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Animal Production Science is an international journal publishing original research and reviews on the production of food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals. More

Editor-in-Chief: Wayne Bryden

 
 
 

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Published online 22 April 2014
Genetic and phenotypic parameters between yearling, hoggetand adult reproductive performance and age of first oestrus in sheep 
J. E. Newton, D. J. Brown, S. Dominik and J. H. J. van der Werf

Reproductive rate is an important profit driver in sheep enterprises. The aims of this study were to quantify the relationships between age at first oestrus and yearling reproductive performance, and reproduction performance across age classes in sheep. Our results support the current practice of analysing yearling reproductive performance as a separate trait from later reproductive performance in Australia’s genetic evaluation system and indicate that age at first oestrus is not a reliable measure of sexual maturity in sheep.

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Published online 22 April 2014
Season and reproductive status rather than genetics factors influence change in ewe weight and fat over time. 3. Analysis of Merino ewes 
S. F. Walkom, F. D. Brien, M. L. Hebart, S. I. Mortimer and W. S. Pitchford

The paper follows on from previous analysis within the series and examines the potential to select for reduced fluctuations in weight and fat across the production cycle in Merinos. The results suggest that the ewe’s genes do not influence the magnitude of fluctuations in weight or fat in response to environmental and reproductive stress. It is concluded that the ability to select against weight and condition change across the production cycle is limited and selection should instead be focussed on optimising ewe condition.

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Published online 11 April 2014
Season and reproductive status rather than genetics factors influence change in ewe weight and fat over time. 1. Analysis of crossbred ewes 
S. F. Walkom, F. D. Brien, M. L. Hebart, N. M. Fogarty, S. Hatcher and W. S. Pitchford

The paper is the first in a series and examines the potential to select for reduced fluctuations in weight and fat across the production cycle. The results suggest that neither sire breed nor sire influenced the magnitude of fluctuations in ewe weight or fat in response to environmental and reproductive stress. It is concluded that to avoid low fat reserves and low fertility during ‘tough’ periods, to improve adult ewe body condition and weight selection can be made on post-weaning measurements.

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Published online 09 April 2014
Early reproductive losses are a major factor contributing to the poor reproductive performance of Merino ewe lambs mated at 8–10 months of age 
B. L. Paganoni, M. B. Ferguson, S. Ferrio, C. Jones, G. A. Kearney, P. R. Kenyon, C. Macleay, C. Vinoles and A. N. Thompson

Embryo loss represents a major source of reproductive wastage in Merino ewe lambs. Their mean ovulation rate was 150%; however, up to 84% of this potential was lost by weaning. The major contributor to this deficit were losses occurring during the first 17 days after mating. Pregnancy success was significantly higher for ewe lambs from sires with higher breeding values for weight and fat at post-weaning age (8–10 months).

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Published online 09 April 2014
Increasing weight gain during pregnancy results in similar increases in lamb birthweights and weaning weights in Merino and non-Merino ewes regardless of sire type 
B. L. Paganoni, M. B. Ferguson, G. A. Kearney and A. N. Thompson

TOC Abstract

Birthweight is the single largest determinant of survival in lambs and can be predicted from ewe liveweight at conception and liveweight changes during pregnancy. Coefficients relating ewe liveweight change during pregnancy to lamb birthweights are similar for Merino and Maternal ewes, whereas conception weights of Maternal ewes are significantly heavier than Merino ewes when run together, and lamb birthweights from Maternal ewes are less responsive to ewe conception weights.

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Published online 01 April 2014
Correlations among various blood parameters at exsanguination and their relationships to pork quality traits 
J. H. Choe, M. H. Choi, Y. C. Ryu, K. S. Lim, E. A. Lee, J. H. Kang, K. C. Hong, S. K. Lee, Y. T. Kim, S. S. Moon, K. W. Lee, M. S. Rhee and B. C. Kim

Measuring blood stress indicators could be useful for improving animal welfare and meat quality. The current study measured various blood parameters from pigs under the standard pre-slaughter conditions using a portable analyser. Higher levels of blood lactate and glucose correlated with decreased pork quality. Therefore, measuring blood lactate and glucose could easily and quickly provide information about pork quality.

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Published online 28 March 2014
Whole-grain feeding for chicken-meat production: possible mechanisms driving enhanced energy utilisation and feed conversion 
Sonia Yun Liu, Ha H. Truong and Peter H. Selle

Whole-grain feeding regimes for chicken-meat production provide economic advantages by reducing feed costs while generating improvements in energy utilisation and feed conversion efficiency; however, the genesis of the performance improvements are not defined. The present paper considers the contexts in which these responses may be best realised. Identifying the drivers will enable the most appropriate WGF strategies to be adopted.

