Publications by authors named "Alan W Gordon"

10 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The Effect of Frequency of Fresh Pasture Allocation on Pasture Utilisation and the Performance of High Yielding Dairy Cows.

Animals (Basel) 2020 Nov 21;10(11). Epub 2020 Nov 21.

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Large Park, Hillsborough BT26 6DR, UK.

Pasture allocation frequency (PAF) can influence pasture availability and grazing behaviour, which subsequently may impact on animal performance. Limited research to-date has investigated grazing management methods to improve the performance of high production dairy cows whilst also achieving high grass utilisation rates. This study evaluated the effect of three different PAF's (12, 24 and 36 h) on pasture utilisation, the performance of high yielding dairy cows and the interaction with parity. The experiment included two 60-day periods, 90 spring calving dairy cows (27 primiparous animals) in period one and 87 (24 primiparous animals) in period two. The average pre-grazing sward height (11.4 cm) was similar for all treatments in both periods. In period one, pasture utilisation rate was significantly higher (8%) in the 36 h compared to the 12 h treatment. In period two, milk energy output was significantly greater for primiparous animals in the 36 h treatment relative to the other treatments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani10112176DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7700211PMC
November 2020

The Effect of Beef Production System on the Health, Performance, Carcass Characteristics, and Meat Quality of Holstein Bulls.

Animals (Basel) 2020 Oct 19;10(10). Epub 2020 Oct 19.

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Large Park, Hillsborough, Co Down BT 26 6DR, Northern Ireland, UK.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of production system on the health, performance, carcass characteristics, and meat quality of autumn born (AB) and spring born (SB) Holstein bulls. The study involved a total of 224 Holstein bulls and was conducted over two years (2017/18, 2018/19). The four production system treatments differed during the grower period and consisted of: (i) grazed with no concentrate supplementation (G), (ii) grazed with 2 kg concentrate supplementation per day (G2), (iii) grazed with ad libitum access to concentrates (GA) and (iv) housed with ad libitum access to concentrates and grass silage (HA). All bulls were finished on ad libitum concentrates and grass silage and were slaughtered at a mean age of 15.5 months. Total grower dry matter intake (DMI) ( < 0.001) and total finishing DMI ( < 0.001) differed between production systems for both AB and SB bulls, with that of GA bulls being the greatest in both cases. Average daily gain (ADG) during the grower period was greatest ( < 0.001) for the HA production system in the AB bulls and the GA and HA production systems for the SB bulls. However, during the finishing period, G bulls had the greatest ( < 0.001) ADG of the AB bulls, while that of the SB bulls was from the G2 production system ( < 0.001). For both AB and SB, bulls on the GA and HA production systems produced heavier cold carcass weights than the G and G2 bulls ( < 0.001). There was no significant difference ( > 0.05) in health, carcass conformation, fat classification, or meat quality between production systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani10101922DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7589087PMC
October 2020

The effect of calf jackets on the health, performance, and skin temperature of dairy origin beef calves.

Transl Anim Sci 2020 Jan 7;4(1):316-323. Epub 2019 Nov 7.

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Hillsborough, United Kingdom.

Variations and extremities in climatic conditions can result in cold stress for dairy calves during the preweaning period. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of calf jackets on the health, performance, and skin temperature of dairy-origin beef calves. This study took place in a designated calf rearing unit, spanned for a duration of 1 yr, and consisted of five batches of calves. Calves (30.9 ± 1.68 d of age; 55.9 ± 0.20 kg live weight) were assigned to one of four treatment groups on arrival at the rearing unit. Treatments consisted of control (no jacket), arrival (jacket for 2 wk postarrival), weight (jacket for a minimum of 2 wk and until 65 kg live weight), and wean (jacket until 5 d postweaning). Ambient conditions differed significantly ( < 0.001) during each of the five batches; batch 4 was the coldest with a mean ambient temperature of 6.16 °C. Significant differences were observed between the five batches for day 50 weight ( < 0.01) and disease incidence ( < 0.05). However, treatment had no significant effect on calf health or performance ( > 0.05) during any of the five batches. Skin temperature was significantly greater ( < 0.001) for calves wearing a jacket. Furthermore, there was a significant ( < 0.001) relationship between ambient temperature-humidity index and skin temperature for calves with and without a calf jacket. Therefore, although calf jackets had no benefit in terms of health or performance, they did act as a barrier to environmental conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/tas/txz172DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7200583PMC
January 2020

Modern Holstein-origin dairy cows within grassland-based systems partition more feed nitrogen into milk and excrete less in manure.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Jul 8;727:138561. Epub 2020 Apr 8.

