Warwickshire, United Kingdom
Warwickshire, United Kingdom
Time filter
Source Type

Agency: GTR | Branch: BBSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 546.67K | Year: 2012

Ruminant animals, including cattle, sheep and goats, rely on microbial activity in their digestive tract to digest grass and other forages that they consume. A balanced, stable digestion (fermentation) is essential for good growth or milk production. Most livestock producers require productivity higher than that which can be sustained by forage feeding alone, and include some grain in the diet to increase production rates. Gut microbes produce acids more rapidly from the starch in grain than the cellulose in forages, leading to lower pH values prevailing in grain-fed animals. This has adverse effects on the microbes, which require near-neutral pH to perform optimally. This sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) is a major economic and health issue in ruminant livestock production. Animals suffering SARA are less productive, and they suffer from necrosis of the rumen wall, liver abscesses and laminitis. SARA is often difficult for the farmer to detect - it is sub-acute and can only be detected easily at slaughter. SARA is an under-researched condition, such that only a small number of papers have addressed the dietary and microbiological causes of SARA and its underlying pathology, particularly concerning the role of the large intestine. This project aims to understand why SARA is prevalent on some farms but not others, an observation that is common knowledge but not well documented. Farm management conditions and nutrition will be monitored in these farms, and the animals will be followed to slaughter, when the extent of pathological damage will be assessed. Samples of ruminal digesta and wall tissue will be taken for analysis and tissue necrosis, abscesses and laminitis will be scored. SARA also affects some animals but not others within a herd. Remote motion-sensing technology will be used to externally monitor movements, such as rumination activity, that may alert livestock producers to problematic animals. Post mortem analysis will also be carried out on these animals. The root cause of SARA lies in altered gut microbiology. Digesta samples will be taken forward to describe the microbes that are present in the rumen and intestine in susceptible and non-susceptible animals, with the idea that some microbial species may be particularly important in causing the disease while others may be protective. Candidate probiotic bacteria isolated from non-susceptible animals will be investigated with a view to developing them as feed additives. The role of soluble lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in the inflammation will be investigated. LPS is released when bacteria lyse - it is known as endotoxin in human medicine. Materials that may bind soluble LPS to prevent inflammation will also be investigated as potential feed additives. The overall aims are to explain the underlying mechanism of pathogenesis of SARA, to investigate if microbiome analysis can predict the severity of SARA, and to develop simple, non-invasive methods for monitoring animal behaviour relating to SARA and preventing the condition. Three academic partners, three complementary companies, Quality Meat Scotland and DairyCo are involved in the project. The industrial partners will ensure that relevance to the livestock industry is maintained throughout the project and that the pathway to impact will be short and rapid.

Huxley J.N.,University of Nottingham | Archer S.C.,University of Nottingham | Atkinson O.C.D.,Dairy Veterinary Consultancy Ltd | Bell N.J.,Lane College | And 11 more authors.
Cattle Practice | Year: 2014

Lameness in dairy cattle remains at unacceptably high levels. The claw horn lesions (sole haemorrhage/ sole ulceration and white line disease) are two of the most important causes of lameness in the UK. Prompt identification and early and effective treatment to reduce the period over which animals are lame is one of the corner stones of reducing prevalence on farm. This paper will review recent work conducted on the treatment of claw horn lesions in dairy cattle and identify challenges which must be overcome to ensure these important diseases are effectively managed on farm.

Agency: GTR | Branch: BBSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 896.23K | Year: 2014