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Published online 28 March 2014
Monthly metabolisable energy feed requirements of crossbred ewes in accelerated and traditional lamb production systems 
N. M. Fogarty

Accelerated lambing potentially increases biological efficiency of lamb production and affects seasonal patterns of feed requirements. Metabolisable energy requirements were used to calculate dry sheep equivalents (DSE) and showed that crossbred ewes in accelerated lambing weaned 16–47% greater weight of lamb per DSE over 4 years than ewes in traditional systems. The increased efficiency of accelerated lambing requires a more consistent feed supply throughout the year.

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Published online 25 March 2014
Furanocoumarins in tedera do not affect ruminal fermentation in continuous culture 
M. H. Ghaffari, Z. Durmic, D. Real, P. Vercoe, G. Smith and C. Oldham

Tedera is a perennial pasture containing secondary compounds that has the potential to be utilised in the farm systems during the summer-autumn feed gap and reducing supplementary feeding. In our study, we showed that tedera was fermented without any adverse effects on digestibility or fermentability. These findings give further support for pursuing tedera as a fodder for growing regions of Australia.

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Published online 20 March 2014
Combining wavelet and linear-regression methods to model the effect of available forage on daily grazing and lying activity of mature Bos indicus cows during summer months 
M. S. Gadberry, W. Whitworth and G. Montgomery

Wavelet and linear regression methods were used to model time-of-day changes in behaviour due to available forage. The study concluded decreasing forage availability resulted in greater lying activity from 1000 to 1300 and greater grazing activity from 1300 to 2100. Understanding the dynamics between forage supply and behaviour could provide decision tools incorporating behaviour into drought management decisions.

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Published online 18 March 2014
The critical control points for increasing reproductive performance can be used to inform research priorities 
J. M. Young, J. Trompf and A. N. Thompson

Improving the reproductive performance of sheep is a national research priority, but identifying which components of the reproductive process should be the highest priority for further research is complex. This analysis determined the potential benefit to industry from increasing conception, survival of single- or twin-born lambs, survival of ewes at lambing, weaner survival and early reproductive success. Increasing the survival of twin-born lambs was the area with the highest pay-off, whereas increasing weaner survival had the lowest pay-off.

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Published online 07 March 2014
Genetic and phenotypic parameter estimates for growth traits of Hainan Black goat in southern China 
Han-Lin Zhou, Li-Hong Gu, Yan-Yan Sun, Tie-Shan Xu and Guang Rong

Knowledge of genetic parameters of economic traits is very crucial to breeding plans. However, there is no information on genetic parameter estimates for many traits of Hainan Black goats. In this study, we estimated the genetic parameters of growth traits of Hainan Black goats using two different animal models of MTDFREML software. The results would greatly improve the breeding plans of Hainan Black goats.

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Published online 07 March 2014
Influence of method of wheat inclusion and pellet diameter on performance, nutrient utilisation, digestive tract measurements and carcass characteristics of broilers 
Y. Singh and V. Ravindran

The influence of pellet diameter and whole wheat inclusion on gizzard development and performance of broilers was investigated. Whole wheat and larger diameter pellets increased the energy utilisation and starch digestibility, but gizzard weights differed depending on the method of whole wheat inclusion. The data showed that improvements associated with whole wheat feeding cannot always be explained on the basis of gizzard development.

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Published online 07 March 2014
Influence of dietary flavours on sheep feeding behaviour and nutrient digestibility 
J. J. Villalba, A. Mereu and I. R. Ipharraguerre

Ruminants ingest a diversity of forages, but in intensive feeding systems they are commonly fed single rations or pastures. The present study suggests that a diversity of flavours presented in the same ration has the potential to stimulate intake and alter eating behaviour in sheep. These effects may in turn contribute to enhance animal production and welfare.

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Published online 25 February 2014
Genetic divergence in residual feed intake affects growth, feed efficiency, carcass and meat quality characteristics of Angus steers in a large commercial feedlot 
R. M. Herd, P. F. Arthur, C. D. K. Bottema, A. R. Egarr, G. H. Geesink, D. S. Lines, S. Piper, J. P. Siddell, J. M. Thompson and W. S. Pitchford

The cost of feed is the largest recurring cost of producing beef. Inherited variation in feed efficiency is known and this experiment was to demonstrate the benefit in a large commercial feedlot of breeding cattle for improved feed efficiency. The results obtained confirm the feed saving advantages of inherited superior feed efficiency and that previously reported trade-offs in carcass traits, while confirmed, were minor.

