The AFBI Repository

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute Repository collects, preserves, and makes freely available research outputs and related documents created by AFBI researchers, including peer-reviewed articles and conference papers. Where material has already been published it is made available subject to the open-access policies of the original publishers. About AFBI



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An individual based model of female brown crab movements in the western English channel: modelling migration behaviour
(Cambridge University Press, 2023-10-25) Hart, Paul J.B.; Pearson, Emma; Hunter, Ewan; Fisheries and Aquatic Ecosystems
An individual based model (IBM) of the female brown crab Cancer pagurus population exploited off South Devon, UK is described. Size dependent movement rules are ascribed to individuals based on previous observations of predominantly westward migration down the English Channel. Two additional versions of the movement rules explored whether the empirically derived rule was necessary to model the temporal and spatial distribution of crabs. Local crab movement was dependent on substrate type and water depth. Females prefer a soft substrate in which they can bury when temperatures are low or they have eggs to incubate. Crabs have size dependent depth preferences with larger crabs preferring greater depths. Two recruitment functions are used which relate the number of incoming crabs to the sea surface temperature five years earlier. Model outputs were tested against 10 years of logbook data from three crab fishers and against data from a year-long sampling programme on eight of the vessels exploiting the area. The model reproduces the long-term pattern which is mostly temperature driven. Spatial variation in catch is captured effectively by the model with more crabs being caught in the east of the area than the west and more caught offshore than inshore. The significance of the results is discussed in relation to the crab life cycle, management of the fishery and the potential effects of increasing temperatures.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N1) virus infection in foxes with PB2-M535I identified as a novel mammalian adaptation, Northern Ireland, July 2023
(European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, 2023-10-19) Lagan, Paula; McKenna, Robyn; Baleed, Salam; Hanna, Robert E.B.; Barley, Jason; McConnell, Shirley; Georgaki, Anastasia; Sironen, Tarja; Kauppinen, Ari; Gadd, Tuija; Lindh, Erika; Ikonen, Niina; McMenamy, Michael J.; Lemon, Ken; Animal Health and Welfare
We report cases of mammalian infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus A(H5N1) clade in Northern Ireland. Two common gulls (Larus canus) and two red fox kits (Vulpes vulpes), were found dead in close vicinity. Comparison of viral whole genome sequences obtained from the animals identified a novel mammalian adaptation, PB2-M535I. Analysis of genetic sequences from other recent mammalian infections shows that this mutation has arisen on at least five occasions in three European countries since April 2023.
Short-Term Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Cattle Slurry for Silage Maize: Effects of Placement and the Nitrification Inhibitor 3,4-Dimethylpyrazole Phosphate (DMPP)
(MDPI, 2023-11-10) Taghizadeh-Toosi, Arezoo; Baral, Khagendra; Sørensen, Peter; Petersen, Søren O.; Environmental Protection
Cattle slurry is an important nitrogen source for maize on dairy farms. Slurry injection is an effective measure to reduce ammonia emissions after field application, but with higher risk of nitrous oxide emission than surface application. This study compared soil mineral nitrogen dynamics and nitrous oxide emissions with two ways of application. First, traditional injection at 25 cm spacing between rows followed by ploughing (called “non-placed slurry”), and second, injection using a new so-called goosefoot slurry injector that placed the slurry in ploughed soil as a 30 cm broad band at 10 cm depth below maize crop rows with 75 cm spacing (named “placed slurry”). Furthermore, the effect of treating slurry with the nitrification inhibitor 3,4-dimethylpyrazole phosphate (DMPP) in Vizura® was tested with both application methods. The field experiment was conducted on a sandy loam soil in a temperate climate. Both nitrous oxide emissions, and the dynamics of soil mineral nitrogen, were monitored for eight weeks after slurry application and seeding of maize using static chambers. The level of nitrous oxide emissions was higher with non-placed compared to placed slurry (p < 0.01), mainly due to higher emissions during the first four weeks. This might be due to higher rates of nitrification and in turn stimulation of denitrification. In both placed and non-placed slurry treatments, Vizura® caused higher soil ammonium concentrations and lower nitrate concentrations (p < 0.001), particularly from 3 to 8 weeks after slurry application. The final level of soil nitrate was similar with and without the nitrification inhibitor, but higher with placed compared to non-placed slurry. Adding Vizura® to non-placed slurry reduced nitrous oxide emissions by 70% when compared to untreated slurry. Surprisingly, there was a non-significant trend towards higher cumulative emissions from placed slurry with the nitrification inhibitor compared to untreated slurry, which was due to higher emissions in the last part of the monitoring period (5–7 weeks after slurry application). Possibly, degradation of the nitrification inhibitor and nitrification activity inside the slurry band as the soil dried promoted nitrous oxide emissions by this time. In summary, placement of untreated slurry in a broad band under maize seeds reduced nitrous oxide emissions compared to non-placed slurry with more soil contact. A comparable reduction was achieved by adding a nitrification inhibitor to non-placed slurry. The pattern of nitrous oxide emissions from placed slurry treated with the inhibitor was complex and requires more investigation. The emission of nitrous oxide was highest when nitrate accumulated in soil around decomposing cattle slurry, and mitigation strategies should aim to prevent this. This study demonstrated a potential for mitigation of nitrous oxide emission by placement of cattle slurry, which may be an alternative to the use of a nitrification inhibitor.