Sustainable Agri-Food Sciences Division, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Large Park, Hillsborough, County Down BT26 6DR, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

The objective was to determine whether modern Holstein-origin dairy cows, when managed within grassland-based systems, partitioned more feed nitrogen (N) into milk and excreted less in manure, in comparison to an earlier population of Holstein-origin dairy cows. Data used were collated from total diet digestibility studies undertaken in Northern Ireland from 1990 to 2002 (old dataset, n = 538) and from 2005 to 2019 (new dataset, n = 476), respectively. An analysis of variance indicated that cows in the new dataset partitioned a significantly higher proportion of consumed N into milk and excreted a lower proportion in urine and total manure, compared to cows in the old dataset. A second analysis using the linear regression revealed that in comparison to the old dataset, the new dataset had a lower slope in the relationship between N intake and N excretion in urine or total manure, while a higher slope in the relationship between N intake and milk N output. A third analysis used the combined data from both datasets to examine if there was a relationship between experimental year and N utilization efficiency. Across the period from 1990 to 2019, urine N/N intake and manure N/N intake significantly decreased, while milk N/N intake increased. These results indicate that modern Holstein-origin dairy cows utilize consumed N more efficiently than earlier populations. Thus, N excretion is likely to be overestimated if models developed from the old data are used to predict N excretion for modern dairy herds. Therefore, the final part of analysis involved using the new dataset to develop prediction models for N excretion based on N intake and farm level data (milk yield, live weight and dietary N concentration). These updated models can be used to estimate N excretion from modern Holstein-origin dairy cows within grassland-based dairy systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138561DOI Listing
July 2020

The Effect of Behaviour and Diet on the Rumen Temperature of Holstein Bulls.

Animals (Basel) 2019 Nov 19;9(11). Epub 2019 Nov 19.

School of Biological Sciences, Queens University Belfast, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK.

Rumen temperature boluses are becoming increasingly used as a means of monitoring core body temperature for the detection of ill health. However, the effect of behavior on rumen temperature is largely unknown. This research investigates the impact of behaviour and diet on the rumen temperature of Holstein bulls, both at grass, and in a housed environment. Rumen temperature was recorded at five-minute intervals using a bolus. Direct observations were conducted on young bulls in two studies (i) at grass ( = 30) and (ii) while housed ( = 32). In addition, activity monitors were attached to bulls at grass ( = 24). Within each study, diet differed by the level of concentrate supplementation. There was no effect of diet on rumen temperature. Significant differences in rumen temperature were observed between behaviour groups for bulls at grass < 0.001) and housed ( < 0.001). Furthermore, drinking resulted in the lowest rumen temperature (grass 35.97 °C; housed 36.70 °C). Therefore, rumen temperature is affected by behavior; however, the temperatures recorded were not outside the normal temperature range for healthy cattle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani9111000DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6912663PMC
November 2019

Understanding consumer liking of beef using hierarchical cluster analysis and external preference mapping.

J Sci Food Agric 2020 Jan 4;100(1):245-257. Epub 2019 Nov 4.

Food Research Branch, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Food Science Branch and Biometrics and Information Systems, Belfast, UK.

Background: This study was conducted to assess whether there are differences in consumer liking of beef. Samples were collected from different groups and analyses were conducted, including quantitative descriptive analysis, consumer panels and instrumental analyses. Palatability traits, such as aroma liking, tenderness, juiciness, flavour liking and overall liking (OL), were rated by consumers.

Results: Warner-Bratzler shear force was negatively associated with tender mouthfeel and consumer tenderness score. Cluster analysis identified four groups of clusters, which were described as 'easily pleased', 'bull beef liker', 'tender beef liker' and 'fastidious' consumers. Cluster group 2 awarded a higher score for bulls and located in a separate region on the external preference map.

Conclusion: External preference mapping showed the association between consumer liking of beef and sensory attributes. © 2019 Society of Chemical Industry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.10032DOI Listing
January 2020

Field Evaluation of Deltamethrin and Ivermectin Applications to Cattle on Host-Alighting, Blood-Feeding, and Emergence.

Viruses 2019 08 8;11(8). Epub 2019 Aug 8.

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, Northern Ireland, UK.

The impact of topical applications of deltamethrin and ivermectin to cattle on spp. landing and blood-feeding was studied in this work using sticky traps mounted on Friesian heifers' backs. There was no effect of the insecticides on total numbers of trapped or the proportion engorged. Deltamethrin and ivermectin treatment did not prevent blood-feeding on these animals. Deltamethrin did result in significant mortality as evidenced by the numbers of dead midges combed from heifers' upper flanks. The proximity of engorged midges on traps to dead midges in the hair suggests that blood-feeding took place despite midges receiving an ultimately lethal dose of deltamethrin. Ivermectin application resulted in a smaller proportion of nulliparous than parous females caught. There was no significant effect of ivermectin on the numbers of that emerged from dung samples (but was small at 0.095 for the Obsoletus group ). In cases of suspect animal imports, pour-on or spray applications of deltamethrin could reduce the risk of onward transmission of bluetongue virus.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v11080731DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6722592PMC
August 2019

Use of thermal imaging in dairy calves: exploring the repeatability and accuracy of measures taken from different anatomical regions.