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Published online 25 February 2014
Assessing the efficiency of using a modern hybrid rye cultivar for pig fattening, with emphasis on production costs and carcass quality 
Tomasz Schwarz, Wiktor Kuleta, Artur Turek, Ryszard Tuz, Jacek Nowicki, Bartosz Rudzki and Pawel M. Bartlewski

The primary goal of this study was to assess the usefulness of rye-containing dry mixes (modern rye cv. Visello) for pig fattening. Feeding the mixes in which a proportion of barley was replaced with the rye grain has yielded significantly better results than barley-containing diets in terms of carcass quality and price. These observations warrant further studies of different rye cultivars to determine their utility in intensive pig farming.

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Published online 21 February 2014
The association between polymorphism of the GH1 gene and changes in protein structure and carcass traits in Mehraban sheep (Ovis aries) 
A. Bahrami, S. R. Miraei-Ashtiani, H. Mehrabani-Yeganeh, H. Banani-Rad and Sh. Behzadi

We report the identification of five SSCP patterns in the sheep GH1 gene. The present study suggests a positive effect of SSCP patterns with carcass traits. We report the identification of two different protein structures in the GH1 protein. The identified SNPs in the GH1 gene could be used as molecular markers.

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Published online 21 February 2014
Comparison of the meat quality, post-mortem muscle energy metabolism, and the expression of glycogen synthesis-related genes in three pig crossbreeds 
H. G. Lei, L. Y. Shen, S. H. Zhang, Z. H. Wu, J. Shen, G. Q. Tang, Y. Z. Jiang, M. Z. Li, L. Bai, X. W. Li and L. Zhu

Pork makes a major contribution to worldwide meat consumption, and ways of improving meat quality are imperative. Variation in the rate of post-mortem pH decline is an important reason for variation in meat quality, but the mechanisms involved are not clear. In our research, we found that post-mortem energy status and metabolism might be important factors in the conversion of muscle to meat and might be important determinants of ultimate meat quality.

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Published online 18 February 2014
Mineral supplementation of lambing ewes grazing dual-purpose wheat 
S. R. McGrath, M. S. Bhanugopan, H. Dove, E. H. Clayton, J. M. Virgona and M. A. Friend

Dual-purpose wheat may be grazed by late-pregnant and lactating ewes during the winter in southern Australia. Results from two experiments with ewes grazing wheat crops during the lambing period identified that wheat forage may contain insufficient calcium, magnesium and sodium to meet ewe requirements. Providing a loose-lick mineral supplement to ewes can increase liveweight gain in twin-born suckling lambs.

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Published online 18 February 2014
Industry benefits from using genomic information in two- and three-tier sheep breeding systems 
B. J. Horton, R. G. Banks and J. H. J. van der Werf

A model of the sheep breeding industry examined the value of genomic information in sheep breeding programs. Benefits can be obtained by both the traditional three-tiered wool industry structure and studs using genomic information and selling directly to commercial producers, with most of the benefits retained by the commercial producers. The proportion of nucleus rams that use genetic tests must be optimised to achieve the maximum economic benefit.

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Published online 18 February 2014
Influence of cardamom essential oils and seeds on growth performance, blood characteristics and immunity of broilers 
Mosa Omidi, Kamran Taherpour, Javad Cheraghi and Hossein A. Ghasemi

The application of herbs and spice products as alternatives to antibiotics in raising broilers is receiving attention. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of cardamom seed and its essential oils on broilers and the results suggested that high levels of cardamom essential oils benefited feed efficiency and cholesterol metabolism. This could meet consumer demand for a safe feed additive.

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Published online 18 February 2014
Season and reproductive status rather than genetic factors influence change in ewe weight and fat over time 2. Spline analysis of crossbred ewes 
S. F. Walkom, F. D. Brien, M. L. Hebart, N. M. Fogarty, S. Hatcher and W. S. Pitchford

The paper follows on from previous analysis within the series and examines the potential to select for reduced fluctuations in weight and fat across the production cycle. The results suggest that the ewe’s genes do not influence the magnitude of fluctuations in weight or fat in response to environmental and reproductive stress. It is concluded that to avoid low fat reserves and low fertility during ‘tough’ periods, selection to improve ewe body condition can made at any time.

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Published online 18 February 2014
Genetic parameters for lamb autopsy traits 
D. J. Brown, R. M. Jones and G. N. Hinch

Genetic variation in lamb autopsy traits may offer selection opportunities to improve lamb survival. Lambs autopsied in the Australian Sheep CRC information nucleus flocks were used to estimate heritabilites and genetic correlations between traits. While the heritability of lamb survival is low, Lamb ease and thorax circumference appear to be useful indicator traits to improve lamb survival.

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Published online 14 February 2014
Bio-economic modelling of decisions under yield and price risk for suckler cow farms 
Simon Briner, Niklaus Lehmann and Robert Finger

The use of maize as a switch crop or the use of markets for roughage are the most efficient strategies to reduce financial risk of suckler cow farming. Applying a bio-economic optimization model we find that these strategies cause only low reductions of average gross margin. Our results also indicate that gross margin insurance is not attractive for farmers.

