Embrapa Southern Region Animal Husbandry

Bagé, Brazil

Embrapa Southern Region Animal Husbandry

Bagé, Brazil
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Bremm C.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Carvalho P.C.F.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Fonseca L.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Amaral G.A.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Invasion by exotic grasses is a severe threat to the integrity of grassland ecosystems all over the world. Because grasslands are typically grazed by livestock and wildlife, the invasion is a community process modulated by herbivory. We hypothesized that the invasion of native South American grasslands by Eragrostis plana Nees, an exotic tussock-forming grass from Africa, could be deterred by grazing if grazers switched dietary preferences and included the invasive grass as a large proportion of their diets. Bos taurus (heifers) and Ovis aries (ewes) grazed plots with varying degrees of invasion by E. plana in a replicated manipulative experiment. Animal positions and species grazed were observed every minute in 45- min grazing session. Proportion of bites and steps in and out of E. plana tussocks were measured and used to calculate several indices of selectivity. Both heifers and ewes exhibited increasing probability of grazing E. plana as the proportion of area covered by tussocks increased, but they behaved differently. In agreement with expectations based on the allometry of dietary preferences and morphology, ewes consumed a low proportion of E. plana, except in areas that had more than 90% E. plana cover. Heifers consumed proportionally more E. plana than ewes. Contrary to our hypothesis, herbivores did not exhibit dietary switching towards the invasive grass. Moreover, they exhibited avoidance of the invasive grass and preference for short-statured native species, both of which should tend to enhance invasion. Unless invasive plants are highly palatable to livestock, the effect of grazing to deter the invasion is limited, due to the inherent avoidance of the invasive grass by the main grazers in the ecosystem, particularly sheep. © 2016 Bremm et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permitsunrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Carvalho P.C.F.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Bremm C.,Agricultural and Livestock Research Foundation | Mezzalira J.C.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Fonseca L.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | And 6 more authors.
Animal Production Science | Year: 2015

Despite all the biotic and abiotic factors affecting foraging by ruminants, there is a common and fundamental process, which is bite gathering. We hypothesised that because the mechanics of bite formation dominate the foraging process, changes in short-term bite mass are reflected in longer-term animal performance across a wide range of sward conditions. We focus at the meal level of foraging, using experiments in which the effect of abiotic factors and digestive constrains are minimised, making intake rate the main currency. We estimated bite mass across a wide range of structural challenges to large-herbivore foraging in a long-term experiment with heterogeneous native grasslands. A conceptual model was developed for average daily gain, where energy gain and energy costs were proximate causal variables. Energy gain was a function of diet quality and components of daily intake rate, where bite mass was the main component estimated. In turn, components of intake rate were determined by sward structure and bodyweight. Energy costs were a function of bodyweight and abiotic conditions. Finally, sward structure, bodyweight and abiotic conditions were determined by experimental treatments, seasons and years. Then, the conceptual model was translated into statistical models that included variables measured or estimated, and coefficients representing all links in the conceptual model. Weight gain was a function of bite mass, forage characteristics, and animal and abiotic conditions. Models were set up to test whether forage and stocking conditions affected monthly gain beyond the effects through bite mass, after correcting for abiotic factors. Forage mass, height and disappearance did help predict monthly gain after bite mass was included in the model, which supported our hypothesis. However, stocking treatments and season had significant effects not incorporated in bite mass. Although the model explained 77.9% of liveweight gain variation, only 35.2% was due to fixed effects, with 10.8% accounted by bite mass and its interactions. Concomitant experiments showed that sward structure (first with sward height and the second with tussock cover) does determine bite mass and short-term intake rate in the complex native grasslands we studied. Yet, other temporal varying components of monthly gain not correlated with bite mass, temperature or wind, added most of the observed variation in monthly animal performance. Part of the model failure to account for variation in performance may be related to a significant and temporally variable grazing of tussocks. We used a bite mass model that assumed no tussock grazing. In light of these results and a parallel experiment, we conclude that tussock grazing must be incorporated in future versions of the model. © CSIRO 2015.


