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Livestock Science    [5 followers]  Follow    
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
     ISSN (Print) 1871-1413
     Published by Elsevier Homepage  [2556 journals]   [SJR: 0.728]   [H-I: 63]
  • Analysis of g.265T>C SNP of Fatty acid synthase gene and expression
           study in skeletal muscle and backfat tissues of Italian Large White and
           Italian Duroc pigs
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 25 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): S. Braglia , M. Zappaterra , P. Zambonelli , M. Comella , S. Dall’Olio , R. Davoli
      Fat deposition is a crucial aspect of pig meat quality as fat content influences both organoleptic and nutritive characteristics of fresh meat, meat products and consumer acceptance. Among genes controlling fat metabolism, the gene encoding fatty acid synthase (FASN) was proposed as a candidate controlling body fat deposition as it is a central enzyme in lipogenesis. The main function of FASN enzyme is the catalysis of the biochemical process that induces at the synthesis of palmitate from acetyl-CoA and malonyl-CoA, in the presence of NADPH. This work aims to study variability in the expression level of FASN gene mapped on SSc12 where different QTLs for fat composition and marbling were discovered. In particular, we analyzed the SNP T265C for FASN gene identified by Muñoz et al. (2003). The association study conducted on 237 Italian Large White (ILW) sib tested pigs to determine whether this polymorphism affected meat productive traits didn't allow finding any associations between the SNP and the reported traits. As regards the Italian Duroc (ID) breed, no association study was performed because in this breed T allele was very rare. Differential expression between breeds of the target gene in semimembranosus muscle and in backfat tissue was evident comparing FASN transcription level between ID and ILW pigs. In particular, ID pigs have a higher expression level of the gene in skeletal muscle than ILW (P=0.01). In backfat tissue the Italian Large White samples showed higher gene expression level than Italian Duroc pigs with a tendency to significant difference (P=0.08). If further analyses will confirm this result on a larger sample, in ID breed the transcriptional level of FASN gene in muscle could be considered as marker of fat deposition.


      PubDate: 2014-01-25T02:56:50Z
       
  • Cattle´s variation in rumen ecology and metabolism and its
           contributions to feed efficiency
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): R. Khiaosa-ard , Q. Zebeli
      Understanding of both host physiological and microbial associated factors that influence feed utilization efficiency is instrumental in enhancing cattle's production efficiency and lowering the environmental impact of cattle production. Due to its high microbial diversity and density as well as the large epithelial surface, the rumen plays a key role not only in digestion but also in modulatory functions of the host's immune responses, and overall health. In addition, rumen epithelium is a very intensive metabolic tissue, and its metabolic efficiency is also crucial for the digestive efficiency. Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) and methane, generated in the rumen as end-products of fermentation, are closely though differently related to cattle´s efficiency in feed utilization and production. While efforts are made to lower methane emissions as an instrument to improve cattle's efficiency, it has become of interest to enhance production, absorption and metabolism of SCFA across multilayer rumen epithelia, because this event enhances the output of energy to the host. Also, the efficient absorption of SCFA across rumen epithelia is involved in the regulation of luminal pH and prevention of rumen acidosis, which in many cases is associated with ruminal ecosystem disturbances and systemic disorders. Although diet has a profound effect on SCFA production, methanogenesis, and rumen health, cattle do respond differently to nutritional challenges. This animal variation appears to be associated with differences in rumen microbial communities as well as rumen SCFA absorption and metabolism. The latter greatly depends on morphological adaptations and the metabolic capacity of the lining epithelium of the rumen wall. Furthermore, various host's abilities in mounting an immunological response might also be involved in the divergence of cattle´s feed efficiency due to changes in energy and nutrient partitioning. Thorough understanding of rumen microbial ecology and metabolism, rumen epithelia physiology as well as their interactions with the host could lead to sustainable strategies for improving feed efficiency in cattle. The present review article summarizes the most recent findings and emphasizes the crucial role of rumen-related factors that may have consequences for variation in feed efficiency of cattle.


      PubDate: 2014-01-25T02:56:50Z
       
  • Voluntary feed intake and digestibility of four domestic ruminant species
           as influenced by dietary constituents: a meta-analysis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): M.Q. Riaz , K.-H. Südekum , M. Clauss , A. Jayanegara
      This meta-analysis was performed to evaluate whether voluntary feed intake and digestibility of forage-based diets differ between four domestic ruminant species, i.e. sheep, goats, cattle and buffaloes, and secondly, whether dietary constituents, i.e. protein and fibre influence the respective variables. A dataset on voluntary feed intake, digestibility and composition of basal diets and supplements of the respective domestic ruminant species was compiled by pooling data from previously published studies. A total of 45 studies were found to meet the required criteria. Data were analysed by mixed model regression methodology. Discrete (domestic ruminant species) and continuous predictor variables (chemical composition of diet) were treated as fixed effects, while different studies were considered as random effects. Significant linear relationships were observed between log-transformed body weight and log-transformed dry matter intake (DMI) for all ruminant species (P<0.05). Within species, this scaling factor was lower for sheep and goats than for cattle and buffalo. Crude protein (CP) concentration affected DMI of ruminants positively with variations among the species; buffaloes were more responsive to CP, followed by sheep, goats and cattle. In contrast, acid detergent fibre (ADF) negatively influenced DMI across all species except buffaloes, and had a much stronger effect on DMI of sheep and cattle than on DMI of goats. The impact of CP on DM digestibility (DMD) was similar to its influence on DMI. The strongest effect was observed in cattle and was only significant in cattle and buffaloes (P<0.05). Neutral detergent fibre reduced DMD only in cattle, while sheep were positively influenced and goats tended to be positively affected. The ADF lowered DMD in sheep, goats and cattle with significant effect for sheep and goats.


      PubDate: 2014-01-25T02:56:50Z
       
  • Comparison of energy expenditure, eating pattern and physical activity of
           grazing and zero-grazing dairy cows at different time points during
           lactation
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): F. Dohme-Meier , L.D. Kaufmann , S. Görs , P. Junghans , C.C. Metges , H.A. van Dorland , R.M. Bruckmaier , A. Münger
      An experiment was conducted to determine the effect of grazing versus zero-grazing on energy expenditure (EE), feeding behaviour and physical activity in dairy cows at different stages of lactation. Fourteen Holstein cows were subjected to 2 treatments in a repeated crossover design with 3 experimental series (S1, S2, S3) reflecting increased days in milk (DIM). At the beginning of each series, cows were on average at 38, 94 and 171 (standard deviation (SD) 10.8) DIM, respectively. Each series consisted of 2 periods containing a 7-d adaptation and a 7-d collection period each. Cows either grazed on pasture for 16–18.5h per day or were kept in a freestall barn and had ad libitum access to herbage cut from the same paddock. Herbage intake was estimated using the double alkane technique. On each day of the collection period, EE of one cow in the barn and of one cow on pasture was determined for 6h by using the 13C bicarbonate dilution technique, with blood sample collection done either manually in the barn or using an automatic sampling system on pasture. Furthermore, during each collection period physical activity and feeding behaviour of cows were recorded over 3 d using pedometers and behaviour recorders. Milk yield decreased with increasing DIM (P<0.001) but was similar with both treatments. Herbage intake was lower (P<0.01) for grazing cows (16.8kg DM/d) compared to zero-grazing cows (18.9kg DM/d). The lowest (P<0.001) intake was observed in S1 and similar intakes were observed in S2 and S3. Within the 6-h measurement period, grazing cows expended 19% more (P< 0.001) energy (319 vs. 269kJ/kg BW 0.75) than zero-grazing cows and differences in EE did not change with increasing DIM. Grazing cows spent proportionally more (P<0.001) time walking and less time standing (P<0.001) and lying (P<0.05) than zero-grazing cows. The proportion of time spent eating was greater (P<0.001) and that of time spent ruminating was lower (P<0.05) for grazing cows compared to zero-grazing cows. In conclusion, lower feed intake along with the unchanged milk production indicates that grazing cows mobilized body reserves to cover additional energy requirements which were at least partly caused by more physical activity. However, changes in cows’ behavior between the considered time points during lactation were too small so that differences in EE remained similar between treatments with increasing DIM.


      PubDate: 2014-01-25T02:56:50Z
       
  • Manure belts for harvesting urine and feces separately and improving air
           quality in swine facilities.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 23 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): J.B. Koger , B.K. O’Brien , R.P. Burnette , P. Kai , M.H.J.G. van Kempen , E. van Heugten , T.A.T.G. van Kempen
      Modern swine facilities have not been designed to maximize manure value nor to minimize NH3 emission. These benefits can possibly be achieved by harvesting urine and feces separately using a conveyor belt placed at a 4° angle beneath the slats. Urine drains from this belt into a gutter leading to a closed storage vessel while feces remain on the belt for up to 24h. Such a belt was evaluated in a partially slatted swine facility housing 80–100 grower pigs in five separate experiments. Fecal DM was determined as a function of both belt residence time and collection time-of-day. The driest feces were obtained with daily collections at 0600h. Collections at this time of day resulted in a 9.8±5.0% increase in DM over collection at 1500h (P=0.07). Under steady state conditions, feces were collected at 49±5% DM and output was 0.26±0.05kgDMpig−1 d−1 suggesting an apparent feed DM digestibility of 82.8±2.1%. Urine collected was 1.3±0.2Lpig−1 d−1, equivalent to 33±6% of the water intake. Emissions from this facility were for ammonia 1.03±0.20kgpig−1 yr−1 or 5.9±1.0% of the intake N and for methane 1.05±0.29kgpig−1 yr−1 or 0.64±0.18% of the feed energy. Odor emission at the ventilation fan was 1.9 OU animal−1 s−1. All three emission parameters were substantially less than literature values for conventional houses. In conclusion, the belt system was easy to operate and allowed for the separate collection of urine and feces resulting in reduced odor nuisance. Technically, it resulted in feces that could be harvested at 49% DM, and emissions of only 1kg NH3 and CH4 pig−1 year−1.


      PubDate: 2014-01-25T02:56:50Z
       
  • Effect of One Automatic Cluster Remover (ACR) Setting on Milking
           Efficiency on Murciano-Granadina Goats
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): J. Bueso-Ródenas , G. Romero , A. Roca , J.R. Díaz
      In recent years there has been an increasing deployment of automatic vacuum cutting devices (component of automatic cluster removers, ACR) for milking parlors of dairy goats. However, there is a lack of scientific studies regarding optimal settings (milk flow threshold, MF and delay time, DT) for the milking of Murciano-Granadina goats. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of different combinations of operating parameters of an automatic vacuum cutting device (LactoFlow®, Gea Farm Technologies, Bonn, Germany) on milking efficiency (milking duration and milk fractioning), milking routine (cluster falls and double cluster attachment) and mean vacuum drop. To achieve this goal, 3 groups of 28 goats were each used to conduct two tests, one at the beginning and one at the end of the lactation. A four Latin square design was used in each test and each Latin square had a duration of six days. The assays combined sequentially one MF (250, 200, 150 and 100g/min) and three DT (10, 15 and 20s). MF 150g/min at the beginning of lactation and MF 100g/min at the end of lactation achieved similar milk yield fractionation results. These results did not involve an increase in milking duration. Moreover, minor double cluster attachment frequency and minor mean vacuum drop were observed in the same MF. On the other hand, milking duration and mean vacuum drop increased when DT was higher than 10 seconds in a single MF, but milk fractioning was not improved. The results indicate that the combination of MF 100 or 150g/min and DT 10s are the most suitable settings for the operation of the automatic vacuum cutting device to milk Murciano-Granadina goats. Additional studies are needed to assess the effect of the automatic vacuum cutting device on the milking time of the entire herd, physical and chemical composition of the milk, health status of the mammary gland and total milk production.


