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Tjelele T.J.,Agricultural Research Council Animal Production Institute | Tjelele T.J.,University of KwaZulu - Natal | Ward D.,University of KwaZulu - Natal | Dziba L.E.,South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Rangeland Journal | Year: 2015

Seed pods of Dichrostachys cinerea and Acacia nilotica have higher nutritive value than grasses and other browse plants during the dry season and form an important part of the diet of livestock. Seeds of Acacia may be destroyed during passage through the digestive tract of herbivores whereas seeds of other browse species can remain viable even after mechanical (chewing) and chemical (digestive) scarification. The seedling emergence, seedling establishment and recruitment of D. cinerea and A. nilotica seeds, dispersed by cattle and goats, were measured under natural conditions in the wet and dry seasons following sowing in the dry season. Seeds retrieved from goats and cattle, during the first 3 days and the last 4 days of the recovery period, and control seeds were subjected to the following planting methods: (1) seeds placed on top of the soil with no dung, (2) seeds buried to a depth of 2cm in the soil with no dung, and (3) seeds buried to a depth of 2cm in the soil with dung, in the wet and dry seasons. Significantly more A. nilotica and D. cinerea seeds were retrieved from cattle (40.0±3.6% and 25.7±3.9%, respectively), than goats (11.7±3.1% and 13.2±3.8%, respectively). There were significant interactions among animal species, seed-recovery day, planting and season for percentage seedling recruitment. Seedlings from seeds retrieved from goats (12.0±0.06%) had a significantly higher recruitment rate than from seeds retrieved from cattle (7.6±0.05%) and control seeds (i.e. no passage through the gut) (4.1±0.02%). Seedling recruitment rate was higher from seeds recovered from animals in the last 4 days of the recovery period and from D. cinerea than A. nilotica. The planting method of seeds buried to a depth of 2cm in the soil with no dung had the highest seedling recruitment rate. We conclude that both goats and cattle may facilitate woody plant encroachment by enhancing seedling emergence. © Australian Rangeland Society 2015.

Sutherland W.J.,University of Cambridge | Peel M.J.S.,Agricultural Research Council Animal Production Institute
ORYX | Year: 2011

Benchmarking, the comparison of efficiency measures of an organization against those of other organizations, is widely used in industry, medical practice and agriculture as a means of learning where practice can be improved. This could be used by conservationists for routine repeatable activities, such as the treatment of invasive species or the survival rate of transplanted plants. We give three examples of the benefits of cross-site comparisons: grazing management in South Africa, husbandry of captive penguins and management of lagoons for wading birds. Benchmarking, by comparing effectiveness with others, is the initial stage in identifying weaknesses and leads on to learning how to improve through cross-site comparisons, comparisons with better performers or examination of the published literature. We suggest that the term best practice, which is often used as part of benchmarking, is unsuitable as it implies a comparison of all options, which rarely takes place, and it is subject to change as knowledge and techniques develop. An alternative term is current effective practice. © 2010 Fauna & Flora International.

Kanengoni A.T.,Agricultural Research Council Animal Production Institute | Kanengoni A.T.,Stellenbosch University | Chimonyo M.,University of KwaZulu - Natal | Erlwanger K.H.,University of Witwatersrand | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2014

