Duration 3 years Team and Leader  Drs Peter Barrett, Scott Laidlaw, Sinclair Mayne and Mr Nigel Moore Organisations involved ARINI, Plant testing station, Crossnacreevy and CAFRE Background and Summary With current reductions in milk price, increased reliance on grazed grass offers one of the few opportunities to reduce production costs. However, in order to utilize grass successfully, frequent decision making is required in order to accomodate fluctuations in grass growth, both within and between seasons. Grass Check (Mark 1), which ran during 1999 - 2001, provided an...

Duration Team and Leader C S Mayne and JD Patterson Organisations Involved Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland and Greenmount College of Agriculture Background and Summary With current reductions in milk price, increased reliance on grazed grass offers one of the few opportunities to reduce milk production costs. However, successful utilization of grass requires frequent decision making in order to accommodate fluctuation in the pattern of grass growth both between and within years, in addition to changes in nutrient demands by the cow/herd through the...

Managing first lactation heifers to maximise welfare and productivity - QUB-D-40-08
Project title: Managing first lactation heifers to maximise welfare and productivity Team: Alastair Boyle (Proposed PhD student),  Supervisors: Drs Niamh O’Connell and Conrad Ferris Duration: 3 years – commencing June 2008  Organisations involved: AFBI (Hillsborough), Queens University Belfast Background to and summary of proposal: The post calving period represents a difficult time for first-lactation dairy heifers, when they experience a number of different challenges simultaneously.  In particular, the regrouping of heifers with older cows soon after calving may be particularly...

Project title: Improving Diagnostics of Bovine Johne’s Disease at the Herd and Animal Level  Project team:  Dr Sam Strain, Dr David Graham Duration:  36 Months Background to proposal: Bacteria of the genus Mycobacterium are gram-positive, acid-fast organisms that include a number of significant human and animal pathogens. The mycobacterial species M. avium is currently subdivided into three subspecies, M. avium subsp. avium (M. avium), M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Map), and M. avium subsp. silvaticum (M. silvaticum). Paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease) in ruminants is characterized...

Project title: Benchmarking and control of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus in Northern Ireland. Duration:   24 months. Background to proposal: Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) is an economically important pathogen in Northern Ireland dairy and beef herds. Losses may be associated with a wide range of reproductive effects, including conception failure and abortion, suppression of the immune system in calves, resulting in increased levels of pneumonia and diarrhoea, reduced milk yields, increased somatic cell counts and death of animals from mucosal disease, characterised by lameness, scour...