      PubDate: 2014-01-25T02:56:50Z
       
  • A meta-analysis of the effect of dietary fat on enteric methane
           production, digestibility and rumen fermentation in sheep, and a
           comparison of these responses between cattle and sheep
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): Amlan Kumar Patra
      The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of dietary fat supplementation on methane production, digestibility and rumen fermentation in sheep by means of a meta-analysis, and subsequently to compare the results with response in cattle. A dataset was constructed compiling data from ten published publications containing 41 dietary treatments and 259 observations on sheep. Fat supplementation decreased methane production (expressed as g/day, g/kg dry matter (DM) intake, g/kg digestible DM intake, % of gross energy intake) linearly (P<0.05; R 2=0.49 to 0.78). Inclusion of fat did not (P=0.21) affect DM intake. However, digestibilities of DM (P=0.04; R 2=0.24) and neutral detergent fiber (P=0.09; R 2=0.16) reduced linearly with increasing fat concentrations. Conversely, fat digestibility increased quadratically (P=0.03; R 2=0.65) with increasing fat contents. Total volatile fatty acids and acetate percentage in rumen fluid were not altered (P>0.10) by dietary fat supplementation. Percentage of propionate increased linearly (P=0.06; R 2=0.17), while butyrate percentage (P=0.06; R 2=0.21), acetate to propionate ratio (P=0.05; R 2=0.22) and ammonia concentration (P=0.02; R 2=0.39) in rumen fluid decreased linearly with increasing fat concentrations. Supplementation of fat had greater suppressive effects on methane production expressed as digestible DM intake in sheep than cattle, but had similar responses on digestibility and rumen fermentation. In conclusion, low concentration of fat in the diet may decrease methane emission without adversely affecting rumen fermentation; but it may lower fiber digestibility at high concentrations.


      PubDate: 2014-01-25T02:56:50Z
       
  • Effect of Long Transport and Environmental Conditions on Behaviour and
           Blood Parameters of Postweaned Piglets with Different Reactivity to
           Backtest
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): Diego Magnani , Simona Cafazzo , Pietro Calà , Elisabetta Razzuoli , Massimo Amadori , Daniele Bernardini , Gabriele Gerardi , Leonardo Nanni Costa
      In order to evaluate the effect of long transport on weaned piglets transported under warm weather conditions, one-hundred and forty-four piglets, previously submitted to a backtest during nursing, were monitored during four journeys, each lasting 14 hours, carried out from May to September 2009. Into the truck, piglets were allocated in 8 pens on the basis of backtest classification identified as High Resisting (HR), Low resisting (LR), Mixed (M) and Mixed at Loading (MAL). During transport, truck air temperature, skin temperatures and postural and behavioural occurrences were recorded. Prior to and after transportation, blood samples and body weight were also recorded. Piglets lost 5% of their body weight. Environmental conditions affected slightly the behaviour of piglets which were more active during the first 4 hours of transport. The behaviour of the piglets was significantly influenced by the type of pen since some differences in biting and exploratory behaviours were found in M pens. Conversely, no differences were found between HR and LR pens. Significant variations with respect to the baseline levels were found only for glucose which decreased and for urea which increased after journey as a result of the prolonged fasting. In general, the results suggest that long-lasting journeys did not have consistent effects on physiological and behavioural parameters of early-weaned piglets while grouping and mixing procedures may affect how they cope with transport.