A study was taken to evaluate growth performance, carcass characteristics, and blood metabolite concentrations when ensiled corncobs were included in indigenous and commercial pig diets. Fifty Large White × Landrace (LW×LR) crossbred pigs and 30 South African Windsnyer-type indigenous pigs (SAWIP) were evaluated. They were fed a control (CON), a low inclusion of ensiled corncob (LMC), and a high inclusion of ensiled corncob (HMC) diet in a completely randomized block design. The LW×LR crosses had greater (P < 0.05) final weight, ADFI, DMI, ADG, and G:F ratios than the SAWIP at both the grower and finisher stages. The SAWIP consumed more feed per metabolic BW (BW0.75) than LW×LR crosses at the grower stage while LW×LR crosses consumed more than SAWIP at the finisher stage (P < 0.05). The finishers’ G:F ratio was greater (P < 0.05) in the CON than in the HMC diet. The LW×LR growers and finishers had greater (P < 0.05) warm carcass weight (WCW), cold carcass weight (CCW), carcass length, drip loss, pH at 24 h, eye muscle area, and lean percent than those of SAWIP growers and finishers. The LW×LR finishers on the CON diet had greater (P < 0.05) WCW and CCW than those on the HMC and LMC diets. There were diet × breed interactions for dorsal fat thickness at first rib (DFT1), dorsal fat thickness at last lumbar vertebra (DFT3), backfat thickness (BFT), and hindquarter weight proportion (HQWP) in the growers. The LW×LR growers and finishers had greater values (P < 0.05) of hindquarter length, hindquarter circumference, HQWP, and shoulder weight proportion than the SAWIP growers and finishers, respectively. The SAWIP growers and finishers had greater values (P < 0.05) of DFT1, dorsal fat thickness at last rib, DFT3, and BFT than the LW×LR growers and finishers, respectively. There were breed × diet interactions (P < 0.05) for alanine aminotransferase and amylase (AMYL). The LW×LR crosses had greater (P < 0.05) values of creatinine, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, cholesterol, and AMYL than the SAWIP. The breed of pig influenced most of the growth performance and carcass parameters more than the diet did. There was no clear link between the blood metabolite levels and the diets. Since the inclusion of ensiled corncobs in diets did not affect negatively the selected important commercial pork cuts in South Africa, this could imply that they have a greater role as a pig feed resource. © 2014 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.

Makina S.O.,University of Pretoria | Muchadeyi F.C.,Agricultural Research Council Biotechnology Platform | Marle-Koster E.,University of Pretoria | Taylor J.F.,University of Missouri | And 2 more authors.
Genetics Selection Evolution | Year: 2015

Background: The detection of selection signatures in breeds of livestock species can contribute to the identification of regions of the genome that are, or have been, functionally important and, as a consequence, have been targeted by selection. Methods: This study used two approaches to detect signatures of selection within and between six cattle breeds in South Africa, including Afrikaner (n = 44), Nguni (n = 54), Drakensberger (n = 47), Bonsmara (n = 44), Angus (n = 31) and Holstein (n = 29). The first approach was based on the detection of genomic regions in which haplotypes have been driven towards complete fixation within breeds. The second approach identified regions of the genome that had very different allele frequencies between populations (F ST). Results and discussion: Forty-seven candidate genomic regions were identified as harbouring putative signatures of selection using both methods. Twelve of these candidate selected regions were shared among the breeds and ten were validated by previous studies. Thirty-three of these regions were successfully annotated and candidate genes were identified. Among these genes the keratin genes (KRT222, KRT24, KRT25, KRT26, and KRT27) and one heat shock protein gene (HSPB9) on chromosome 19 between 42,896,570 and 42,897,840 bp were detected for the Nguni breed. These genes were previously associated with adaptation to tropical environments in Zebu cattle. In addition, a number of candidate genes associated with the nervous system (WNT5B, FMOD, PRELP, and ATP2B), immune response (CYM, CDC6, and CDK10), production (MTPN, IGFBP4, TGFB1, and AJAP1) and reproductive performance (ADIPOR2, OVOS2, and RBBP8) were also detected as being under selection. Conclusions: The results presented here provide a foundation for detecting mutations that underlie genetic variation of traits that have economic importance for cattle breeds in South Africa. © 2015 Makina et al.

van Marle-Koster E.,University of Pretoria | Visser C.,University of Pretoria | Makgahlela M.,Agricultural Research Council Animal Production Institute | Cloete S.W.P.,Stellenbosch University
Food Research International | Year: 2015

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region includes 15 member states which all face growing population numbers and a possible protein shortage within the next 20. years. Although these countries have a wealth of livestock genetic resources and mostly are quite agriculturally dependent, there exist clear limitations and challenges regarding animal recording, genetic improvement, production efficiency and the implementation of new technologies, such as genomic selection (GS). Genomic selection incorporates genomic information with phenotypic information (breeding values) to derive genomic estimated breeding values (GEBVs) and leads to an increased rate of genetic improvement. The countries within the SADC region are in several stages of development with regard to agriculture and infrastructural development and this limits the implementation of advanced technologies. The establishing of reference populations seems beyond the capacity of most of these countries at present, mainly in terms of financial viability, infrastructural support and national cohesion. Genomic technology however holds potential for the introgression of favourable genes in resource-poor livestock production systems and traceability of livestock products. Furthermore, identification of traits associated with adaptability and disease resistance and unique products would contribute to food security on various levels. This review discusses interventions that may mitigate constraints, and proposes key research areas needed for addressing the limitations mentioned. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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