Transl Anim Sci 2019 Jan 18;3(1):564-576. Epub 2018 Nov 18.

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Hillsborough, Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland.

Three experiments were undertaken to 1) quantify the repeatability and reproducibility of thermal imaging across day and operator experience and 2) assess the correlation between descriptive infrared (IR) temperature parameters from different anatomical areas and core body temperature in dairy calves under 12 wk of age. In experiment 1, a single operator captured 30 replicate images of both the left and right eyes (defined as the whole eye + 1 cm margin) and the rectal area (defined as the anus +1.5 cm margin) from each of 16 calves. In experiment 2, three operators of varying experience captured images from both the left and right eyes and the rectal area of each of 12 calves. In experiment 3, a single operator captured images of the right eye and rectal area for a period of 5 consecutive days for each of 205 calves. All images were captured between 0900 and 1300 h. Core body temperature, obtained via rectal thermometer, was recorded every day for each of the 205 calves following completion of IR image capture. Ambient temperature and relative humidity were adjusted for each thermal image prior to manual extraction of maximum, minimum, and average temperature parameters. In experiment 1, lowest error variance was found within the maximum temperature parameter and the right eye was determined as the most repeatable anatomical area, with 80.48% of the total proportion of variance attributed to the calf. Results indicated that capturing at least three replicate images would provide the precision required to identify ill-health in calves. In experiment 2, operator variance was low across anatomical areas, with values of ≤0.01°C for the right and left eyes and ≤0.04°C for the rectal area. In experiment 3, day to day variation of thermal image measurements and core body temperature were minimal across anatomical areas with values of ≤0.008°C. Correlations ranging from 0.16 to 0.32, and from 0.31 to 0.47 were found between maximum eye and core body temperature and maximum rectal area and core body temperature, respectively. Results of the present study indicate a low level of variability and high level of repeatability within IR temperature measurements in calves under 12 wk of age, particularly within maximum temperature parameters. Providing operators of varying abilities with a basic standardized protocol is sufficient to limit between-operator variation. Further research is required to investigate whether correlation between IR and core body temperature can be improved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/tas/txy126DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7200435PMC
January 2019

Black Border Increases Stomoxys calcitrans Catch on White Sticky Traps.

Insects 2018 Feb 2;9(1). Epub 2018 Feb 2.

Sustainable Agri-Food Sciences Division, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, 18a Newforge Lane, Belfast BT9 5PX, Northern Ireland, UK.

Stable fly, , is a biting fly that can cause severe irritation to livestock resulting in reduced productivity. The most common method of monitoring is through the use of sticky traps and many designs have been developed using different colours and materials such as alsynite fibreglass and polypropylene sheeting. Laboratory experiments and some field experimentation have demonstrated that colour contrast can attract . However, this response has not been fully utilised in trap design. To test that simple colour contrast could increase trap efficacy, white sticky traps were mounted on three differently coloured backgrounds (white, yellow, and black) and positioned at five sites on a mixed livestock farm. White sticky traps on a black background caught significantly more than the yellow or white backgrounds. An incidental result was that sp. were caught in greater numbers on the yellow framed traps. The reasons for attraction to black-white contrast are most likely due to conspicuousness in the environment although the extent to which flies are using this feature as a host-location cue or a perching site are unknown.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/insects9010013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5872278PMC
February 2018

A matched cohort study investigating the risk of Mycobacterium bovis infection in the progeny of infected cows.

Vet J 2012 Dec 27;194(3):299-302. Epub 2012 Jun 27.

Veterinary Epidemiology Unit, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dundonald House, Upper Newtownards Road, Belfast BT4 3SB, Northern Ireland, UK.

The aim of this study was to quantify the risk of bovine tuberculosis in the progeny of cows confirmed as having bovine tuberculosis. Historical computerised records were used to undertake a retrospective cohort study. The exposed cohort was defined as the last calf of dams that were diagnosed as having bovine tuberculosis during 2002. The progeny were only retained for subsequent analysis if they were born in the 9 months preceding slaughter of the dam and if they lived for more than 15 months. The unexposed cohort comprised of animals born in the same herd within 1 month of the exposed cohort and was matched one-to-one. The resultant dataset contained 1156 matched cohorts. Forty-two animals from the exposed cohort and 35 from the unexposed cohort had bovine tuberculosis. The relative risk was estimated at 1.2 (95% confidence interval 0.8-1.79). It was concluded that progeny of tuberculous dams were not at a significantly increased risk of Mycobacterium bovis infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tvjl.2012.05.005DOI Listing
December 2012
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