      PubDate: 2014-01-25T02:56:50Z
       
  • Dietary supplementation with chitooligosaccharides alters gut microbiota
           and modifies intestinal luminal metabolites in weaned Huanjiang
           mini-piglets
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): X.F. Kong , X.L. Zhou , G.Q. Lian , F. Blachier , G. Liu , B.E Tan , C.M. Nyachoti , Y.L. Yin
      In this study, we tested the effects of dietary supplementation with chitooligosaccharides (COS) on the gut microbiota and its metabolites using the Huanjiang mini-piglet model. Ten weaned mini-piglets were randomly assigned to 2 groups, receiving no COS or dietary supplementation with 0.5g/kg of COS in a basal diet. After a 14-day trial period, the luminal contents of ileum and colon were collected to analyze short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and ammonia, as well as gut microbiota populations. Our results show that dietary supplementation with COS modifies the composition of ileal and colonic microbiota, and increased the amounts of some presumably beneficial intestinal bacteria and concentrations of SCFAs in the intestinal luminal content, while suppressed the growth of potential bacterial pathogens and the amount of several protein-derived catabolites, when compared with the control group. These findings suggest that the COS presents prebiotic activities and modifies the intestinal luminal environment in a presumably beneficial way in weaning Huanjiang mini-piglets.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Attitudes and expectations of beef farmers in Austria, Germany and Italy
           towards the Welfare Quality® assessment system
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): Marlene K. Kirchner , Heike Schulze Westerath-Niklaus , Ute Knierim , Elena Tessitore , Giulio Cozzi , Christian Vogl , Christoph Winckler
      Farmers' attitudes and expectations towards mainly animal-based welfare assessment tools such as the Welfare Quality® protocol are regarded important for successful implementation. The objectives of this study with beef farmers in Austria, Germany and Italy were to investigate farmers' willingness to join such a comprehensive assessment system and their expectations towards expected benefits, practicalities of the assessment procedure and respective feedback mechanisms. For this purpose, questionnaire-guided interviews were carried out with in total 90 beef farmers with alternative housing conditions for beef production, i.e. straw bedding or soft rubber mats at least in the lying area. 65% of the beef farmers were motivated to join a system such as WQ on a regular basis. About three quarters of all farmers considered as important, that the system is able to detect deficiencies in housing and management. Further benefits were expected in terms of profitability, state of animal welfare as well as personal job satisfaction. Regarding the willingness to implement measures to improve the welfare state, 92% of farmers agreed to change management routines and 67% would invest more labour. Only few objections were raised which mainly addressed the fear of new regulations, higher production costs and the reliability of the results. Nevertheless farmers agreed to a large extent to the practicalities of the protocol and would be willing to contribute to data provision. In conclusion, apart from the use for labelling purposes, beef farmers in this study regard a welfare assessment system such as Welfare Quality® as a valid basis for advice. Beyond assessing animals' state, information needed for improvement strategies may therefore be considered. Farmers' trust in the assessment system may be increased by further research with regard to reliability aspects.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Prevalence and molecular analyses of Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella
           spp. in co-grazing small ruminants and wild-living birds
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): S. Pao , B.E. Hagens , C. Kim , S. Wildeus , M.R. Ettinger , M.D. Wilson , B.D. Watts , N.C. Whitley , A.C.S. Porto-Fett , J.G. Schwarz , P. Kaseloo , S. Ren , W. Long III , H. Li , J.B. Luchansky
      A total of 689 co-grazing small ruminants along with 446 wild-living birds were tested during two springs and autumns (2007–2009) under two management systems at two Mid-Atlantic locations (~187km in aerial distance) of the U.S. Fecal shedding of Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella spp. were, respectively, detected in 9.3% and 3.5% of small ruminants and in 7.4% and 0.2% of wild-living birds. Sheep had a significantly higher prevalence of C. jejuni and Salmonella than goats, but there were no differences due to season, location, or management. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of isolated strains revealed geographic specificity and genomic diversity of both pathogens from small ruminants. However, C. jejuni strains with indistinguishable PFGE profiles were isolated from one Rock Dove and two European Starlings caught at separate locations. Matching C. jejuni or Salmonella strain profiles were not found between small ruminants and wild-living birds. This study found that sheep pose a greater risk than goats in C. jejuni and Salmonella contamination at co-grazing small ruminant farms. Wild-living birds also are potential carriers of C. jejuni and Salmonella although no evidence of cross-contamination with small ruminants was established.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Influence of organic iron complex on sow reproductive performance and iron
           status of nursing pigs
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): Jun Wang , Desheng Li , Lianqiang Che , Yan Lin , Zhengfeng Fang , Shengyu Xu , De Wu
      This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of organic iron complex on sow reproductive performance and iron status of nursing pigs. At day 84 of gestation, a total of 58 PIC sows at five-parity were randomly assigned to two groups receiving diets containing organic iron complex (n=33) and ferrous sulfate (n=25). According to a 2×2 factorial design of treatments, nursing pigs (2.09±0.34kg) within a given litter were divided into two groups and given either an injection with or without iron (0 vs. 200mg/pig) on day three of lactation. The feeding trial lasted for 51 days, including 30 days of gestation and 21 days of lactation. The results showed that organic iron complex did not improve the reproductive performance of sows or the growth performance of piglets. In particular, nursing pigs injected with iron had greater individual body weight at day 21 of lactation compared to pigs that were not treated with iron (P<0.05). Compared with ferrous sulfate, organic iron complex significantly increased the Cu content in mature milk (P<0.01), and the serum iron concentration at day one of lactation (P<0.05), as well as ceruloplasmin activity at day 21 of lactation (P<0.01). Piglets from sows fed organic iron complex tended to have a greater total iron binding capacity (P=0.08) and ceruloplasmin activity (P=0.05) at day 10 of lactation, and tended to have a higher concentration of hemoglobin (P=0.08), total iron binding capacity (P<0.01) and serum iron (P<0.01) at day 21 of lactation compared with piglets from sows fed ferrous sulfate. Piglets injected with iron had a greater red blood cell count (P<0.01), hemoglobin (P<0.01), serum iron (P<0.01) and total iron binding capacity (P<0.05) at day 10 and 21 of lactation compared to piglets that were not treated with iron. In conclusion, organic iron complex had minor positive effects on the iron status of sows and nursing pigs, but did not significantly improve the performance of sows and their offspring. Therefore, attempts to replace the commonly used Fe injection with a maternal organic iron complex dietary supplement failed to prevent iron-deficiency anemia of nursing pigs.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • The productivity of traditional smallholder pig production and possible
           improvement strategies in Xishuangbanna, South Western China
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): Simon Riedel , Anne Schiborra , Christian Hülsebusch , Eva Schlecht
      Chinese smallholder pig producers, only outputting few pigs per year, still supply the major portion of pork consumed in the country. Research and policy focusing on this sector may therefore contribute to reducing rural poverty. This study analyzed factor productivity and reproductive performance of 162 traditional smallholder pig producers in a 50km² area of Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, southern P.R. China, by using the PRY Herd Life Model and comparing the actual to two simulated improved pig management scenarios. A progeny history survey covering 184 sows and 437 farrows, combined with an analysis of the quantity and quality of feed given and of live weight development of 114 pigs during a 16 months' time period supplied the base data. Feed energy content averaged 14.9MJMEkg−1 DM, age at first farrowing was 14.5±4.34 months and farrowing interval was 11.4±2.73 months. A litter comprised 5.8 piglets and was weaned after 4.3±0.99 months. Monetary return on inputs (ROI) was negative for the current management (0.93:1), but improved (1.7:1) when culling of sows and fatteners was optimized for highest output per feed input. If in addition better feeding and higher sales prices at fixed ages were simulated, ROI substantially improved to 3.1:1 and beyond for four different grower groups. Results point to the potential of the regional smallholder pork production if simple measures of improvement in feeding, culling and breeding are introduced.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Interactions between calving season and cattle breed in a seasonal Alpine
           organic and low-input dairy system
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): Marco Horn , Andreas Steinwidder , Walter Starz , Rupert Pfister , Werner Zollitsch
      Seasonal low-input milk production receives increasing interest in Alpine regions. In contrast to typical pasture-based, seasonal milk production regions such as Ireland or New Zealand, the harsher climatic conditions in the Alps require a 5–6 months barn feeding period. In addition, the dairy cow types commonly used in Alpine regions have not been selected under low-input conditions. Among others, this raises the question of the optimum calving season for different Alpine dairy cow types in low-input systems. The aim of this paper was therefore to investigate the effect of calving season on diet composition and productivity of two different cow types in an Alpine low-input and pasture-based production system. Thirty four lactations of Brown Swiss (BS) and 39 lactations of a special strain of Holstein Friesian (HFL) were compared in a seasonal, low-input system. The BS cows represented the average Austrian BS population and were primarily selected for high milk yield. HFL is a local strain of Holstein Friesian and was primarily bred for lifetime performance under low-input conditions. The dataset comprised cows which calved during the barn feeding period (late October/early November until late March/early April); the grazing period lasted from April until October. The date of calving was expressed relatively to the date of turn out to pasture and was included as a continuous covariable in a mixed model. As expected, moving calving dates towards spring increased the proportion of pasture in the diet and decreased concentrate consumption for both breeds. A significant interaction between breed and calving date was found for milk and milk solid yield per lactation, which decreased for BS when comparing autumn and spring calving, while it remained relatively stable for HFL. However, the larger quantities of concentrates fed to cows calving in autumn, did not reduce body weight loss of BS. The results indicate that for HFL spring calving is likely to be more suitable in order to yield the full economic benefit, while moving calving dates towards autumn might support BS to exploit its greater genetic merit for milk production.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Identification of breeding objectives using a bioeconomic model for a beef
           cattle production system in Uruguay
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): Maria Isabel Pravia , Olga Ravagnolo , Jorge Ignacio Urioste , Dorian J. Garrick
      The aims of this study were to establish the breeding objective for a typical Uruguayan beef cattle production system, identifying the main economically relevant traits, estimating their economic values (EVs) and relative importance in the breeding objective. The bioeconomic model included performance (weights, daily gains, mortality, pregnancy and replacement rates), and economic (sale, feed and health prices) parameters. The herd was a cow–calf operation of 100 Hereford cows with a finishing component, which annually sells steers, non-pregnant cows and surplus replacement heifers. Feed requirements were calculated for pasture grazing animals based on the factorial approach to calculate energy requirements for maintenance and growth for young animals, and maintenance, gestation and lactation for cows. Increases in requirements caused by changes in the system were supplied through purchased feed. Economic profit was simulated as total revenues less total costs. Biological traits affecting profit were identified as economically relevant trait. The EV of a trait was calculated by simulation as difference in farm profits at the average trait level and after incrementing the trait level by one unit keeping other evaluated traits constant. EVs are expressed per 100 meted cows, and were adjusted using the discounted gene flow method, to account for frequency and timing of trait expressions. Calving rate had an EV of US$96.0, followed by Carcass Weight ($21.4 for heifers and $2.5 for cows), Calving Ease (US$ 20.4), Dry Matter intake (−$0.7 for steers, −0.5 for heifers and −0.7 for cows), Weaning Weight direct (−$1.1) and Weaning Weight maternal (−$3.8). EV was expressed as the income obtained in this production system per 100 mated cows. When EVs were expressed per additive genetic standard deviation, reproductive traits were three times more important than growth and feed intake traits. Some of the most important traits do not currently have an Expected Progeny Differences, to allow selection, so efforts should be placed to generate that information.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Dietary polyphenols reduce diarrhea in enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli
           (ETEC) infected post-weaning piglets
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): R. Verhelst , M. Schroyen , N. Buys , T. Niewold
      Earlier, we showed that some commercial plant derived polyphenol extracts can inactivate heat labile toxin (LT) of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) in vitro (Omnivin, and ALSOK), whereas others do not (Omnicoa). In this study, based on 40 three week weaned piglets, these three extracts were added to feed and tested for in vivo efficacy in a post-weaning diarrhea model. Piglets were divided in four treatment groups, and given a control diet or a diet supplemented with 1% of one of the three extracts. Half of each treatment group was infected with ETEC on days 6 and 7 post-weaning. Post-infection, rectal feces was assessed daily for diarrhea (as % fecal dry matter (DM)), ETEC excretion. Average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were determined. Post-infection, ETEC excretion was reduced by all three extracts compared to control feed, and significantly by Omnivin (p<0.004). Diarrhea was abolished by Omnivin and ALSOK, but not by Omnicoa. No differences were found for ADG, ADFI, and FCR, except for Omnicoa which depressed ADG post-infection significantly (p<0.005). The latter suggests Omnicoa to contain an anti-nutritional factor. The overall results for the different polyphenol extracts were consistent with the respective in vitro activities in the LT-inhibition assay. It is concluded that polyphenol extracts do widely differ in properties, some may have deleterious effects, but others can indeed reduce ETEC induced diarrhea most likely by inactivating LT in vivo.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Automated video analysis of pig activity at pen level highly correlates to
           human observations of behavioural activities
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): S. Ott , C.P.H. Moons , M.A. Kashiha , C. Bahr , F.A.M. Tuyttens , D. Berckmans , T.A. Niewold
      Automated collection of continuous activity data of pigs can be performed easily using video analysis. In welfare and health research, this technique can be economically advantageous over manual observations. However, the relationship between activity measures by automated video analysis and manually scored behavioural activity has never been established. We correlated automated activity measures through video analysis to ethological scores of pig activity, using off-line video recordings of four pens with grower pigs. Human observations (HO) of different behavioural activities were carried out by 2-min scan sampling during four 30-min sessions on 6 observation days. HO of pig activity was expressed as a mean proportion per session. Automated observations (AO) of pig activity were calculated by the relative number of moving pixels between two consecutive image frames (1 frame/s) and expressed as a mean image activity index per session. The overall correlation between pig activity data from AO and HO was strong and positive (R s =0.92, P<0.0001). When comparing AO and HO data at session level, the correlation coefficients for the two afternoon sessions were lower. Both static activities and activities involving locomotion had a significant effect on the activity index of AO (P<0.05), but activities that included locomotion had a three times higher effect than static activities. Further validation research is necessary, but it can be concluded that automated video analysis is a promising technique to continuously monitor behavioural activity level of pigs at pen level.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Water sprinkling market pigs in a stationary trailer. 2. Effects on
           selected exsanguination blood parameters and carcass and meat quality
           variation
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): E. Nannoni , T. Widowski , S. Torrey , J. Fox , L.M. Rocha , H. Gonyou , A.V. Weschenfelder , T. Crowe , G. Martelli , L. Faucitano
      In each of 12 weeks between May and September, 2011, two identical pot-belly trailers were loaded with 208 pigs each and transported to the slaughter plant (2h trip). One of the two trailers was equipped with a water sprinkling system (WS) installed inside the truck compartments whereas the other one transported pigs under standard commercial conditions (control, CONT). The water sprinkling system was activated for 5min in the stationary truck, both at the farm (at the end of loading) and at the plant (immediately before unloading). Blood lactate levels at exsanguination, carcass and meat quality traits were assessed on a sub-sample of randomly selected pigs (n=384/576). Exsanguination lactate levels were lower (P=0.02) in WS pigs compared to CONT, regardless of ambient temperature. Concurrently, the pH value of the Longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle at 1h post-mortem (pH1) was greater (P=0.009) in WS pigs compared to CONT, regardless of ambient temperature. The effect of water sprinkling interacted with location inside the truck and ambient temperature. Water sprinkling reduced exsanguination lactate levels in pigs transported in compartments 5 and 8 (which are located at the front and at the rear of the middle deck, respectively) such that lower lactate was observed in compartment 5 at 15°C (P=0.03) and 18°C (P=0.009), and in compartment 8 at 22°C (P=0.03) and 25°C (P=0.04). In compartment 5, the pH1 value in the LD muscle of WS pigs was higher than in the CONT group at 18°C (P=0.002), 22°C (P<0.001) and 25°C (P=0.005); pH1 in the SM muscle of WS pigs was lower at 18°C (P=0.01) and 22°C (P=0.02); and drip loss in the WS group was lower than in the CONT group at 22°C (P=0.01), and at 25°C (P=0.02). No significant effect was detected in compartment 4 (which is located at the rear of the top floor), or in compartment 9 (which is located at the front to the bottom deck). The results of this study showed that the sprinkling protocol applied was effective, particularly in some trailer compartments, in reducing stress response and improving pork quality of pigs transported in pot-bellied trailers.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160




      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Editorial Board
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160




