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Duthie C.-A.,Beef and Sheep Research Center | Rooke J.A.,Beef and Sheep Research Center | Troy S.,Beef and Sheep Research Center | Hyslop J.J.,SAC Consulting Ltd. | And 3 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2015

Adding nitrate to the diet or increasing the concentration of dietary lipid are effective strategies for reducing enteric methane emissions. This study investigated their effect on health and performance of finishing beef cattle. The experiment was a two×two×three factorial design comprising two breeds (CHX, crossbred Charolais; LU, Luing); two basal diets consisting of (g/kg dry matter (DM), forage to concentrate ratios) 520 : 480 (Mixed) or 84 : 916 (Concentrate); and three treatments: (i) control with rapeseed meal as the main protein source replaced with either (ii) calcium nitrate (18 g nitrate/kg diet DM) or (iii) rapeseed cake (RSC, increasing acid hydrolysed ether extract from 25 to 48 g/kg diet DM). Steers (n=84) were allocated to each of the six basal diet×treatments in equal numbers of each breed with feed offered ad libitum. Blood methaemoglobin (MetHb) concentrations (marker for nitrate poisoning) were monitored throughout the study in steers receiving nitrate. After dietary adaptation over 28 days, individual animal intake, performance and feed efficiency were recorded for a test period of 56 days. Blood MetHb concentrations were low and similar up to 14 g nitrate/kg diet DM but increased when nitrate increased to 18 g nitrate/kg diet DM (P<0.001). An interaction between basal diet and day (P<0.001) indicated that MetHb% was consistently greater in Concentrate – than Mixed-fed steers at 18 g nitrate/kg diet DM. Maximum individual MetHb% was 15.4% (of total Hb), which is lower than considered clinically significant (30%). MetHb concentrations for individual steers remained consistent across time. Concentrate-fed steers were more efficient (lower residual feed intake (RFI) values) than Mixed-fed steers (P<0.01), with lower dry matter intake (DMI) (kg/day) (P<0.001) and similar average daily gain (ADG). CHX steers were more efficient (lower RFI; P<0.01) than LU steers with greater ADG (P<0.01), lower DMI (/kg BW; P<0.01) and lower fat depth (P<0.001). ADG, BW or DMI did not differ across dietary treatments (P>0.05). Neither basal diet nor treatment affected carcass quality (P>0.05), but CHX steers achieved a greater killing out proportion (P<0.001) than LU steers. Thus, adding nitrate to the diet or increasing the level of dietary lipid through the use of cold-pressed RSC, did not adversely affect health or performance of finishing beef steers when used within the diets studied. © The Animal Consortium 2015 Source

Duthie C.-A.,Beef and Sheep Research Center | Rooke J.A.,Beef and Sheep Research Center | Hyslop J.J.,SAC Consulting Ltd. | Waterhouse A.,Beef and Sheep Research Center
Animal | Year: 2015