Mokry F.B.,Federal University of São Carlos | Higa R.H.,Embrapa Agricultural Informatics | de Alvarenga Mudadu M.,Embrapa Southeast Livestock | Oliveira de Lima A.,Federal University of São Carlos | And 9 more authors.
BMC Genetics | Year: 2013

Background: Meat quality involves many traits, such as marbling, tenderness, juiciness, and backfat thickness, all of which require attention from livestock producers. Backfat thickness improvement by means of traditional selection techniques in Canchim beef cattle has been challenging due to its low heritability, and it is measured late in an animal's life. Therefore, the implementation of new methodologies for identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) linked to backfat thickness are an important strategy for genetic improvement of carcass and meat quality.Results: The set of SNPs identified by the random forest approach explained as much as 50% of the deregressed estimated breeding value (dEBV) variance associated with backfat thickness, and a small set of 5 SNPs were able to explain 34% of the dEBV for backfat thickness. Several quantitative trait loci (QTL) for fat-related traits were found in the surrounding areas of the SNPs, as well as many genes with roles in lipid metabolism.Conclusions: These results provided a better understanding of the backfat deposition and regulation pathways, and can be considered a starting point for future implementation of a genomic selection program for backfat thickness in Canchim beef cattle. © 2013 Mokry et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Rodrigues P.F.,Federal University of Pelotas | Menezes L.M.,Federal University of Pelotas | Menezes L.M.,Grande Rio University | Azambuja R.C.C.,Federal University of Pelotas | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2014

This study assessed milk yield and composition of Angus and Angus-cross beef cows raised in southern Brazil. A total of 128 records were collected in 2 consecutive calving seasons from cows between 3 and 5 yr of age of 4 breed compositions: Angus (ANAN), Caracu × Angus (CRAN), Hereford × Angus (HHAN), and Nelore × Angus (NEAN). These cows were mated to Brangus (BN) or Braford (BO) bulls and managed under extensive grazing conditions in southern Brazil. Milk production of these cows was assessed by 2 procedures: indirectly by the calf weigh-suckle-weigh procedure (WD) and directly by machine milking (MM). Lactation curves were estimated using nonlinear regression and the following related traits were derived: peak yield (PY), peak week (PW), total yield at 210 d (TY210), and lactation persistence (PERS). Milk composition and calf weaning weight adjusted to 210 d (WW210) were also determined. The MM technique was considered more accurate because of lower standard errors of estimated means, greater statistical power, and greater correlation between TY210 and WW210 (0.50) compared to WD (0.36). Considering the more precise evaluation by MM, the CRAN and NEAN cows had greater TY210 (1070 and 1116 kg, respectively) and PY (8.1 and 7.8 kg, respectively) compared to ANAN and HHAN cows, which had 858 and 842 kg for TY210 and 6.6 and 6.3 kg for P Y, respectively. The NEAN cows had the latest PW at 10.8 wk. Late-calving cows had 21% lower TY210 compared to cows that calved earlier. Milk composition was influenced by cow genotype, with CRAN and NEAN cows producing milk with greater fat (3.8 and 3.9%, respectively) and protein (3.2 and 3.1%, respectively) content compared to ANAN and HHAN cows. Regardless of the genotype, fat, protein, and total solids increased in concentration from beginning to end of lactation, while lactose content decreased. Crossbreeding of Angus with adapted breeds of taurine or indicine origin can be effective in increasing milk yield and nutrient content and, consequently, producing heavier calves at weaning under extensive grazing in southern Brazil and other similar subtropical climate regions. © 2014 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.


Gaspar E.B.,Embrapa Southern Region Animal Husbandry | Gaspar E.B.,University of Sao Paulo | Rosetti A.S.,University of Sao Paulo | Lincopan N.,University of Sao Paulo | De Gaspari E.,Adolfo Lutz Institute
Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics | Year: 2013

Colonization of the nasopharynx by non-pathogenic Neisseria species, including N. lactamica, has been suggested to lead to the acquisition of natural immunity against Neisseria meningitidis in young children. The aim of this study was to identify a model complex of antigens and adjuvant for immunological preparation against N. meningitidis B, based on cross reactivity with N. lactamica outer membrane vesicles (OMV) antigens and the (DDA-BF) adjuvant. Complexes of 25 μg of OMV in 0.1 mM of DDA-BF were colloidally stable, exhibiting a mean diameter and charge optimal for antigen presentation. Immunogenicity tests for these complexes were performed in mice. A single dose of OMV/DDA-BF was sufficient to induce a (DTH) response, while the same result was achieved only after two doses of OMV/alum. In addition, to achieve total IgG levels that are similar to a single immunization with OMV/DDA-BF, it was necessary to give the mice a second dose of OMV/alum. Moreover, the antibodies induced from a single immunization with OMV/DDA-BF had an intermediate avidity, but antibodies with a similar avidity were only induced by OMV/alum after two immunizations. The use of this novel cationic adjuvant for the first time with a N. lactamica OMV preparation revealed good potential for future vaccine design. © 2013 Landes Bioscience.