      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Effects of phytogenic feed additive on growth performance, digestibility,
           blood metabolites, intestinal microbiota, meat color and relative organ
           weight after oral challenge with Clostridium perfringens in broilers
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): J.H. Cho , H.J. Kim , I.H. Kim
      A total of 405 mixed sex broilers with a BW of 42±1g (1d of age) were used in a 35-d trial to investigate the effects of phytogenic feed additive (PFA) containing essential oils of thyme and star anise as main active components on growth performance, energy and nutrient apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD), blood metabolites, intestinal microflora, meat color, and relative organ weight after oral challenge with Clostridium perfringens. Broilers were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments (9 replicate pens per treatment with 15 broilers per pen). Dietary treatments were: control (CON); antibiotics (ANT), CON+10mg/kg of avilamycin); and PFA, CON+250mg/kg of PFA. Broilers were oral challenged with 5mL C. perfringens (107 cfu/mL) culture suspensions on d 19, 20, and 21. Broilers fed PFA diets had greater (P<0.01) feed conversion ratio than those fed CON and ANT diets during the finisher phase (d 21–35). Broilers fed PFA diet got lower (P<0.01) FCR than those fed CON diet during d 0–35. The chicks fed PFA had greater (P<0.01) ATTD of dry matter, and gross energy than that fed CON and ANT diets at d 21. The ATTD of crude protein and crude ash were increased (P<0.05) by dietary supplementation of avilamycin or PFA at d 21. Dietary supplementation of avilamycin or PFA improved (P<0.05) the ATTD of gross energy at d 35. At d 35, supplementation of PFA reduced (P<0.01) the serum total cholesterol (TC) content and increased (P<0.01) high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) than CON and ANT treatments. The HDL-C concentration was increased (P<0.01) by avilamycin inclusion in the diet compared with that of broilers in CON. The PFA inclusion reduced (P<0.01) C. perfringens and Escherichia coli counts in small and large intestine. The lesion score of small intestine was also reduced (P<0.05) by supplementation of the diet with PFA compared with ANT and CON diets. In conclusion, our results indicated that supplementation of PFA improved growth performance, reduced blood TC, and also inhibited C. perfringens and E. coli proliferation in small and large intestines in broiler chicks under oral C. perfringens challenge.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • The equine gastro-intestinal tract: An overview of the microbiota, disease
           and treatment
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): L.M.T. Dicks , M. Botha , E. Dicks , M. Botes
      Horse is a hindgut fermenter, i.e. most microbial activities take place in the large intestine which constitutes approximately 60 per cent of the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT). The feed reaches the large intestine after approximately 3h and is fermented for 36–48h in the caecum. This rate of transition is only possible if the roughage component of the feed is kept optimal. A diet rich in starch leads to an imbalance in gastro-intestinal microbiota, which may lead to colic and often death. Lactic acid bacteria form a major constituent of the microbiota in the GIT, especially in the large intestine, and produce most of the volatile fatty acids (VFA) needed for energy. Production of antimicrobial compounds, including antimicrobial peptides (bacteriocins) may prevent the growth of pathogens and keep a healthy microbial balance in the GIT. Lactic acid bacteria may also play a role in stimulation of the immune system.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Response of early lactation Holstein cows to partial replacement of
           neutral detergent soluble fibre for starch in diets varying in forage
           particle size
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): A.A. Alamouti , M. Alikhani , G.R. Ghorbani , A. Teimouri-Yansari , M. Bagheri
      This study investigated the effects of partial replacement of neutral detergent soluble fibre (NDSF) for starch in diets varying in particle size (PS) of alfalfa hay on chewing activities, ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility and performance of early lactation dairy cows. Eight multiparous Holstein cows (66±5d in milk; 42.9±3.1kg milk/d) were used in a replicated 4×4 Latin square design with four 22d periods with the last 8d used for data collection. The experiment was a 2×2 factorial arrangement with 2 levels of NDSF (low=84g/kg or high=118g/kg diet dry matter) each combined with 2 PS (short=20mm or long=40mm) of alfalfa hay. Feeding short PS in combination with low level of NDSF increased intake of DM and OM (P<0.05). Total chewing time was not affected, however, total eating time and eating times spent per kg of DM and NDF consumed decreased when forage particle size was reduced (P<0.05). High NDSF diets increased total eating time and eating times spent per kg DM and NDF ingested and increased apparent digestibility of NDF (P<0.05). However, feeding high NDSF diet increased the OM digestibility only in long PS diet (P<0.05). Treatments did not affect ruminal pH; however, feeding short PS tended to increase total volatile fatty acid concentration, decreased molar proportion of acetate and increased that of propionate. Inclusion of NDSF decreased molar proportion of propionate and increased that of butyrate and decreased ruminal ammonia concentration (P<0.05). Milk yield and composition and milk energy output were similar among treatments. Results show that partial replacement of NDSF for starch increases nutrient digestibility, most notably for NDF, and maintains milk yield and composition of early lactation cows fed diets varying in forage PS.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Influence of forage type in the diet of sheep on rumen microbiota and
           fermentation characteristics
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): C. Saro , M.J. Ranilla , M.L. Tejido , M.D. Carro
      Four ruminally cannulated sheep were used in a cross-over design to assess the changes in rumen fluid microbial populations during the feeding cycle as affected by the type of forage (FOR) in the diet. The two experimental diets contained 70% of either alfalfa hay (AL) or grass hay (GR) as FOR and 30% of concentrate. Sheep were fed the diets twice daily and samples from rumen fluid were taken at 0, 4 and 8h after the morning feeding. Ruminal pH, lactate concentrations and xylanase activity were not affected (P>0.05) by FOR, but concentrations of NH3–N and total volatile fatty acid (VFA), and carboxymethylcellullase (CMCase) and amylase activities were greater (P<0.05) for AL compared with GR diet. Total protozoa numbers determined by microscopic counting were higher (P<0.05) in AL-fed sheep than in sheep fed the GR diet; in contrast, concentrations of protozoal DNA determined by quantitative real-time PCR tended (P=0.06) to be higher in GR-fed sheep, and no correlation (P>0.05) between protozoal numbers and total protozoal DNA concentrations was detected. Sheep fed GR had higher (P<0.001–0.05) relative abundance of Fibrobacter succinogenes, Ruminococcus flavefaciens and fungi than did AL-fed sheep, but bacterial DNA concentrations and relative abundance of Ruminococcus albus and methanogenic archaea were unaffected (P>0.05) by FOR. Postprandial changes of DNA concentrations of all determined microbial populations were similar for the two diets. Total bacterial and protozoal DNA concentrations decreased (P<0.05) at 4h post-feeding but recovered before-feeding values at 8h post-feeding. No correlations (P>0.05) were found between CMCase and xylanase activities and either the concentration of total bacterial DNA or the relative abundance of the three cellulolytic bacteria, but xylanase activity was positively correlated (P<0.05) with both protozoa numbers and protozoal DNA concentration. Although the postprandial evolution of fermentation parameters and microbes were similar for both forages, sheep fed the lower quality forage showed higher abundance of some cellulolytic bacteria and fungi, which could be interpreted as an adaptation to digest a more fibrous and complex forage.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • In vitro ruminal dry matter degradability, microbial efficiency, short
           chain fatty acids, carbohydrate and protein fractionation of tropical
           grass-multipurpose tree species diets
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): S. Singh , U.Y. Anele , B. Edmunds , K.-H. Südekum
      An in vitro experiment was carried out using the Hohenheim gas production technique to evaluate 24-h gas production, apparently and truly degraded dry matter (DM), partitioning factor (PF), short chain fatty acids, crude protein (CP) and carbohydrate (CHO) fractionation of grass and multipurpose tree species (MPTS) foliage diets. Four grasses and three MPTS were used to formulate 12 diets of equal mixtures (0.5:0.5 on DM basis) of each grass with each MPTS. In vitro gas production was terminated after 24h for each diet. True DM degradability was measured from incubated samples and combined with gas volume to estimate PF. Diets had greater (P<0.001) CP (102–183g/kg DM) content than sole grasses (66–131g/kg DM) and lower (P<0.001) concentrations of fibre fractions. Contrary to in vitro apparently degraded DM, in vitro truly degraded DM coefficient was greater (P<0.001) in diets (0.63–0.77) than in sole grasses (0.48–0.68). The PF was on average higher in diets than in sole grasses. The proportion of potentially degradable CP fractions (A1, B1, B2 and B3, based on the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System) in the diets ranged from 971 to 989g/kg CP. Crude protein fractions, A and B2 were greater in diets but B1 and B3 fractions were less in diets than in sole grasses. A similar trend was also observed in the CHO fractions. Results showed that the nutritive value of the four grasses was improved when MPTS leaves were incorporated into the diet and this could ensure higher productivity of the animals.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Effect of dietary forage-to-concentrate ratios on urinary excretion of
           purine derivatives and microbial nitrogen yields in the rumen of Dorper
           crossbred sheep
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): T. Ma , K.-D. Deng , Y. Tu , N.-F. Zhang , C.-G. Jiang , J. Liu , Y.-G. Zhao , Q.-Y. Diao
      This study investigated the effects of various dietary forage-to-concentrate ratios (F:C) on urinary excretion of purine derivatives (PD) and microbial nitrogen (MN) yields from the rumen of Dorper×thin-tailed Han crossbred sheep. Twelve Dorper×thin-tailed Han crossbred ram lambs (47.2±1.0kg) fitted with ruminal and duodenal cannulae were randomly assigned to 12 levels of dietary F:C in an incomplete Latin-square experimental design (12 lambs×4 periods). Digestibility trials were conducted and MN was estimated using either 15N or PD as markers. Urinary excretion of allantoin and total PD increased (P<0.05) with decreasing F:C. Urinary excretion of uric acid or xanthine plus hypoxanthine was unaffected by F:C (P>0.05). MN yields estimated using 15N as a marker were greater than those predicted from urinary PD (12.5 vs. 11.5g/d, P<0.05), but the former was more variable than the latter (S.E.=0.66 vs. 0.45, respectively). A linear correlation existed between MN estimated by 15N and urinary excretion of PD: MN (g/d)=–0.521+1.493×PD (mmol/d) (r 2=0.86, P<0.05). The purine nitrogen index (PNI: PD nitrogen/urinary N) was linearly correlated with nitrogen capture efficiency calculated from either 15N or PD (r 2=0.60 and 0.77, respectively). Results suggest that urinary PD is an accurate indicator of MN from the rumen of Dorper crossbred sheep, and PNI reflected the conversion of nitrogen degradation to MN in the rumen.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Association of myostatin (MSTN) gene polymorphisms with morphological
           traits in the Italian Heavy Draft Horse breed
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): S. Dall’Olio , Y. Wang , C. Sartori , L. Fontanesi , R. Mantovani
      The myostatin (MSTN) gene encodes a protein well known as a negative regulator of muscle mass in mammalian species. In a previous study, we identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the equine MSTN gene that could be associated with variability of morphological traits in different horse breeds. In this study we carried out a first evaluation of the association of MSTN gene with morphological traits and body measurements obtained at adult age in the Italian Heavy Draft Horse (IHDH), an autochthonous cold-blooded breed currently selected for meat production and for heavy draught. We genotyped 202 horses for four SNPs of the MSTN gene: two located in the promoter (GQ193900:g.26T>C and GQ193900:g.156T>C) and two in the first intron (GQ193900:g.2077T>C and GQ193900:g.2115A>G). Minor allele frequencies of SNPs varied from 0.118 to 0.148. The haplotype [g.26T:g.156T:g.2077T:g.2115A] showed the greater frequency (0.596). Biometric measurements of three body measurements (height at withers, chest girth, and cannon bone circumference) and 14 linear type data related to general aspects (head size and expression, temperament/blood, frame size, fleshiness and bone incidence), trunk (thorax depth, fore diameter, rear diameter, upper line length, and upper line direction) and feet and legs (e.g. side and back view of rear legs, fore and rear feet) were used in the association study. Among the investigated SNPs, the GQ193900:g.26T>C polymorphism was the most interesting as it resulted associated with cannon bone circumference (P nominal=0.001) and side view of rear legs (P nominal=0.006) and suggestively associated with fleshiness (P nominal=0.027). In silico transcription factors binding sites (TFBSs) prediction located putative TFBSs involved in growth and differentiation of multiple cell types, including myoblasts and osteoblasts in the SNP positions, suggesting that the analyzed SNPs could play a functional role. Gene expression studies should be carried out to verify this hypothesis. Further association studies in the present and other heavy horse breeds are needed to confirm the effects of MSTN polymorphisms on morphological traits, and potentially apply these markers in breeding programs to improve selection efficiency for muscularity and strength in horses.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Flight speed and agitation in weaned lambs: Genetic and non-genetic
           effects and relationships with carcass quality
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): C.L. Dodd , J.E. Hocking Edwards , S.J. Hazel , W.S. Pitchford
      By identifying sheep with a genetic or environmentally-induced propensity for higher responses to stress, it is possible to manage or select against those sheep to improve the welfare and ease of handling of the entire flock. Previous studies have reported variable estimates of heritability and non-genetic influences on flight speed and agitation, two measures of behavioural reactivity used in Australian sheep research. While the relationships between these tests and a number of aspects of productivity, including maternal performance, wool and milk production and fattening performance, have been assessed, no such investigation has been made of relationships with carcass quality. This study investigated the 2008–2010 cohorts of the Information Nucleus. Eight flocks totalling 11,047 lambs were tested. Flight speed and agitation were measured at 2–6 weeks post-weaning. Lambs were slaughtered between 5 and 14 months of age, with kill dates staggered to reach target carcass weights of 21kg. Low to moderate heritabilities of flight speed (0.11±0.02) and agitation (0.19±0.02) indicate that while there is an inherent component to behaviour as measured in these tests, that component is small. Phenotypic and genetic correlations between flight speed and agitation were low (0.06±0.01 and 0.20±0.10 respectively). Heavier and female lambs were more reactive in both behavioural tests than lighter and male lambs. First cross terminal breed×Merino type lambs were faster in the flight speed test than other types. In one flock, younger lambs were more reactive in the agitation test. The two behavioural traits varied independently within flocks such that flocks with high average flight speeds did not necessarily also have high average agitation scores. Phenotypic and environmental correlations between behaviours (flight speed and agitation) and carcass traits were very weak or non-significant, indicating that stress responses measured during handling shortly after weaning may not be relevant to stress responses at slaughter several months later. Genetic correlations were mostly non-significant or weak, suggesting that selection based on improving behavioural reactivity of lambs should have little to no impact on carcass quality.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Muscle lipid composition in bulls from 15 European breeds
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): N. Sevane , G. Nute , C. Sañudo , O. Cortes , J. Cañon , J.L. Williams , S. Dunner