The increasing frequency of extreme climate events in the UK suggests the approach of the Perfect Storm described by Beddington (2009). In 2012 an early season drought followed by extreme rainfall and flooding over extensive areas of the UK drove the need for the climate smart agriculture that will be used here to address the dual challenges of climate change and food security. Over an 80h period in November 2012, more than 46 x 106L of rain fell on the North Wyke Farm Platform (NWFP), 90% of which was immediately lost as overland flow or in drainage. Droughts also challenge the sustainability of UK grasslands and occur increasingly in winter where the warmer temperatures now encountered encourage continued winter growth placing drought susceptible varieties at risk. UK grasslands occupy 65% of all available agricultural land and unlike most other crops comprise perennial species that provide crop yields over many years. The combination of their extensive land-cover and persistency provides grasslands opportunities for environmental service in addition to their traditional roles as high quality forage for livestock agriculture. This is achieved through selection of the appropriate varieties and when necessary their modification, and improved grassland management, with benefits likely to persist over years. Grasslands provide catchments for many UK rivers and act as regulators of water capture, its release, and quality dependent on their composition. IBERS is widely recognised for innovative approaches to breeding grass and clover varieties. However, variety development has untill now neglected programmes to improve root design or the opportunities for improved root-soil interactions that will deliver improved soil structure, hydrology, nutrient use and reduce the compaction that compromises crop yields. A recent BBSRC study published in Nature Scientific Reports (involving the PI of this proposal) demonstrated the potential for a novel grass species hybrid to initiate significant root-soil interactions that would if reproduced at the field-scale generate significant benefits in terms of flood control (DOI:10.1038/srep01683). Equivalent results have been recorded in white clover. In the current project, the potential of both for flood control will be assessed at the field scale, independently and as mixtures. The project will use two new BBSRC-supported National Capabilities: the National Plant Phenomics Centre (NPPC) and the North Wyke Farm Platform (NWFP). The project will investigate at different scales from the individual plant genotype, to the plot, through to the crop the potential for environmental service that may be achieved through a modified root design or growth pattern. The results achieved from the NPCC and NWFP facilities will be validated by testing selected varieties on commercial farms in diverse locations and under alternative livestock management systems. The proposal will use the latest BBSRC high-throughput phenomic and genomic technologies, with a suite of well characterised and relevant experimental populations together with molecular markers to engage in marker-assisted breeding for improved root designs in elite forage grass and clover varieties. Plant materials suitable for entry into National List trials will be developed within the time-course of the project. This proposal is being submitted through the BBSRC stand-alone LINK scheme. The project will benefit from the involvement of industrial partners that represent the various sectors of the UK grassland and livestock industry allowing for identification and review of key targets, and evaluation of the impact of the research, dissemination of the results within the grassland sector, and uptake and delivery of project outcomes.

VanRaden P.M.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Null D.J.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Sargolzaei M.,University of Guelph | Wiggans G.R.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | And 9 more authors.
Journal of Dairy Science | Year: 2013

Genomic evaluations for 161,341 Holsteins were computed by using 311,725 of 777,962 markers on the Illumina BovineHD Genotyping BeadChip (HD). Initial edits with 1,741. HD genotypes from 5 breeds revealed that 636,967 markers were usable but that half were redundant. Holstein genotypes were from 1,510 animals with HD markers, 82,358 animals with 45,187 (50. K) markers, 1,797 animals with 8,031 (8. K) markers, 20,177 animals with 6,836 (6. K) markers, 52,270 animals with 2,683 (3. K) markers, and 3,229 nongenotyped dams (0. K) with >90% of haplotypes imputable because they had 4 or more genotyped progeny. The Holstein HD genotypes were from 1,142 US, Canadian, British, and Italian sires, 196 other sires, 138 cows in a US Department of Agriculture research herd (Beltsville, MD), and 34 other females. Percentages of correctly imputed genotypes were tested by applying the programs findhap and FImpute to a simulated chromosome for an earlier population that had only 1,112 animals with HD genotypes and none with 8. K genotypes. For each chip, 1% of the genotypes were missing and 0.02% were incorrect initially. After imputation of missing markers with findhap, percentages of genotypes correct were 99.9% from HD, 99.0% from 50. K, 94.6% from 6. K, 90.5% from 3. K, and 93.5% from 0. K. With FImpute, 99.96% were correct from HD, 99.3% from 50. K, 94.7% from 6. K, 91.1% from 3. K, and 95.1% from 0. K genotypes. Accuracy for the 3. K and 6. K genotypes further improved by approximately 2 percentage points if imputed first to 50. K and then to HD instead of imputing all genotypes directly to HD. Evaluations were tested by using imputed actual genotypes and August 2008 phenotypes to predict deregressed evaluations of US bulls proven after August 2008. For 28 traits tested, the estimated genomic reliability averaged 61.1% when using 311,725 markers vs. 60.7% when using 45,187 markers vs. 29.6% from the traditional parent average. Squared correlations with future data were slightly greater for 16 traits and slightly less for 12 with HD than with 50. K evaluations. The observed 0.4 percentage point average increase in reliability was less favorable than the 0.9 expected from simulation but was similar to actual gains from other HD studies. The largest HD and 50. K marker effects were often located at very similar positions. The single-breed evaluation tested here and previous single-breed or multibreed evaluations have not produced large gains. Increasing the number of HD genotypes used for imputation above 1,074 did not improve the reliability of Holstein genomic evaluations. © 2013 American Dairy Science Association.