Quantifying nutrient and sediment erosion at riverbank cattle access points using fine-scale geo-spatial data
(Elsevier, 2023-10-14) Scott, Alison; Cassidy, Rachel; Arnscheidt, Joerg; Rogers, David; Jordan, Phil; Environmental Protection
Unrestricted cattle access to the riparian zone can exacerbate riverbank erosion in grazed grassland catchments. Knowledge gaps include the magnitude of erosion and other environmental pressures at cattle access points. This study aimed to address this by using two high resolution geo-spatial methods; 1) aerial photogrammetry and 2) terrestrial laser scanning to measure cumulative, seasonal, and annual erosion rates at nine unmitigated cattle access points in Northern Ireland. Total, fine sediment and total phosphorus exports were determined through bulk density and deep soil core sampling campaigns of exposed bank faces. Accumulated erosion was estimated using method 1) at 1.0 – 49.5 t and 0.51 – 16.64 kg for total sediment and total phosphorus, respectively. Using method 2) median annual export coefficients of 0.19 – 0.21 t m−1 and 0.065 – 0.087 kg m−1 (normalised to streambank length) were determined for total sediment and total phosphorus transfers respectively and these mostly occurred during the grazing season (median 84% for both sediment and total phosphorus). In terms of livestock pressures, these annual exports equate to 0.34 – 0.40 t LU-1 yr−1 and 0.103 – 0.111 kg LU-1 yr−1 for total sediment and total phosphorus, respectively (1.19–1.89 LU ha−1). The conventional measure of protective fencing is likely to prevent such transfers to rivers. Scaling a nationwide agri-environment scheme over six years which installed 2,493 km of riparian fencing (and assuming from this study that 1.9 % of all riparian field boundaries had cattle access impact), this measure potentially saved 9,047–9,999 t yr−1 and 3,095 – 4,143 kg yr−1 of total sediment and total phosphorus, respectively, from entering water courses.
Stocktake study of current fertilisation recommendations across Europe and discussion towards a more harmonised approach
(Wiley, 2023-10-23) Higgins, Suzanne; Keesstra, Saskia D.; Kadziuliene, Zydre; Jordan-Meille, Lionel; Wall, David; Trinchera, Alessandra; Spiegel, Heide; Sandén, Taru; Baumgarten, Andreas; Jensen, Johannes L.; Hirte, Juliane; Liebisch, Frank; Klages, Susanne; Löw, Philipp; Kuka, Katrin; De Boever, Maarten; D'Haene, Karoline; Madenoglu, Sevinc; Özcan, Hesna; Vervuurt, Wieke; de Haan, Janjo; van Geel, Willem; Stenberg, Bo; Denoroy, Pascal; Mihelic, Rok; Astover, Alar; Mano, Raquel; Sempiterno, Cristina; Calouro, Fatima; Valboa, Giuseppe; Aronsson, Helena; Krogstad, Tore; Torma, Stanislav; Gabriel, Jose; Laszlo, Peter; Borchard, Nils; Adamczyk, Bartosz; Jacobs, Anna; Jurga, Beata; Smreczak, Bożena; Huyghebaert, Bruno; Abras, Morgan; Kasparinskis, Raimonds; Mason, Eloise; Chenu, Claire; Grassland and Plant Science
The European Commission has set targets for a reduction in nutrient losses by at least 50% and a reduction in fertiliser use by at least 20% by 2030 while ensuring no deterioration in soil fertility. Within the mandate of the European Joint Programme EJP Soil ‘Towards climate-smart sustainable management of agricultural soils’, the objective of this study was to assess current fertilisation practices across Europe and discuss the potential for harmonisation of fertilisation methodologies as a strategy to reduce nutrient loss and overall fertiliser use. A stocktake study of current methods of delivering fertilisation advice took place across 23 European countries. The stocktake was in the form of a questionnaire, comprising 46 questions. Information was gathered on a large range of factors, including soil analysis methods, along with soil, crop and climatic factors taken into consideration within fertilisation calculations. The questionnaire was completed by experts, who are involved in compiling fertilisation recommendations within their country. Substantial differences exist in the content, format and delivery of fertilisation guidelines across Europe. The barriers, constraints and potential benefits of a harmonised approach to fertilisation across Europe are discussed. The general consensus from all participating countries was that harmonisation of fertilisation guidelines should be increased, but it was unclear in what format this could be achieved. Shared learning in the delivery and format of fertilisation guidelines and mechanisms to adhere to environmental legislation were viewed as being beneficial. However, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to harmonise all soil test data and fertilisation methodologies at EU level due to diverse soil types and agro-ecosystem influences. Nevertheless, increased future collaboration, especially between neighbouring countries within the same environmental zone, was seen as potentially very beneficial. This study is unique in providing current detail on fertilisation practices across European countries in a side-by-side comparison. The gathered data can provide a baseline for the development of scientifically based EU policy targets for nutrient loss and soil fertility evaluation.