      Cattle meat provides essential nutrients necessary for a balanced diet and health preservation. Besides nutritional quality, consumers' preferences are related to specific attributes such as tenderness, taste and flavour. The present study characterizes the fatty acid composition of beef, which is an important factor in both nutritional and quality values, in 15 European cattle breeds fed a similar diet and reared in five countries (United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Italy and Spain). The effect of possible slight differences on diet composition which might have occurred between countries were included in the breed effect which confounds country, diet, slaughter house and slaughter day as all individuals of a same breed were managed simultaneously. The wide range of breeds studied and the significant differences on lipid profile described here provide a broad characterization of beef meat, which allows giving a better response to the variety of consumers' preferences. Regarding meat health benefits, the groups that stand out are: the double-muscled animals, which displayed lower total fat, lower proportion of saturated (SFA) and monounsaturated (MUFA) fatty acids, and a higher proportion of polyunsaturated (PUFA) fatty acids; and Limousin and Charolais breeds with a significantly higher conversion of 18:3n-3 PUFA to the long chain 22:6n-3 PUFA.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Selection and validation of suitable reference genes in skin tissue of
           Liaoning cashmere goat during hair follicle cycle
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): Wen L. Bai , Rong H. Yin , Rong L. Yin , Wu Q. Jiang , Jiao J. Wang , Ze Y. Wang , Yu B. Zhu , Zhi H. Zhao , Rong J. Yang , Guang B. Luo , Jian B. He
      In quantitative real-time PCR assay, the appropriate reference genes are essential to reduce the potential errors in quantification of gene expression. To date, there is not a well-defined and validated set of reference genes for skin tissue of cashmere goat. In the present work, based on the geNorm and NormFinder procedures, the expression stabilities of 8 candidate housekeeping genes were assessed in skin tissue of Liaoning cashmere goat during hair follicle cycle including 18S, ACTB, B2M, GAPDH, TBP, UBC, YWHAZ, and SDHA. Both geNorm and NormFinder identified SDHA, YWHAZ and UBC as the most stable genes in skin of Liaoning cashmere goat. Also, we further validated the suitability of SDHA, YWHAZ and UBC in combination as references in skin of Liaoning cashmere goat via detecting the relative expression of TGFβR2, BMP2, MSX2 and Hoxc13 as target genes. Significant differences were revealed in the relative expression of TGFβR2, BMP2, MSX2, and Hoxc13 at anagen and telogen when a combination of SDHA, YWHAZ and UBC, versus single SDHA were used as reference genes. These results suggested that the combined use of three genes (SDHA, YWHAZ, and UBC) as references would be more reliable than that of a single SDHA for Q-PCR data normalization in skin tissue of Liaoning Cashmere goat. Therefore, we strongly recommended that these three genes can be used as a combined reference for normalization of gene expression in future longitudinal studies on skin of Liaoning cashmere goat associated with import cashmere traits.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Tissue specificity and species superiority of cathelicidin gene expression
           in Chinese indigenous Min pigs
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): QQ Ma , WJ Jiao , ZY Wang , CX Wu , AS Shan , YB Wang , JM Cai
      Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are components of innate immunity, forming the first-line of defense used by many organisms against the invading pathogens. Min pigs are a Chinese indigenous breed with low mortality and strong disease resistance. In this study, the mRNA expressions of four cathelicidins (PMAP-23, PMAP-37, PR-39, and protegrin-1), the largest family of AMPs in pigs, were determined by real-time PCR in 14-day-old Min pigs and Landrace pigs were chosen as the control. The results showed that expression of four cathelicidin mRNAs in most tissues were higher in Min pigs than those of Landrace pigs, which may partly explain the higher immunity and disease resistance of Min pigs. The cathelicidin molecules were generally expressed at high levels in thymus, spleen, liver, and heart, and at low levels in ileum, jejunum, tongue, and lymph node in both breeds. The peptide pairs with significant correlation in one breed were generally not correlated with these in the other breed, suggesting differential synergistic or antagonistic regulation of cathelicidins in Min pigs and Landrace pigs. The high expression of cathelicidins might be one of the mechanisms by which the Min pigs display strong disease resistance.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Effects of isovalerate supplementation on microbial status and rumen
           enzyme profile in steers fed on corn stover based diet
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): Q. Liu , C. Wang , C.X. Pei , H.Y. Li , Y.X. Wang , S.L. Zhang , Y.L. Zhang , J.P. He , H. Wang , W.Z. Yang , Y.S. Bai , Z.G. Shi , X.N. Liu
      The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of isovalerate supplementation on microbial status and ruminal enzyme activities in steers fed on corn stover based diet with a low proein. Eight ruminally cannulated Simmental steers were used in a replicated 4×4 Latin square experiment. The treatments were: control (without isovalerate), LIV, MIV and HIV with 8.4, 16.8 and 25.2g isovalerate per steer per day, respectively. Isovalerate was hand- mixed into the concentrate portion. Diet consisted of 60% corn stover and 40% concentrate (dry matter [DM] basis). Dry matter intake (averaged 9kg/day) was restricted to a maximum of 90% of ad libitum intake. Whether direct counts, cultured using a roll-tube technique or real-time PCR quantification, population of total bacteria, cellulolytic bacteria and anaerobic fungi were linearly increased, whereas that of protozoa and total methanogens was linearly reduced with increasing isovalerate supplementation. Real-time PCR quantification of population of R. albus, R. Flavefaciens, B. Fibrisolvens and F. succinogenes was linearly increased (p <0.04) with increasing isovalerate supplementation. Activities of CMCase, xylanase and β-glucosidase were linearly increased (p<0.05), whereas that of protease was linearly reduced (p=0.005) with increasing isovalerate supplementation. Methane production was linearly decreased (p <0.001) with increasing isovalerate supplementation. Effective degradabilities of cellulose and hemicellulose of corn stover was linearly increased (p<0.001), whereas that of crude protein in diet was linearly decreased (p<0.001) with increasing isovalerate supplementation. The present results indicate that supplementation of diet with isovalerate improved microbial status and ruminal enzyme activities in steers. It was suggested that the isovalerate stimulated the digestive microorganisms or enzymes in a dose-dependent manner based on corn stover diet with a low proein. In the experimental conditions of this trial, the optimum isovalerate dose was about 16.8g isovalerate per steer per day.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Differential effects of activin-A and FSH on growth, viability and
           messenger RNA expression in cultured bovine preantral follicles
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): A.W.B. Silva , F.T.G. Bezerra , J.J.N. Costa , R.O.D.S. Rossi , M.J. Passos , G.L. Vasconcelos , R. Rossetto , M.A.M. Donato , D.M. Magalhães-Padilha , C.C. Campello , M.V.A. Saraiva , J.R. Figueiredo , C.A. Peixoto , R. Van den Hurk , J.R.V. Silva
      This study evaluated the effect of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) alone or in combination with activin-A on survival, growth and expression of mRNA for follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSH-R), proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), activin receptor type I B (ActR-IB), activin receptor type II B (ActR-IIB), hyaluronan synthase-1 (HAS 1) and hyaluronan synthase-2 (HAS 2) in bovine secondary follicles cultured in vitro for 18 days. Preantral follicles (~0.2mm) were isolated and individually cultured in absence (α-minimum essential medium (α-MEM+): control) or presence of activin-A, FSH in increasing concentrations or both activin-A and FSH. An increase in follicular diameter was observed after 6 days of culture in all culture treatments compared to control medium; after 12 days in treatment with FSH alone or the mixture of FSH and activin-A (P<0.05); and, after 18 days only in the presence of FSH alone (P<0.05). However, in combination with activin-A, FSH-stimulated follicle growth after 18 days was blocked (P<0.05) and, had significantly lower (P<0.05) levels of mRNA for ActR-IB, ActR-IIB, when compared to α-MEM+, and for FSH-R and PCNA, when compared to α-MEM+ supplemented with activin-A only. Moreover, follicles cultured in presence of FSH alone had greater (P<0.05) levels of mRNA for HAS 1 and HAS 2 than those cultured in medium supplemented with both activin-A and FSH. Morphological, immunofluorescence and ultrastructural analysis confirmed the integrity of follicles cultured in FSH after 18 days. In conclusion, activin-A exerts a stimulatory effect on in vitro early follicular development for up to 6 days, has no effect after 12 days of culture and blocks the stimulatory growth effect of FSH after 18 days. The reduced mRNA levels in follicles cultured with both activin-A and FSH suggest a decreased sensitivity of follicles for activin-A and FSH and inhibited follicular cell proliferation after long-term in vitro culture of isolated preantral follicles.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • LH surge in response to the treatment with GnRH analog or estradiol in
           ovariectomized buffaloes with or without progesterone pre-exposition
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): José Octavio Jacomini , Gustavo Guerino Macedo , Nelcio Antônio Tonizza de Carvalho , José Nélio de Sousa Sales , Pietro Sampaio Baruselli
      The aim of the present study was to evaluate the LH surge after EB (estradiol benzoate) or GnRH administration with or without P4 (progesterone) pre-exposure in ovariectomized (OVX) buffalo cows. Females were randomly assigned to receive an intravaginal P4 device (D0–D9). They were then given EB 24h or GnRH 36h post-P4 device removal (factorial 2×2, n=6 per group). Blood collection for LH measurement began 36h after the P4 device removal and continued at 3h intervals. The area under the LH curve (AUC; 30.2ng2 and 13.41ng2; P=0.007) and the area of the LH peak (AP; 19.0ng2 and 8.9ng2; P=0.009) were greater for EB than GnRH. We did not observe an effect of P4 pre-exposure on the AUC and AP. Furthermore, there was no interaction between P4 pre-exposure and EB or GnRH treatment on the AUC and AP. However, there was an interaction (P<0.01) between P4 pre-exposure and the type of inducer (EB or GnRH) to release a preovulatory-like LH surge at the beginning (BP), final (FP) and time (TP) of the LH peak. The P4 pre-exposure anticipated the BP (2.5 and 7.4h), TP (6.0 and 12.0h) and FP (11.5 and 17.1h) when EB was used to induce a preovulatory-like LH surge (P<0.01). However, there was no effect of P4 pre-exposure on BP (0.4 and 0.4h), TP (3.0 and 3.0h) and FP (5.9 and 6.1h) with GnRH treatment. There was also no effect of the pre-exposure to P4, type of inducer or interaction on the amplitude of the LH peak. We concluded that EB therefore led to greater LH release than GnRH, and pre-exposure to P4 before EB administration anticipated the preovulatory-like LH surge in buffalo cows.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Models to predict muscle tissue and crude protein in beef cattle
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): L.F. Costa e Silva , S.C. Valadares Filho , M.L. Chizzotti , P.P. Rotta , D. Zanetti , R.D.F. Valadares , E. Detmann
      Two experiments were conducted to estimate the amount of muscle tissue and crude protein (CP) in carcasses and in empty body (EB) weight from urinary creatinine excretion (UCE). In experiment I 32 Nellore bulls were used with an initial body weight of 259±24.9kg and 14±1 month old, as follow: four bulls were fed at maintenance level and the 28 bulls had ad libitum access to feed throughout the experiment. The diet consisted of corn silage and concentrate (55:45). Three days before each slaughter, total urine was collected from all bulls within a slaughter group. After harvest, a complete dissection (fat, lean and bone) of the left half of the carcass was conducted and subsampled. Sub-samples were lyophilized, partially defatted and ground for further evaluation. In experiment II 15 Nellore heifers were allocated by body weight into three groups: 127±24.2kg (low), 221±22.3kg (medium) and 434±29.2kg (high). Heifers were fed a diet consisting of 60% of corn silage and 40% of concentrate. After 30 days of adaptation, total urine was collected over a three day period using Folley catheters. After urine collection, the animals were slaughtered to estimate the physical composition of the carcasses and EB. The amounts of muscle tissue present in the carcasses of Nellore bulls and heifers (Mcarc) was estimated using the following equation: Mcarc (kg)=14.40×UCE (g/d). The amount of CP in the carcasses (CPcarc) and the empty bodies (CPEB) of Nellore bulls was estimated by: CPcarc=3.85×UCE (g/d) and CPEB=5.86×UCE (g/d), respectively. It was concluded that each gram of UCE corresponded with 14.40kg of muscle tissue, 3.85kg of CP in the carcass and 5.86kg of CPEB.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Infrared thermography as a tool to determine teat tissue changes caused by
           machine milking in Murciano-Granadina goats
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): M. Alejandro , G. Romero , J.M. Sabater , J.R. Díaz
      Given the scant information found in the review of the literature on the use of infrared thermography as a method to estimate the variation in teat tissue thickness caused by machine milking in goats, this work was proposed with a threefold objective: (1) to fine tune the temperature measuring technique for thermographic images; (2) study the effects of mammary gland health status in application of the technique; and (3) study the relationship between thermography and ultrasound scanning as methods for estimating the effect of machine milking on teat wall thickness. Thermographic images were taken in both glands, along with ultrasound scans of both teats, in 30 Murciano-Granadina goats from different parturition numbers, before and after milking, classifying the animals according to mammary gland health status (FREE: Somatic cell count (RCS)<1,000,000cells/mL and negative bacteriology; INF: infected, positive bacteriology; UNS: unspecific mastitis, RCS>1,000,000cells/mL and negative bacteriology). In the graphic images, we determined the temperature (T) at specific points (P) and areas (A) of the teat (at the tip; TPP; at 1cm: TP1 and AP1; at 2cm: TP2 and AP2; at 3cm: TP3 and AP3 from the teat end) and in the udder (TPU and TAU). The teat wall thickness (TWT), teat wall area (TWA) and teat-end wall area (TEWA) in the ultrasound images of the teat were also determined. Mechanical milking caused a significant increase (P<0.05) of the mean temperature by 6.6, 4.9, 2.5 and 1.5°C at the tip, 1, 2, and 3cm from the teat end. No differences were found between the point and area methods in estimating temperature changes in the teat caused by machine milking, and the measurements taken at 3cm from the teat end are considered the most suitable for this calculation, as they were not affected by the mammary gland health status: UNS glands presented a lower temperature at 1 and 2cm from the teat end before milking and the greater temperature difference after milking compared to the pre-milking values. Similarly, although mechanical milking caused an increase in temperature and teat wall thickness, a significant correlation, in this case negative, was only found between both variables at the teat end and at 1 and 2cm from the tip in the UNS glands before and after milking. Depending on the results found, thermography can detect teat temperature increases caused by machine milking. Nevertheless, further works are necessary to study which infectious and non-infectious factors related with the animal or the milking machine, among other aspects, could affect application of the thermography technique in goat livestock. These studies would also allow us to determine the temperature increase threshold after milking after which damage to teat integrity might occur.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • Heat stress affects reproductive performance of high producing dairy cows
           bred in an area of southern Apennines
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2014
      Source:Livestock Science, Volume 160
      Author(s): R. Boni , L.L. Perrone , S. Cecchini
      A 5-year retrospective (from 2008 to 2012) survey was carried out by analyzing data of high producing dairy cows reared in farms located in an area of southern Apennines. The indicators of fertility obtained were related to either season variations or temperature–humidity index (THI). Conceptions were evaluated per month on an annual basis (NCY), i.e., a parameter obtained by subtracting gestation length to the calving date. A significant reduction of NCY was found during the summer months; furthermore, this parameter decreased along with THI increase. The number of heats detected varied similarly to NCY and represented the main cause of lower fertility consequent to heat stress (HS). The age at first calving was not significantly affected by either the season or the THI. The mean number of AI/pregnancy in relation to the calving date was significantly affected by the season but it was not related to THI. The number of days open was significantly larger in the animals calved from January to July than from August to December (163±33 vs 123±36 days; P<0.001); this causes an annual economic loss of several thousand euro in each farm analyzed. In conclusion, HS causes severe economic loss in dairy farms located in southern Apennines that is mainly due to a lower number of heats detected as well as to a larger number of days open and semen doses used.


