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EVENT BRIEFS

18 January 2002

EVENT BRIEFS

&#8226 BETTER understanding of varietal development could help growers target flowering date for wheats to maximise yield according to where they are in the country, said ADAS principal research scientist John Spink.

"Grain filling in wheat lasts about 700 day degrees. The earlier the flowering, the longer the likely time that will take, hence the longer the grain-fill period and the higher the yield," he explained. However, drilling too early with a variety that develops too fast can expose crops to frost risk, he warned.

&#8226 LOOK carefully at your own land before following cultivation trends, advised Mr Bide, referring to the trend to large-scale minimal tillage establishment. "Its very easy to be drawn into fashion. But at the end of the day you have to ask yourself what is best for your own soils. There are so many soils out there that wont tolerate min-till. We mustnt forget the plough."

&#8226 TILLERING may occur later in the north, but varieties seem to produce a similar number of tillers regardless of latitude.

That is the initial indication of an ongoing HGCA wheat study, suggesting that the trend for lower seed rates could be pushed further north.

"Lower ear numbers is what is expected when the seed rate is reduced, but we have not seen that based on this one years evidence," said ADASs John Spink.

&#8226 MODERN plant breeding could halve the costs of disease protection, according to Neil Paveley of ADAS.

Untreated yields have barely changed in the past 15 years, as breeders have concentrated on yield and quality.

However, new techniques, such as marker assisted breeding, could allow all the plant self-defence mechanisms – disease escape, resistance and tolerance – to be combined.

"If we could stack them all together we could see a cost reduction of 50%," says Dr Paveley. &#42

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EVENT BRIEFS

12 October 2001

EVENT BRIEFS

&#8226 A GROUP of 606 farm workers and their families, called the PHLS Farm Cohort, are being screened for zoonotic diseases. According to Daniel Thomas of the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, Wales, the group acts as an indicator of emerging zoonoses which may also affect public health on farm visits.

&#8226 PREVENTING toxins from contaminating animal feed stored on farm is critical to ensure that meat reaching consumers is wholesome and safe, said BOCM Pauls pig development manager Brian Vernon.

"Feed bins must be thoroughly cleaned twice a year in March and October, when night and day temperatures are shifting, to prevent feed spoilage by bacteria, such as salmonella," he said.

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EVENT BRIEFS

2 April 1999

EVENT BRIEFS

uPROSTAGLANDINS such as Estrumate and Prosolvin do not compromise cow fertility. Gareth Starbuck of University of Nottingham quashed controversy over whether the drugs compromised the corpus luteums ability to produce progesterone and ensure embryo survival.

uRAPIDLY wilting silage can increase sheep intakes by 8-10% compared with grass wilted in the swath. But Writtle Colleges Julian Hill warned that high DM silage could be unstable, a concern because sheep ate through a clamp more slowly than cattle. "Aim for 30% DM for the best result."

uSCANNING backfat levels in sheep at 21 weeks may be too early for later maturing breeds, which have low fat depths at that time, said SACs Ron Lewis.

uSYNCHRONISING ovulation as well as heat in dairy cows could help increase conception rates further. Nottingham Universitys George Mann said that this would be a cheaper option than using two inseminations, particularly when using high genetic merit semen. &#42

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EVENT BRIEFS

2 April 1999

EVENT BRIEFS

uPIGLETS suffer just as much stress from being given iron orally as by injection, with most stress coming simply from being handled. Work at ADAS Terrington, Norfolk, shows that handling piglets increased stress levels, masking the impact of the chosen method of giving iron to prevent anaemia, explained researcher Richard Wynn.

uHUNGER is more likely to drive piglets to creep feed than the desire to explore. Edinburgh Universitys Herng-Fu Lee suggested this meant introducing creep gradually so piglets become hungry and are encouraged to return to the creep area.

uPUTTING boars in with newly weaned sows cannot be relied on to cut aggression, according to SAC Aberdeens Dale Arey. However, the trial found that where feed stalls were used, allowing sows continual access cut skin damage levels.

uTREATING gilts with Receptal – a treatment given to improve fertility in cattle – 12 days after service increased the number of pigs born by up to 0.5 pigs a litter. Treatment, given during the seasonal infertility period, needs more research, but potentially has a role in controlling the problem, said Royal Vet College PhD student Mandy Dawson. &#42

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EVENT BRIEFS

2 April 1999

EVENT BRIEFS

&#8226 THERE is no difference in pain levels whether docking lambs using rubber rings on or between tail vertebrae, according to Andrew Notman of Writtle College, Essex.

&#8226 HIGH energy concentrates can be replaced with home mixed diets or grainbeet, giving a significant cost saving. However, trials by Newton Rigg researcher Charlie Minter show that lambs will grow 25% more slowly and take 10-20 days longer to finish on cheaper rations, requiring greater planning where achieving target sale dates is important.

&#8226 ADDING sodium bicarbonate to sheep rations could help maintain intakes when concentrate is introduced. Sarah James, a PhD student at SAC Edinburgh, said that including bicarb at a rate of about 2% where diets are offered ad-lib could help overcome acidosis.

&#8226 FEEDING fishmeal allows ewes to mobilise body fat to produce more milk, giving better lamb growth rates than vegetable based replacer products, said Harper Adams researcher David Handford.

&#8226 EWES fed maize silage will tend to select the grains, meaning predicted ration energy and protein levels can be unbalanced, said Harper Adams Simon Marsh. He advised feeding more protein to balance rations.

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EVENT BRIEFS

26 March 1999

EVENT BRIEFS

&#8226 HORN lesions account for 60% of lameness cases, according to a DAISY survey. Reading Universitys Dick Esslemont explained that 36% of lameness was caused by skin lesions, 2% leg problems and 1.5% had no specific reason.

&#8226 CONSIDER using second-hand rubber quarry belting as they do in California for cows to walk on or to stand on at the feed face. This rubber belting will protect cows feet from concrete, said Gloucester vet Roger Blowey.

&#8226 NUTRITION has improved while claw horn disruption around calving has become worse, so its not as much to blame as some may believe, according to John Webster.

Claw horn disruption occurs four to six weeks before calving when they are under minimal nutritional stress.

However, more research is needed into how nutrients are partitioned in this period and into the influence of hormones. Roger Blowey argued, however, that some of the worst lameness outbreaks have been caused by poor nutrition, so it shouldnt be totally dismissed.

&#8226 ADEQUATE loafing areas are vital to reduce risks of digital dermatitis spread, said Roger Blowey.

Digital dermatitis is more common in herds that use automatic scrapers and have limited loafing area.

He suspects that loose muck, occurring when feeding wetter silage, may also increase digital dermatitis and mastitis risks.

&#8226 UNNECESSARY foot trimming is counter productive, says Roger Blowey. Lift and examine cows feet but only trim when necessary or when you need to check for white line lesions. Trimmers can take too much off; feet may look beautiful but cows must also be able to walk on them. &#42

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EVENT BRIEFS

2 October 1998

EVENT BRIEFS

USING dairy young sires for progeny testing across all age groups now advocated by Cogent.

Young sire semen was supplied on the basis of use on 90% of all milking heifers, says Cogent. But there is now evidence to suggest that using young sires across other age groups still yields high quality data for reliable UK proofs. It will pay for breed society registration and first classifications of Cogent-sired daughters.

COGENT has signed a full collaboration agreement with XY, the US-based company, which has exclusive rights to the semen sexing technology recently acquired by Cogent.

That means Cogent will now be able to train and exchange staff with XY and pool resources, with the aim of commercialising sexed semen as soon as possible.

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