Shiotsuki L.,Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation Goat and Sheep | Cardoso F.F.,Embrapa Southern Region Animal Husbandry | Cardoso F.F.,São Paulo State University | Silva J.A.I.I.V.,São Paulo State University | And 2 more authors.
Livestock Science | Year: 2012

The objective of this work was to compare a model based on the use of an average numerator relationship matrix (ANRM) and a hierarchical animal model (HIER) to indicate the most appropriate statistical procedure to better estimate the genetic value of Nellore animals that have unknown paternity. The data set contained records of 62,212 Nellore animals. The pedigree file contained a total of 75,088 animals. Two approaches were adopted for the treatment of uncertain paternity. In the model based on the use of the ANRM probabilities were attributed to each of the possible parents of the animals with uncertain paternity. The other method adopted in the present study, i.e., the HIER, considers uncertainty in the assignment of paternity of animals participating in the multiple-sire (MS) system. Within this context, a priori probabilities are assigned to each possible sire of animals with uncertain paternity, which are altered according to information present in the data for the generation of posterior probabilities. Univariate analyses were carried out under Bayesian approach via Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods, implementing a chain of 400,000 rounds where the first 10,000 rounds were discarded (burn-in period). Models were compared by deviance information criteria (DIC) and pseudo Bayes factors (PBF). The model that best fits the data for estimating genetic parameter of animals with uncertain paternity is the Bayesian hierarchical model. Nevertheless, for genetic evaluation, the choice between these models would have no impact on genetic value classification of animals for selection. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Cardoso F.F.,Embrapa Southern Region Animal Husbandry | Tempelman R.J.,Michigan State University
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2012

The objectives of this work were to assess alternative linear reaction norm (RN) models for genetic evaluation of Angus cattle in Brazil. That is, we investigated the interaction between genotypes and continuous descriptors of the environmental variation to examine evidence of genotype by environment interaction (G×E) in post-weaning BW gain (PWG) and to compare the environmental sensitivity of national and imported Angus sires. Data were collected by the Brazilian Angus Improvement Program from 1974 to 2005 and consisted of 63,098 records and a pedigree file with 95,896 animals. Six models were implemented using Bayesian inference and compared using the Deviance Information Criterion (DIC). The simplest model was M1, a traditional animal model, which showed the largest DIC and hence the poorest fit when compared with the 4 alternative RN specifications accounting for G×E. In M2, a 2-step procedure was implemented using the contemporary group posterior means of M1 as the environmental gradient, ranging from -92.6 to +265.5 kg. Moreover, the benefits of jointly estimating all parameters in a 1-step approach were demonstrated by M3. Additionally, we extended M3 to allow for residual heteroskedasticity using an exponential function (M4) and the best fitting (smallest DIC) environmental classification model (M5) specification. Finally, M6 added just heteroskedastic residual variance to M1. Heritabilities were less at harsh environments and increased with the improvement of production conditions for all RN models. Rank correlations among genetic merit predictions obtained by M1 and by the best fitting RN models M3 (homoskedastic) and M5 (heteroskedastic) at different environmental levels ranged from 0.79 and 0.81, suggesting biological importance of G×E in Brazilian Angus PWG. These results suggest that selection progress could be optimized by adopting environment-specific genetic merit predictions. The PWG environmental sensitivity of imported North American origin bulls (0.046 ± 0.009) was significantly larger (P < 0.05) than that of local sires (0.012 ± 0.013). Moreover, PWG of progeny of imported sires exceeded that of native sires in medium and superior production levels. On the other hand, Angus cattle locally selected in Brazil tended to be more robust to environmental changes and hence be more suitable when production environments for potential progeny is uncertain. © 2012 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.


PubMed | Embrapa Southern Region Animal Husbandry
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of animal science | Year: 2012

The objectives of this work were to assess alternative linear reaction norm (RN) models for genetic evaluation of Angus cattle in Brazil. That is, we investigated the interaction between genotypes and continuous descriptors of the environmental variation to examine evidence of genotype by environment interaction (GE) in post-weaning BW gain (PWG) and to compare the environmental sensitivity of national and imported Angus sires. Data were collected by the Brazilian Angus Improvement Program from 1974 to 2005 and consisted of 63,098 records and a pedigree file with 95,896 animals. Six models were implemented using Bayesian inference and compared using the Deviance Information Criterion (DIC). The simplest model was M(1), a traditional animal model, which showed the largest DIC and hence the poorest fit when compared with the 4 alternative RN specifications accounting for GE. In M(2), a 2-step procedure was implemented using the contemporary group posterior means of M(1) as the environmental gradient, ranging from -92.6 to +265.5 kg. Moreover, the benefits of jointly estimating all parameters in a 1-step approach were demonstrated by M(3). Additionally, we extended M(3) to allow for residual heteroskedasticity using an exponential function (M(4)) and the best fitting (smallest DIC) environmental classification model (M(5)) specification. Finally, M(6) added just heteroskedastic residual variance to M(1). Heritabilities were less at harsh environments and increased with the improvement of production conditions for all RN models. Rank correlations among genetic merit predictions obtained by M(1) and by the best fitting RN models M(3) (homoskedastic) and M(5) (heteroskedastic) at different environmental levels ranged from 0.79 and 0.81, suggesting biological importance of GE in Brazilian Angus PWG. These results suggest that selection progress could be optimized by adopting environment-specific genetic merit predictions. The PWG environmental sensitivity of imported North American origin bulls (0.046 0.009) was significantly larger (P < 0.05) than that of local sires (0.012 0.013). Moreover, PWG of progeny of imported sires exceeded that of native sires in medium and superior production levels. On the other hand, Angus cattle locally selected in Brazil tended to be more robust to environmental changes and hence be more suitable when production environments for potential progeny is uncertain.