      PubDate: 2014-01-17T03:00:15Z
       
  • The effect of dietary coconut kernels, whole cottonseeds and sunflower
           seeds on the intake, digestibility and enteric methane emissions of Zebu
           beef cattle fed rice straw based diets
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): P. Chuntrakort , M. Otsuka , K. Hayashi , A. Takenaka , S. Udchachon , K. Sommart
      Methane emissions from ruminant livestock are problematic with respect to the energy utilization efficiency of animal feed as well as environmental sustainability due to such emissions being a major greenhouse gas source. The objective of this experiment was to determine the methane emissions and feeding performance of two breeds of Zebu beef cattle fed rice straw based diets with oil plant inclusion. Eight mature bulls (four Thai native and four Brahman crossbred beef cattle weighing 290±10.2 and 401±29.7kg (mean±SD), respectively) were assigned to a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design with 21 day periods. The following dietary treatments were assigned: 1=control diet, 2=whole cottonseed diet, 3=whole sunflower seed diet and 4=coconut kernel diet. The animals were individually placed in metabolic cages and respiration chambers to determine feed intake, total tract digestibility and methane emissions. The two cattle breeds were not different in their dry matter intake per body weight (or metabolic body weight) and digestibility, but the corresponding values for the oil plant dietary treatments were less (P< 0.001) than those for the control diet. All of the oil plant treatments decreased (P< 0.001) the dry matter and NDF digestibility compared to the control diet, but the oil plants had no effect on ruminal pH, ammonia nitrogen or total volatile fatty acid concentration. The methane emissions of the Brahman crossbred beef cattle were greater (P< 0.001) than those of the Thai native cattle (135.4 and 171.5L/day), but there was no difference (P> 0.05) when corrected for dry matter intake, organic matter intake, metabolic size or gross energy intake. The methane emission rate was reduced (P< 0.001) by up to 50.1% by the oil plant feeding strategy compared to the control diet. The methane emission rate of the base line typical feeding system in the control diet (10.4%) appeared to be much greater than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change value of 6.5% for cattle fed low-quality crop residues or by-products. Our results demonstrated that methane emissions did not differ between Zebu beef cattle when corrected for metabolic body weight and feed or gross energy intake. The inclusion of oil plants in the diets, such as the coconut kernel, sunflower seed and cottonseed, affects intake, digestibility and potentially be used as an enteric methane mitigation feeding strategy.


      PubDate: 2014-01-13T07:35:27Z
       
  • Relationship Between Placental Traits and Birth Related Factors in
           Damascus Goats
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): Sezen Ocak , Sinan Ogun , Zuhal Gunduz , Hasan Önder
      The relationship between placental traits and litter related factors of Damascus goats were investigated. In total, 39 Damascus goats of same age were used in the study. One-way ANOVA was used for statistical comparison and a Poisson regression analysis was used to determine the effect of litter size and sex on cotyledon number. Pearson correlation co-efficient was used to determine the relationships between variables. Cotyledon efficiency (CE), cotyledon number (CN), number of small, medium and large cotyledons, cotyledon density (CD), individual cotyledon surface area and litter weight have been determined significant for litter size (p<0.05). A positive correlation was revealed between placental weight (PW) individual cotyledon weight (ICW) (r=0.88, P<0.05), cotyledon weight (CW) (r=0.64, P<0.05), large cotyledons number (LCN) (r=0.54, P<0.05), also between birth weight (BW) and PW (r=0.47, P<0.05) and litter weight (LW) (r=0.38, P<0.01). CW was negatively correlated with CD (r= -0.55, P<0.05) and placental efficiency (PE) (r= -0.82, P<0.05). PW and PE were found highest in twin births. Single kids at an average of 4704±147g. were born heavier than twin kids (4315±333g). While CW didn’t differ between single and twin births ICW was much higher (double) for twins. Sex had no effect on CN (P>0.05) however litter size was found significant according to Poisson regression results. The most important finding of this study was the significant variance in cotyledon numbers between single and twin births. There was a notable increase of small and medium cotyledon numbers and a significant decrease of large cotyledons for single births while the exact opposite occurred for twin births. This significant correlation initiated to a new parameter for measuring the efficiency of placental exchange.