Potterton S.L.,University of Nottingham | Bell N.J.,Lane College | Whay H.R.,University of Bristol | Berry E.A.,DairyCo | And 4 more authors.
Veterinary Journal | Year: 2012

The aim of this study was to collate and review the peer and non-peer reviewed English language literature on the treatment and prevention of foot lameness in cattle published since January 2000. The study aimed to identify deficits in knowledge and areas of disparity between what is recommended in the field by veterinarians, foot trimmers and advisors and what has been substantiated experimentally. Peer reviewed literature containing original work was gathered by searching three databases. Papers were categorised and reviewed if they contained material on treatment or prevention. Non-peer reviewed clinical materials were collated from a range of sources. The materials were reviewed and categorised based on whether they recommended a range of possible treatment and prevention strategies. The peer reviewed data base contained 591 papers, of which 286 contained information on treatment or prevention. The vast majority of papers (258) concerned prevention; only a small number covered treatment (31) and of these only three contained information on the treatment of sole ulcers or white line disease. The number of intervention studies and trials was low; most papers on prevention were observational. Generally, lesion specific outcomes were not described making the findings of these papers difficult to use clinically. The non-peer reviewed material contained 46 sources; they varied significantly in regard to the treatments they advocated with some texts directly contradicting each other. Some aspects of prevention recommended in these sources seemed poorly supported by findings from the research literature. Well designed intervention studies are required to address these deficits. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Pullar D.,DairyCo | Allen N.,EBLEX | Sloyan M.,BPEX
Nutrition Bulletin | Year: 2011

Meat and milk production generally gets a bad press when it comes to discussions around climate change and food production. However, with a rising population, a balance has to be found between the environmental cost of producing and the benefits in terms of food security. Consequently, sustainable production is the byword. The beef, sheep meat, pig meat and dairy industries all have specific challenges in work to reduce their environmental impact. This paper examines some of these challenges, the research which has been undertaken into their scale, routes being exploited to improve efficiency and what gains have already been achieved. It also looks at some of the mitigating factors of dairy and livestock production that help mitigate any environmental costs and ensure we are making the most efficient use of available land. © 2011 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2011 British Nutrition Foundation.

Green M.J.,University of Nottingham | Breen J.E.,University of Nottingham | Breen J.E.,Quality Milk Management Services Ltd | Hudson C.,University of Nottingham | And 4 more authors.
Cattle Practice | Year: 2012

To reduce levels of mastitis on British dairy farms, a mastitis control programme has been developed, tested in a clinical trial, and is being implemented on a nationwide scale. The scheme, the DairyCo Mastitis Control Plan, is discussed here on the basis of describing some of the challenges encountered; we describe reasons for starting a new scheme, the major challenges faced, and how the scheme is working. In the first 2 1/2 years of the scheme, about 250 vets/consultants have been trained, over 10% of British dairy cows have received the full plan, and we estimate about a further 10% have received a partial plan. Initial analysis suggests that, on average, a reduction of around 10% per annum is being achieved in clinical mastitis and somatic cell counts in fully participating farms. This article is based on a recent paper "National Mastitis Control Schemes: Experiences from Implementation of a Nationwide Scheme in Great Britain" presented at the "Udder Health and Communication" conference, Utrecht 2011.

Atkinson O.C.D.,Dairy Veterinary Consultancy Ltd. | Speed J.,DairyCo
Cattle Practice | Year: 2014

Mobility scoring cows has two broad functions: 1. A measure of lameness prevalence 2. A method of finding cows for treatment There is potentially a third function: a motivator for producers to reduce lameness. Practically, very few other options exist for both measuring lameness, or for early detection of new lame cows, yet mobility scoring is consistently undervalued by producers, and the practicalities of doing it well are considerable.This short communication (to accompany the workshop) explores some of the challenges vets and producers face implementing mobility scoring, and opportunities for incorporating mobility scoring into a vet practice service offering which can become an integral part of lameness management.

Patel S.,Lane College | Gibbons J.,DairyCo | Wathes D.C.,Lane College
Cattle Practice | Year: 2014

Ensuring adequate colostrum intake is a beneficial first step to rearing healthy calves. This article reviews best practice recommendations. Microorganisms multiply quickly, so colostrum must be collected hygienically and fed promptly (<1h) or stored using refrigeration, potassium sorbate as preservative, freezing and/or pasteurisation. All equipment must be scrupulously cleaned. A volume of 3-4L colostrum (approximately 10% body weight) should be fed within 2h and no later than 6h of birth. This should contain >50g/L immunoglobulin (Ig) with a bacterial count of <100, 000 colony forming units/ml. Adequate intake cannot be assumed when calves suckle their dam. Pooling of colostrum between cows reduces quality and increases the risk of disease transfer. Feeding with a nipple bottle promotes oesophageal groove closure but if calves fail to suck then colostrum should be administered via oesophageal tube. Calves not receiving adequate IgG (<10g/L of IgG or <50g/L total protein measured in blood) have a reduced ability to fight disease. Risk of death and disease are also increased by facilities which are unhygienic, cold stress and/or inadequate feed intake. Mortality rates and disease incidence should be documented to enable early detection of problems and assist their future prevention.

Loading DairyCo collaborators
Loading DairyCo collaborators