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Newton A.C.,Scottish Crop Research Institute | Gravouil C.,Scottish Crop Research Institute | Fountaine J.M.,SAC
Annals of Applied Biology | Year: 2010

The phyllosphere is a rich and varied microbial community comprising organisms with diverse functional types. Its composition is strongly influenced by both genotypic and environmental factors, many of which can be manipulated by breeding, agronomy and crop protection strategies in an agricultural context. These factors also affect the complex interactions between the microbes, which in turn affect their interaction with their host plant. Whether or not an organism becomes pathogenic and the subsequent expression of disease are also influenced by all these factors. Understanding the population dynamic balance between the organisms of the phyllosphere as an ecological system should lead to new approaches in agronomy, crop protection and breeding that enhance sustainability, where the previously presumed requirement to eliminate putative pathogens is replaced by management that favours dominance of beneficial organisms and contains putative pathogens in asymptomatic or stable states. © 2010 Association of Applied Biologists. Source

Umstatter C.,SAC
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture | Year: 2011

A virtual fence can be defined as a structure serving as an enclosure, a barrier, or a boundary without a physical barrier. The concept of virtual fencing occurs increasingly in discussions wherever free-ranging livestock is managed. It is especially interesting because of its potential to initially enhance ecological management, improve management by turning manual labour into cognitive labour as well as improve the life-style of livestock managers. All of these have the potential to reduce costs. Moreover, it opens up the possibility of managing areas that are not manageable at the moment. Therefore, a patent and literature search was conducted to investigate what virtual fencing involves, what opportunities there are for implementing it and what issues still need to be tackled. It was found that there are many different approaches in the development of virtual fencing, which can be split into three categories: first, to contain animals in a defined area or keep them out of a defined area using devices that are animal-borne; second, to contain animals without mounting a device onto the animal; and third, keeping animals apart with a moving fence line or using a virtual fence as a remote gathering device. The first two categories deal with static control of livestock, whereas the third category could be described as a control within moving boundaries. However, despite many patents having been found, only very few products are available on the market. Two important development areas are the energy use of the device and provision of a system that animals can easily understand, in order to assure welfare standards. The paper critically analyses the wide range of developments to date and points out the advantages and challenges virtual fencing offers. It also provides an indication of how far we are from a marketable product. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. Source

Cottle D.J.,SAC | Cottle D.J.,University of New England of Australia | Coffey M.P.,SAC
Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics | Year: 2013

The objective of this study was to assess the impact of using different relative economic values (REVs) in selection indices on predicted financial and trait gains from selection of sires of cows and on the choice of leading Holstein bulls available in the UK dairy industry. Breeding objective traits were milk yield, fat yield, protein yield, lifespan, mastitis, non-return rate, calving interval and lameness. Relative importance of a trait, as estimated by a.h2, was only moderately related to the rate of financial loss or total economic merit (ΔTEM) per percentage under- or overestimation of REV (r=0.38 and 0.29, respectively) as a result of the variance-covariance structure of traits. The effects on TEM of under- or overestimating trait REVs were non-symmetrical. TEM was most sensitive to incorrect REVs for protein, fat, milk and lifespan and least sensitive to incorrect calving interval, lameness, non-return and mastitis REVs. A guide to deciding which dairy traits require the most rigorous analysis in the calculation of their REVs is given. Varying the REVs within a fairly wide range resulted in different bulls being selected by index and their differing predicted transmitting abilities would result in the herds moving in different directions in the long term (20years). It is suggested that customized indices, where the farmer creates rankings of bulls tailored to their specific farm circumstances, can be worthwhile. © 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH. Source

Rees R.M.,SAC | Ball B.C.,SAC
Soil Use and Management | Year: 2010

Between 1990 and 2008, Soil Use and Management has published around 42 articles which have dealt with nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from soils. The importance of this subject to readers of the journal has increased rapidly in recent years. A substantial number of these papers have appeared in two supplements. These were 'Soils and the Greenhouse Effect', vol. 13 (4) and 'Soils as Carbon Sinks', vol. 20. The number of annual citations of articles on N2O in the journal has risen from zero in the early 1990s to 160 per year in 2008. In this article, we have highlighted some of the more important papers on N2O that have been published by Soil Use and Management, and explain how they have helped advance our understanding of the role that soil management plays in influencing N2O emissions. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 British Society of Soil Science. Source

McVittie A.,SAC | Moran D.,SAC | Elston D.,BioSS
Regional Studies | Year: 2010

MCVITTIE A., MORAN D. and ELSTON D. Public preferences for rural policy reform: evidence from Scottish surveys, Regional Studies. Agricultural reform across the European Union has focused debate on how agriculture delivers wider rural objectives. The authors undertook economic valuation and multicriteria studies to explore public preferences for rural policy. The results suggest simultaneous preferences for both environmental and social benefits, notably locally grown food, water quality, wildlife habitats, and maintaining rural communities. The public assigned greatest weight to locally grown food, which is closely linked to them as a direct use and is also routinely transacted for. The multicriteria study yielded a different preference ordering potentially arising from the differing elicitation methods indicating a possible drawback of the approach employed. © 2010 Regional Studies Association. Source

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