      PubDate: 2014-01-13T07:35:27Z
       
  • The use of artificial neural network for modeling in vitro rumen methane
           production using the CNCPS carbohydrate fractions as dietary variables
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): Ruilan Dong , Guangyong Zhao
      The objective of this trial was to investigate the suitability and accuracy of modeling the rumen methane production of mixed rations for cattle using artificial neural network (ANN). The three layer back propagation neural network (BP) which included the input, the hidden and the output layers, was used for modeling. Two datasets used in the trial were from Dong and Zhao (2013). The first dataset which contained the CH4, CO2 and total gas production and the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System (CNCPS) carbohydrate fractions of forty-five rations was for training the BP model while the second dataset which contained ten rations was for testing the BP model. The predicting performances of the BP models with different number of neurons in the hidden layer and different number of variables in the output layer were compared, and the effective BP models were established. The data of ten rations were used for validating the BP models. Paired t-test showed that no difference was found between the observed and the predicted CH4, CO2 and total gas production based on the BP models (p>0.05). Model performance analysis based on the test data showed the root mean square prediction error (RMSPE%) were 3.89%, 2.95% and 4.23%, and the determination coefficient (r2) between the observed and the predicted values was 0.95, 0.97 and 0.92 for CH4, CO2 and total gas, respectively. Testing of the BP models indicated that the in vitro CH4, CO2 and total gas production of mixed rations for cattle could be reliably and accurately predicted based on the CNCPS carbohydrate fractions using BP models. The BP models showed similar accuracy with the multiple regression model for predicting the CH4 production and better accuracy for predicting the CO2 and the total gas production than the multiple regression models.


      PubDate: 2014-01-13T07:35:27Z
       
  • Differences in preferences for breeding traits between organic and
           conventional dairy producers in Sweden
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): T. Ahlman , M. Ljung , L. Rydhmer , H Röcklinsberg , E. Strandberg , A. Wallenbeck
      Development of sustainable breeding goals for dairy production has to consider the producers’ preferences which are likely to differ between production systems. The number of dairy producers with herds certified according to the standards of organic production has increased during the last decades. Traditionally, organic producers use animals selected in conventional production systems but the traits important in organic herds have been suggested to differ due to the different production conditions. The aim of this study was to assess what traits Swedish organic and conventional dairy producers consider to be important for the cows in their herds, and the relative importance of traits in the two production systems. An advanced web questionnaire with an underlying selection index was developed. The selection index was not shown to the respondents but it enabled them to weight traits against each other based on the genetic progress obtained. The questionnaire also included questions about what traits the producers intuitively considered important for the cows in their herds and how they ranked 15 given production and functional traits. The questionnaire was answered by 468 Swedish dairy producers of which 122 had a certified organic herd and 346 had a conventional herd. The results of this study show that the trait longevity was ranked first by trait among both organic and conventional Swedish dairy producers. However, the ranking differed to some extent between the production systems for other traits, e.g. mastitis resistance and milk production. Swedish producers with organic herds tended to desire a higher genetic gain in disease resistance, including mastitis and parasite resistance, compared with producers with conventional production. The results also reflect a somewhat lower interest in milk production level among producers with organic production. However, since the traits most important for Swedish producers with organic herds are already considered in the current Nordic breeding goal they can continue the use of this animal material.


      PubDate: 2014-01-13T07:35:27Z
       
  • Study on Zn relative concentration and chemical state in broilers duodenum
           by micro-X-Ray fluorescence and micro-X-ray absorption fine structure
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): Hua-Wei Liu , Da-Sen Liu , Li-Xin Zheng
      Micro-X-Ray Fluorescence (μ-XRF) and Micro-X-ray absorption fine structure (μ-XAFS) are not widely used in animal science. The objective of this experiment was to employ μ-XRF and μ-XAFS technique to determine the change of Zn quantity, distribution and chemical state (Zn2+ chemical state, organic zinc chemical state) into intestinal wall using different zinc sources. Forty-five newly hatched healthy (1d-old) Arbor Acres commercial male broilers were used in this experiment. The chicks were fed a corn-soybean meal basal diet (90.50mg/kg) from d 1 to 21, but were fed a semipurified diet (12.51mg/kg) after d 21 to deplete the body Zn stores. At 28d of age, after an overnight fast, forty-five birds were randomly allotted to 3 perfusion groups (ZnMet, ZnLys and ZnSO4) with 15 replicates/group for in situ ligated intestinal loops of broilers in experiment. Duodenum of each bird was used as 1 replication of intestinal segments. The solutions injected into the duodenal loops were buffered with 15.5mmol/L of morpholineoethanesulfonic acid. In the treatment groups of different Zn sources, 0.616mmol/L (40mg/L) was added to the media. The 3.5mL of Zn dose was injected and incubated 30min in the abdomen cavity. The μ-XRF and μ-XAFS were used to analyze the relative quantity, distribution and chemical state of Zn in the intestinal wall, and atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) was used to verify Zn concentration in the whole intestinal sac. The results showed that ZnMet and ZnLys group samples have a greater amount of zinc in the intestinal wall specific region than ZnSO4 group. The Zn chemical state of organic Zn and ZnSO4 group were identical in intestinal wall specific region. In addition, the Zn concentration achieved using ZnMet was greater than that for ZnLys and ZnSO4 (P<0.05) as measured by AAS. As observed in this experiment, organic zinc was more easily absorbed than inorganic Zn.


      PubDate: 2014-01-13T07:35:27Z
       
  • Effect of dietary supplementation with omega 3 on clotting time,
           fibrinogen concentration and platelet aggregation in the athletic horse
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): Giuseppe Piccione , Simona Marafioti , Claudia Giannetto , Michele Panzera , Francesco Fazio
      Twenty clinically healthy and regularly trained horses, 10 Sella Italiana (Jumper) and 10 Thoroughbreds, were randomly divided into two subgroups. The first subgroup received a dietary supplement Omega Horses 70ml/day for 30 days (experimental group); the second subgroup received no dietary supplement (control group). All horses were subjected to a simulated race to test their performance levels. The same race was performed on both groups at the end of experimental period. On blood samples, collected before and after the first test (T0-T0pe), every 7 days for a month (T1-T2-T3-T4) and after the second test (T4pe), Prothrombin Time (PT), Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (APTT), Fibrinogen Concentration (Fb) and platelet aggregation were assessed. The application of two-way repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) identified a significant effect of time (4 weeks monitoring) on PT only in Jumpers, on APTT and Fb both in Jumpers and Thoroughbred. A statistically significant effect of treatment was observed during the 4 weeks of monitoring on PT, APTT and Fb while no significant change was observed on platelet aggregation. Both experimental groups showed higher PT and APTT values and lower Fb values than control groups. Moreover, a statistically significant effect of treatment was observed on PT and Fb in T4-T4pe periods in both breeds. This study highlights the effects of omega 3 dietary supplementation on horse’s clotting parameters providing useful information to improve athletic horse’s management.


      PubDate: 2014-01-13T07:35:27Z
       
  • The grazing behavior and diet selectivity of two lamb breeds on secondary
           successional pastures in the Chiloé Archipelago
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 10 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): M.A. Gallardo , J. Rivero , L. Faúndez
      The aim of this experiment was to investigate the grazing behavior and diet selectivity of the Chilota and Suffolk Down lamb breeds on secondary successional pastures in the Chiloé Archipelago (Chile). Eight Chilota and six Suffolk Down lambs (males) and their dams were selected and marked on their backs with an identification number. A 1-ha paddock of Calafatal (the principal feed resource for ruminants in Chiloé) was used every month. Additionally, every month, eight Chilota lambs and their dams were allowed to graze a 1-ha paddock of naturalized pasture. Data were recorded over a 24-h period once a month for 3 consecutive months through direct observations of grazing behavior. Subsequently, feces were extracted for microhistological analysis. The results showed that the consumption of grasses was highest and the consumption of shrubs the lowest despite the dominance of shrubs in Calafatal. The longer browsing times for Chilota lambs (P=0.02) did not reflect a higher content of shrubs in their feces relative to Suffolk Down lambs (P=0.01). Although the diet composition was similar between breeds and between pastures, the richness of plant species (particularly grasses) and the selection of plants by lambs were higher in Calafatal than in naturalized pasture due to the higher grass content of the naturalized pasture. In summary, Chilota and Suffolk Down lambs grazing Calafatal showed a similar grazing behavior. The longer browsing times of Chilota lambs did not reflect a higher shrub content in their feces relative to Suffolk Down lambs.


      PubDate: 2014-01-13T07:35:27Z
       
  • Growth performance of heavy pigs fed restrictively diets with decreasing
           crude protein and indispensable amino acids content
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): L. Gallo , G. Dalla Montà , L. Carraro , A. Cecchinato , P. Carnier , S. Schiavon
      This study aimed to investigate the effect of decreasing dietary crude protein (CP) and indispensable amino acid (AA) content, relative to conventional diets, on growth performance of heavy pigs for dry cured ham production. Four dietary treatments (conventional: CONV, medium-high protein, medium-low protein, and low protein: LP) were formulated by replacing soybean meal with wheat grain to contain 146 to 117 and 133 to 108g CP/kg in early (90 to 130kg BW) and late finishing (130 to 165kg BW) periods, respectively. Within period, diets contained the same amounts of indispensable AA per unit of CP, and the standardized ileal digestible (SID) Lys content was 42.2 and 35.5g/kg of CP in early and late finishing periods, respectively. A total of 240 crossbred pigs, grouped in 3 batches of 80 pigs each, were assigned to one of 4 dietary treatments according to BW and sex (10 pigs per pen, gilts and barrows, and 2 pens per treatment in each batch). Pigs were fed restrictively using a single-space electronic feeder, and feed allowance increased from 2.4 at the start (92±10kg BW) to 3.2kg/d at the end of the trial (167±10kg BW), irrespective of sex. Initial and final BW and backfat depth (P2) measures were used to estimate body composition, and lipid and protein retention (Lr and Pr, respectively). These estimates, along with feed intake data, were used to study the partitioning of ME and SID Lys among body functions. Nitrogen excretion (NEx) was estimated as actual N intake – N retention, and N retention was computed as Pr/6.25. Final BW, average daily gain and final P2 backfat averaged 167kg, 0.665kg/d, and 18mm, respectively. Diet had no effect on these traits, as well as on gain to feed ratio (0.253), Lr (265g/d), Pr (95g/d), and the ME available for maintenance (0.845MJ/kg BW0.60). From CONV to LP the SID Lys intake decreased from 137 to 122g/kg Pr, and NEx decreased by 22%. In this production system, a reduction of dietary CP and indispensable AA content is advisable, as no negative impact on growth performance was observed compared to CONV. A reduced inclusion of soybean meal with a minimal supplementation of AA reduces feed costs and NEx. This would increase the number of pigs raised per unit of land where a maximum N load/ha is constrained by law.