PubMed | Federal University of Pelotas and Embrapa Southern Region Animal Husbandry
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of animal science | Year: 2014

This study assessed milk yield and composition of Angus and Angus-cross beef cows raised in southern Brazil. A total of 128 records were collected in 2 consecutive calving seasons from cows between 3 and 5 yr of age of 4 breed compositions: Angus (ANAN), Caracu Angus (CRAN), Hereford Angus (HHAN), and Nelore Angus (NEAN). These cows were mated to Brangus (BN) or Braford (BO) bulls and managed under extensive grazing conditions in southern Brazil. Milk production of these cows was assessed by 2 procedures: indirectly by the calf weigh-suckle-weigh procedure (WD) and directly by machine milking (MM). Lactation curves were estimated using nonlinear regression and the following related traits were derived: peak yield (PY), peak week (PW), total yield at 210 d (TY210), and lactation persistence (PERS). Milk composition and calf weaning weight adjusted to 210 d (WW210) were also determined. The MM technique was considered more accurate because of lower standard errors of estimated means, greater statistical power, and greater correlation between TY210 and WW210 (0.50) compared to WD (0.36). Considering the more precise evaluation by MM, the CRAN and NEAN cows had greater TY210 (1070 and 1116 kg, respectively) and PY (8.1 and 7.8 kg, respectively) compared to ANAN and HHAN cows, which had 858 and 842 kg for TY210 and 6.6 and 6.3 kg for PY, respectively. The NEAN cows had the latest PW at 10.8 wk. Late-calving cows had 21% lower TY210 compared to cows that calved earlier. Milk composition was influenced by cow genotype, with CRAN and NEAN cows producing milk with greater fat (3.8 and 3.9%, respectively) and protein (3.2 and 3.1%, respectively) content compared to ANAN and HHAN cows. Regardless of the genotype, fat, protein, and total solids increased in concentration from beginning to end of lactation, while lactose content decreased. Crossbreeding of Angus with adapted breeds of taurine or indicine origin can be effective in increasing milk yield and nutrient content and, consequently, producing heavier calves at weaning under extensive grazing in southern Brazil and other similar subtropical climate regions.


PubMed | Federal University of Pelotas and Embrapa Southern Region Animal Husbandry
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Veterinary parasitology | Year: 2015

This study aimed to verify the influence of bovine genetic resistance on biological traits of the Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus tick. Genetic resistance or susceptibility was determined according to breeding values for tick counts, predicted using a dataset of 9007 Hereford and Braford (HerefordZebu) bovines naturally infested and raised under extensive production systems in southern Brazil. From a total of 974 Braford heifers born in 2008, 20 were classified as genetically tick-resistant and 20 classified as genetically tick-susceptible, and used to obtain the ticks samples used in this study. The 40 heifers were exposed to four subsequent artificial infestations with approximately 20,000 larvae at 14-day intervals. From the 19th to 23rd day of each infestation tick counts were performed on the left body side of the heifers. Engorged ticks were manually collected on the day of highest observed burden after each infestation. Tick counts on susceptible heifers were 5.5, 10.5, 11.1 and 6.9 times larger than on resistant heifers, respectively, after the first, second, third and fourth artificial infestations. In the third infestation, ticks from resistant heifers showed lower egg production index (P<0.0001) than ticks from susceptible heifers. In the fourth infestation, ticks from susceptible group showed higher egg mass weight (P<0.05) and nutrient index (P<0.0001) than ticks from resistant heifers. Tick initial weights showed a positive association with egg production index in susceptible heifers (P<0.05) and a negative association in the resistant group (P<0.05), suggesting a host defense mechanism that reduces the conversion efficiency of ingested blood to eggs in engorged ticks from resistant cattle. This shows that bovine genetic tick resistance, in addition to affecting the number of ticks carried by the animals, also affected the egg mass weight, egg production and nutrient indexes of ticks. The results of the present study imply that the selection of resistant animals could be used as a strategic tool for tick control in production systems, reducing infestation levels on cattle and environment.

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