trials as well as regional average and maximum farm yields, reflecting the model’s sensitivity to alterations in the climatic environment with spatial and seasonal variations. Simulations of YPw for long-term average weather data at 12 sites located at spatially contrasting regions of Ireland indicated that the typical YPw varied between 15.6 and 17.9 t/ha, with a mean of 16.7 t/ha at 15% moisture content. These results indicate that the majority of sites in Ireland have the potential to grow high-yielding crops of winter wheat when the effects of very high rainfall and other stresses such as disease incidence and nutrient deficits are not considered. ItemSeasonal hogget grazing as a potential alternative grazing system for the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau: weight gain and animal behaviour under continuous or rotational grazing at high or low stocking rates(CSIRO, 2017-09-20) Du, W. C.; Yan, Tianhai; Chang, S. H.; Wang, Z. F.; Hou, F. J.The traditional transhumance grazing system on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) is being replaced by a system in which pastoralists are allocated fixed areas for grazing. In this context, we conducted experiments to evaluate a possible change to seasonal grazing of young animals for weight gain, and the effects of grazing management (continuous grazing (CG) vs rotational grazing (RG)) and stocking rate (SR) on the performance and behaviour of Oura-type Tibetan sheep. In Experiment 1 (June–December 2014), 72 Tibetan sheep (initial bodyweight (BW) 32.2 3.37 kg) were allocated to one of three treatments: (1) CG24 – eight sheep grazed continuously in a single 2-ha plot for the entire duration of the experiment; (2) RG24 – eight sheep grazed in a 1-ha plot from June to September (growing season), and then moved to a new plot for September–December grazing (early cold season); (3) RG48 – eight sheep grazed in a 0.5-ha plot, but otherwise as for RG24. All treatments had three replicates. In Experiment 2 (September–December 2014), 48 Tibetan sheep (initial BW46.3 1.62 kg) were used to repeat theRG24andRG48treatments imposed in the early cold season of the Experiment 1. In both experiments, increasing SR significantly reduced bodyweight gain (BWG) per head and increased BWG per ha in the RG treatments. In Experiment 1, RG, compared with CG, did not significantly affect BWG per head, BWG per ha, or feed utilisation efficiency. In both experiments weight gain was small or negative in the early cold season. These results indicate that removal of sheep at the onset of the cold season will be important for retention of the weight gain achieved in the growing season but choice between aCGandRGgrazing system is unimportant for the production efficiency in the proposed grazing system of Tibetan sheep. 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. ItemEffects of grassland management on plant C:N:P stoichiometry: implications for soil element cycling and storage(Ecological Society of America, 2017-10-05) Heyburn, Jemma; McKenzie, Paul; Crawley, Michael J.; Fornara, DarioThe functioning of human-managed grassland ecosystems strongly depends on how common management practices (e.g., animal grazing and the chronic addition of fertilizing materials to soils) interact to influence plant and soil element stoichiometry. Here we use data from a 22-yr-long grassland experiment to address whether and how plant element stoichiometry (i.e., carbon [C], nitrogen [N], phosphorus [P] ratios) might respond to (1) animal grazing, (2) agricultural liming (i.e., CaCO3) applications, and (3) nutrient fertilization. We also ask whether plant C:N:P stoichiometry could predict changes in soil N and P availability and in soil C, N, and P stocks. We found that grassland management significantly affected plant C:N:P ratios as predicted by ecological stoichiometry theory. For example, plant aboveground and belowground C:N and C:P ratios decreased under chronic N and P fertilization, respectively. Plant C:N and C:P ratios were significantly greater in unfertilized (control) soils. Also plant C:N ratios were highest under P-only additions, whereas plant C:P ratios were highest under N-only additions. However, unpredictable changes in C:N:P ratios also occurred, suggesting that plant tissue chemistry may not be a simple reflection of soil nutrient availability. Changes in plant C:nutrient ratios well predicted variation in soil nutrient availability, but not in soil C, N, and P stocks. Contrary to expectations, soil C stocks significantly increased with decreasing plant C:N ratios in the nutrient-fertilized grasslands and not with increasing plant C:N ratios in the unfertilized grasslands. We suggest that a better mechanistic understanding of the negative relationship between plant C:N stoichiometry and soil C accrual will greatly help in improving the sustainability of human-managed grasslands. ItemThe Promise, Practice, and State of Planning Tools to Assess Site Vulnerability to Runoff Phosphorus Loss(Wiley, 2017-11-01) Kleinman, P.J.; Sharpley, A.N.; Buda, A.R.; Easton, Z.M.; Lory, J.A.; Osmond, D.L.; Radcliffe, D.E.; Nelson, N.O.; Veith, T.L.; Doody, DonnachaOver the past 20 yr, there has been a proliferation of phosphorus (P) site assessment tools for nutrient management planning, particularly in the United States. The 19 papers that make up this special section on P site assessment include decision support tools ranging from the P Index to fate-and-transport models to weather-forecast-based risk calculators. All require objective evaluation to ensure that they are effective in achieving intended benefits to protecting water quality. In the United States, efforts have been underway to compare, evaluate, and advance an array of P site assessment tools. Efforts to corroborate their performance using water quality monitoring data confirms previously documented discrepancies between different P site assessment tools but also highlights a surprisingly strong performance of many versions of the P Index as a predictor of water quality. At the same time, fate-and-transport models, often considered to be superior in their prediction of hydrology and water quality due to their complexity, reveal limitations when applied to site assessment. Indeed, one consistent theme from recent experience is the need to calibrate highly parameterized models. As P site assessment evolves, so too do routines representing important aspects of P cycling and transport. New classes of P site assessment tools are an opportunity to move P site assessment from general, strategic goals to web-based tools supporting daily, operational decisions ItemComparison of single radial immunodiffusion and ELISA for the quantification of immunoglobulin G in bovine colostrum, milk and calf sera(Taylor & Francis, 2017-11-02) Dunn, Amanda; Duffy, Catherine; Gordon, Alan; Morrison, Steven; Argűello, Anastasio; Welsh, Michael; Earley, BernadetteThe overall objective was to compare immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentrations measured by single radial immunodiffusion (sRID) and ELISA-based methods in samples of bovine colostrum and transition milk from contrasting breed types (Limousin × Friesian (n = 10) and Holstein (n = 10)). Jugular blood samples were collected at 48 h post-birth from beef (n = 10) and dairy (n = 10) calves and sera harvested subsequent to colostrum consumption. Absolute colostrum IgG values determined by ELISA showed poor agreement with mean (SD) IgG values measured using sRID, fixed bias (sRID – ELISA) was 31.89 (±9.84) mg/mL; having wide limits of agreement (12.61–51.17) and a low concordance coefficient (0.26). The agreement between ELISA and sRID when measuring serum IgG was greater than that of colostrum, fixed bias (sRID – ELISA) was 12.36 (±6.60) mg/mL; having narrower limits of agreement (−0.58 to 25.30) and serum IgG concentrations had a greater concordance coefficient (0.44) between samples. Calf sera IgG measured using the indirect zinc sulphate turbidity test showed a strong correlation with the sRID and ELISA methods (P < .001), R2 = 0.78 and R2 = 0.77 respectively. Overall, the ELISA and sRID methodologies had a strong positive association with almost a twofold (1.8) difference between values; therefore, they provide diverse absolute values of IgG concentration. 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.