      PubDate: 2014-01-13T07:35:27Z
       
  • Effect of Moringa oleifera leaf meal on growth performance, apparent
           
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 January 2014
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): T.T. Nkukwana , V. Muchenje , E. Peterse , P.J. Masika , T.P. Mabusela , L.C. Hoffman , K. Dzama
      The effects of dietary supplementation of Moringa oleifera leaf meal (MOLM) as a growth promoter on the growth performance, apparent digestibility, digestive organ size, and carcass yield of broiler chickens were investigated. A total of 2400 one-d-old Cobb-500 broiler chicks of mixed sex were randomly allocated to five dietary treatments in six replications of 80 birds per pen. Fresh, green and undamaged mature M. oleifera leaves were collected from a number of trees from the same village to avoid variations in soil micronutrient content; and. were grinded to produce MOLM. Dietary treatments were as follows: positive control (+C) with 668g salinomycin and 500g zinc bacitracin per kg of feed; MOLM low (ML; 1, 3 and 5); MOLM medium (MM; 3, 9 and 15g); MOLM high (MH; 5, 15 and 25g)] per kg of feed; and a negative control (-C; without supplementation). Diets were fed for 35 d in starter, grower and finisher phases; and birds were provided feed and water ad libitum. At 35d of age, 12 birds per treatment, 2 from each replicate pen, were randomly selected, electrically stunned at 70V and killed by cervical dislocation for determination of carcass and organ weights. Bird weight at 7 and 21 d of age, birds fed MH had the highest BW, while +C had the lowest (P<0.05). No significant differences were observed in FI between treatments during periods from 0 to 21 d and 0 to 35 d, respectively; FCR was highest (P<0.05) in birds supplemented with MOLM, except for MM; and was lowest in those on the +C. Birds in ML had the highest thigh weights, and MH had the lowest (P<0.05). Gizzard erosion score was lowest in MH and highest in MM (P<0.001). Mortality rate was highest (P<0.05) in MH from d 22 to 28 and was lowest in ML and MM (1.3% vs. 0.21%); and was mainly due to sudden death. There were no significant differences in apparent digestibility for ash, ether extract (EE), crude fibre (CF), crude protein (CP), acid detergent fibre (ADF) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF) among treatments. It was concluded that supplementation of M. oleifera leaf meal up to 25g per kg of feed did not impair nutrient utilization efficiency, but enhanced the bird's genetic potential for growth performance.


      PubDate: 2014-01-13T07:35:27Z
       
  • Water sprinkling market pigs in a stationary trailer. 1. Effects on pig
           behaviour, gastrointestinal tract temperature and trailer micro-climate
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 December 2013
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): J. Fox , T. Widowski , S. Torrey , E. Nannoni , R. Bergeron , H.W. Gonyou , J.A. Brown , T. Crowe , E. Mainau , L. Faucitano
      Pigs are often transported to slaughter under conditions outside their thermo-neutral zones, which can lead to reduced welfare and increased losses. Water sprinkling in barns is used to control microclimate resulting in pig body temperature reduction and improved welfare; however there is no clear evidence of these effects during transport. The aim of this study was to observe the effect of sprinkling pigs in trailers on behaviour and body temperature during transport and lairage, as well as to observe the effects on trailer microclimate e. In each of 12 weeks, 2 pot-belly trailers with 208 pigs each (n=4,992) were transported from the same farm on the same day 2h to slaughter. One trailer was equipped with sprinklers that ran for 5min (∼125L) before departure and before unloading, the other trailer served as the control. In each trailer, 4 compartments were outfitted with cameras, ammonia detectors and temperature/humidity data loggers. The gastrointestinal tract temperature (GTT; °C) of 4 randomly chosen pigs (n=384) in each test compartment was recorded using orally administered data loggers. Trailer and deck loading order were randomized. Behaviour during transport, unloading and lairage was recorded from video or live observations. Data were analyzed through ANOVA with ambient temperature external to the trailer (AmbT) as a covariate. AmbT averaged 19.5°C±3.8°C (range: 13.6 to 25.8°C). Sprinkled trailers showed lower (P=0.002) increases in internal compartment temperature from loading to unloading, smaller (P<0.001) decreases in humidity and no difference in ammonia levels. At AmbT>23°C, there was no effect of sprinkling on behaviour on the trailer, but at AmbT<23°C, more pigs stood on sprinkled trailers (P<0.05). Sprinkling did not affect slips or falls during unloading. In lairage, latency to rest was reduced as AmbT increased for all compartments (P<0.05); sprinkled pigs spent more time lying (P<0.05) and had fewer drinking bouts than controls (P<0.001) regardless of AmbT. GTT increased between loading and departure and decreased during transit for all pigs (P<0.001); and sprinkling tended to further reduce GTT at arrival at AmbT>24°C (P=0.08). These data suggest that sprinkling pigs in a stationary vehicle when AmbT exceeds 23°C has the potential to prevent increases in body temperature during short duration transport without detrimental effects on ammonia levels or behaviour during unloading.


      PubDate: 2013-12-24T02:31:34Z
       
  • Dalagh: An Iranian half-tailed sheep breed with continuous annual ovarian
           activity at a mid-latitude temperate region
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 December 2013
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): S.R. Hassani , Y. Jafari Ahangari , F. Moslemipour , A. Akhlaghi
      At mid and high latitudes, seasonal breeding is prevalent in sheep production which makes ewes to reproduce for a restricted window of time. Unconfirmed local reports have declared a continuous reproductive activity in a half-tailed sheep breed, Dalagh, at a mid-latitude region (37°N) in Golestan province, northern Iran. The present study aimed to evaluate the ovarian and thyroidal activity in Dalagh ewes during a one-year-long trial. Fifty-five fertile healthy ewes were isolated from rams and bled weekly to quantify the serum levels of progesterone (P4), tri-iodothyronine (T3), and tetra-iodothyronine (T4), using radioimmunoassay. The day-length and ambient temperature were recorded daily. The lowest overall mean of P4 level was recorded in winter; whereas, no differences were found among those of other seasons. The overall mean values of serum T3 level were comparable in spring, autumn, and winter, being higher than that recorded in summer. The highest mean value of T4 level was found in winter and the lowest ones were observed in spring and summer with that of autumn lying between these extremes. The weekly variation of P4 level showed a decreasing trend towards the end of the trial, where the highest P4 levels were found in late May and September and the lowest one was noted in mid March. Interestingly, individual weekly records of P4 for each ewe revealed that none of the animals studied showed an 8-week or longer period wherein P4 level fell below 1ng/mL, the threshold reported for anestrous status. Although T3 levels had a steady trend, serum T4 showed an increasing trend as the trial proceeded, with the highest and lowest records found in January and July, respectively. Correlation coefficients between serum P4, T3, and T4 levels with day-length were +0.21, –0.25, and –0.42, respectively. The corresponding values with ambient temperature were +0.30, –0.57, and –0.84 for P4, T3, and T4, respectively. Data suggested that despite reproducing in a mid-latitude temperate region, Dalagh ewes showed a continuous cyclicity in ovarian activity throughout the year that would be beneficial to exploit it in breeding schemes to decrease seasonality at mid or possibly high latitudes. Future studies may be interested in searching for the underlying mechanism(s) involved.


      PubDate: 2013-12-24T02:31:34Z
       
  • Cryo-survival, Cryo-capacitation and Oxidative Stress Assessment of
           Buffalo Spermatozoa Cryopreserved in New Soya Milk Extender
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 December 2013
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): V.K. Singh , R. Kumar , S.K. Atreja
      Egg yolk is most commonly used in semen extenders for cryopreservation but, wide variability in composition and potential risk of xenobiotic contamination has raised questions upon the use of egg yolk. Therefore, present study was designed to develop a soya milk based phytoextender for buffalo semen cryopreservation. Soya milk was prepared from fresh soya beans in laboratory. Soya milk (25% v/v) and glycerol (6.4% v/v) was added in Tris citrate buffer to prepare Soya Milk Tris (SMT) extender. To improve post-thaw sperm quality, cryo-protectants like trehalose (100mM) or taurine (50mM) was supplemented in SMT extender before semen cryopreservation. Post-thaw quality parameters, degree of cryocapacitation and oxidative stress (lipid peroxidation) of spermatozoa cryopreserved in SMT with or without additives were assessed and compared with Egg Yolk Tris (EYT) extender. SMT extender showed no significant (P>0.05) differences in sperm motility, viability, membrane integrity and acrosome integrity as compared to EYT extender. The degree of cryocapacitation and oxidative damage were found significantly (P<0.05) lower in spermatozoa cryopreserved in SMT extender as compared to EYT extender. Supplementation of additives (trehalose or taurine) in SMT extender significantly (P<0.05) reduced oxidative damage. Thus, soya milk extender (25% soya milk v/v; 6.4% Glycerol in tris citrate buffer) with additives (trehalose or taurine) may substitute conventional egg yolk extender (20% egg yolk v/v; 7% Glycerol in tris citrate buffer) for better cryopreservation of buffalo semen.


      PubDate: 2013-12-24T02:31:34Z
       
  • Histological evaluation and Prdm9 expression level in the testis of
           sterile male cattle-yaks
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 December 2013
      Source:Livestock Science
      Author(s): Y.N. Lou , W.J. Liu , C.L. Wang , L. Huang , S.Y. Jin , Y.Q. Lin , Y.C. Zheng
      The main objective of the present study was to reveal whether the histological structure of testis and the Prdm9 (PR domain containing 9) mRNA level in testis of hybrid sterile yak (i.e. cattle-yaks) differed from that of normal adult yak (Bos grunniens). A partial conserved sequences of yak Prdm9 gene from yak testis was cloned using RT-PCR for the first time, and a 1084bp fragment was obtained, which showed high nucleotide and amino acid similarities with those of cattle. Based on this sequence, a quantitative real-time PCR method was developed to compare Prdm9 mRNA levels in the testes of adult yaks (n=8), yak calves (n=4), and hybrid sterile yaks (n=4). Results showed that the mRNA levels of Prdm9 decreased dramatically in the testes of sexually immature yak calves and sterile male cattle-yaks compared with that of normal adult yaks. In addition, compared with normal adult yaks, most seminiferous tubules of cattle-yaks had only Sertoli cells and a few spermatogonia but no spermatocytes, while a few other seminiferous tubules of cattle-yaks contained pachytene arrested spermatocytes. Cell apoptosis analysis showed that more spermatogonial cells and/or spermatocytes in cattle-yaks were subject to apoptosis than adult yaks. Our results suggest that Prdm9 gene might be associated with the male infertility of cattle-yaks.


      PubDate: 2013-12-24T02:31:34Z
       
 
 
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