Increasing the concentration of dietary lipid is a promising strategy for reducing methane (CH4) emissions from ruminants. This study investigated the effect of replacing grass silage with brewers' grains on CH4 emissions of pregnant, non-lactating beef cows of two breeds. The experiment was a two×two factorial design comprising two breeds (LIMx, crossbred Limousin; and LUI, purebred Luing) and two diets consisting of (g/kg diet dry matter (DM)) barley straw (687) and grass silage (301, GS), or barley straw (763) and brewers' grains (226, BG), which were offered ad libitum. Replacing GS with BG increased the acid-hydrolysed ether extract concentration from 21 to 37 g/kg diet DM. Cows (n=48) were group-housed in equal numbers of each breed across two pens and each diet was allocated to one pen. Before measurements of CH4, individual dry matter intake (DMI), weekly BW and weekly body condition score were measured for a minimum of 3 weeks, following a 4-week period to acclimatise to the diets. CH4 emissions were subsequently measured on one occasion from each cow using individual respiration chambers. Due to occasional equipment failures, CH4 measurements were run over 9 weeks giving 10 observations for each breed×treatment combination (total n=40). There were no differences between diets for daily DMI measured in the chambers (9.92 v. 9.86 kg/day for BG and GS, respectively; P>0.05). Cows offered the BG diet produced less daily CH4 than GS-fed cows (131 v. 156 g/day: P<0.01). When expressed either as g/kg DMI or kJ/MJ gross energy intake (GEI), BG-fed cows produced less CH4 than GS-fed cows (13.5 v. 16.4 g/kg DMI, P<0.05; 39.2 v. 48.6 kJ/MJ GEI, P<0.01). Breed did not affect daily DMI or CH4 expressed as g/day, g/kg DMI or kJ/MJ GEI (P>0.05). However, when expressed as a proportion of metabolic BW (BW0.75), LUI cows had greater DMI than LIMx cows (84.5 v. 75.7 g DMI/kg BW0.75, P<0.05) and produced more CH4 per kg BW0.75 than LIMx cows (1.30 v. 1.05 g CH4/kg BW0.75; P<0.01). Molar proportions of acetate were higher (P<0.001) and propionate and butyrate lower (P<0.01) in rumen fluid samples from BG-fed compared with GS-fed cows. This study demonstrated that replacing GS with BG in barley straw-based diets can effectively reduce CH4 emissions from beef cows, with no suppression of DMI. © 2015 The Animal Consortium. Source

Michie C.,University of Strathclyde | Andonovic I.,University of Strathclyde | Atkinson R.,University of Strathclyde | Gilroy M.,Embedded Technology Solutions Ltd | And 6 more authors.
Precision Livestock Farming 2013 - Papers Presented at the 6th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2013 | Year: 2013

Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) is core to satisfying the increasing world-wide demand for sustainable food products. This paper reports on the evaluation of a decision support platform which uses an accelerometer activty monitoring collar to detect changes in animal behaviour patterns that can be related welfare conditions. The performance of the system is assessed within the context of a dairy farm in relation to milk progesterone sampling. A further evaluation on free roaming beef herds is also reported. Source

Rooke J.A.,Future Farming Systems | Duthie C.-A.,Future Farming Systems | Hyslop J.J.,SAC Consulting Ltd. | Morgan C.A.,SAC Consulting Ltd. | Waterhouse T.,Future Farming Systems
Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition | Year: 2016

The effects on cow and calf performance of replacing grass silage with brewers grains in diets based on barley straw and fed to pregnant beef cows are reported. Using a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of breed and diet, cows pregnant by artificial insemination (n = 34) of two breeds (cross-bred Limousin, n = 19 and pure-bred Luing, n = 15) were fed diets ad libitum which consisted of either (g/kg dry matter) barley straw (664) and grass silage (325; GS) or barley straw (783) and brewers grains (206, BG) and offered as total mixed rations. From gestation day (GD) 168 until 266, individual daily feed intakes were recorded and cow body weight (BW) and body condition score (BCS) measured weekly. Calving date, calf sex, birth and weaning BW, and calf age at weaning were also recorded. Between GD 168 and 266, cross-bred Limousin cows gained more weight than Luing cows (p < 0.05) and cows offered BG gained more weight than cows offered GS (p < 0.001). Luing cows lost more BCS than cross-bred Limousin cows (p < 0.05), but diet did not affect BCS. There were no differences in dry matter intake as a result of breed or diet. Calf birth BW, however, was greater for cows fed BG than GS (44 vs. 38 kg, SEM 1.0, p < 0.001) with no difference between breeds. At weaning, calves born to BG-fed cows were heavier than those born to GS-fed cows (330 vs. 286 kg, SEM 9.3, p < 0.01). In conclusion, replacement of grass silage with brewers grains improved the performance of beef cows and increased calf birth and weaning BW. Further analysis indicated that the superior performance of cows offered the BG diet was most likely due to increases in protein supply which may have improved both energy and protein supply to the foetus. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition © 2015 Blackwell Verlag GmbH Source

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