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Published online 14 February 2014
Spirulina (Spirulina platensis) algae supplementation increases microbial protein production and feed intake and decreases retention time of digesta in the rumen of cattle 
T. Panjaitan, S. P. Quigley, S. R. McLennan, A. J. Swain and D. P. Poppi

Algae are a novel protein source which could be grown on farm to provide a cheap protein supplement to cattle. Algae were compared to urea and sulfur as a nitrogen supplement and markedly increased intake and microbial protein production in cattle, more so than a simple urea and sulfur supplement. Algae are thus a new protein supplement which has the potential to markedly increase liveweight gain of cattle.

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Published online 11 February 2014
Effects of low protein diets on performance of pigs with a lean genotype between 40 and 115 kg liveweight 
L. Bunger, N. R. Lambe, K. McLean, G. Cesaro, G. A. Walling, H. Whitney, S. Jagger, P. Fullarton, C. A. Maltin and J. D. Wood

Effects of reduced dietary protein on performance and nitrogen (N) excretion were assessed to reduce the environmental impact of pig production. Pigs were given a control diet or a diet with reduced protein content, either with (LP1) or without (LP2) amino-acid supplementation. Compared with the control, N excretion was reduced (~18%) in LP1 and LP2, but the feed-conversion ratio was poorer, as was growth in LP2, but not LP1. This indicates the difficulty in maintaining consistently high performance when dietary protein levels are reduced.

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Published online 11 February 2014
Ewe lamb diet selection on plantain (Plantago lanceolata) and on a herb and legume mix, including plantain, chicory (Cichorium intybus), red clover (Trifolium pratense) and white clover (Trifolium repens) 
L. M. Cave, P. R. Kenyon, S. T. Morris, N. Lopez-Villalobos and P. D. Kemp

Within mixed swards containing herbs and legumes, little is known about ewe grazing preference. Ewe diet selection and grazing preference was found to be intrinsically affected by species availability, access and palatability across seasons. Overall, a herb and legume sward may allow livestock to preferentially select specific plants to meet their nutritional requirements at a given time point.

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Published online 11 February 2014
Effect of dietary inclusion level of a multi-species probiotic on broiler performance and two biomarkers of their caecal ecology 
Konstantinos C. Mountzouris, Irida Palamidi, Panagiotis Tsirtsikos, Michaela Mohnl, Gerd Schatzmayr and Konstantinos Fegeros

Nutritional approaches targeting improvement of animal performance and disease prevention are currently warranted and in this respect the dietary intake of beneficial microbes termed probiotics is being actively researched. The level of probiotic inclusion in broiler diets was shown to be relevant for benefits in performance, nutrient digestibility, gut microbiota composition and metabolic activities. Generally, this study supports further the role of probiotics for an improved gut function and as effective alternatives to dietary antibiotic growth promoters used in broilers.

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Published online 11 February 2014
Comparison of objective measures of pork colour traits during ageing of the longissimus muscle from pigs housed organically and conventionally 
J. Álvarez-Rodríguez, M. Tor, D. Cubiló, G. Ripoll, D. Babot and D. Villalba

Pork meat colour stability may differ between conventional and organic (not free-ranging) pig husbandry systems due to on-farm differences in feed ingredients and space allowance. Most objective measures of pork colour during ageing differed between husbandry systems, but canonical discrimination between conventional and organic pork based on colour was not possible. Three days of storage combined the best pork meat colour and haeminic pigment balance.

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Published online 11 February 2014
Monitoring liveweight in sheep is a valuable management strategy: a review of available technologies 
D. J. Brown, D. B. Savage, G. N. Hinch and S. Hatcher

Monitoring ewe liveweight may help farmers make more profitable decisions with regard to the management of their sheep flock. This review brings together the relevant literature demonstrating why sheep liveweight is important, and identifies and assesses available technologies for monitoring sheep liveweight. The findings suggest that walk-over weighing, an emerging liveweight monitoring technology, offers considerable potential to provide sufficiently timely and accurate flock average liveweight data to aid farmer decision making.

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Published online 07 February 2014
A review of the genetic and epigenetic factors affecting lamb survival 
F. D. Brien, S. W. P. Cloete, N. M. Fogarty, J. C. Greeff, M. L. Hebart, S. Hiendleder, J. E. Hocking Edwards, J. M. Kelly, K. L. Kind, D. O. Kleemann, K. L. Plush and D. R. Miller

Poor lamb survival limits the achievement of good reproductive efficiency of sheep in many countries. The opportunities for genetic improvement of lamb survival are reviewed, with the prospects found to be better than previously thought. Notwithstanding the importance of good nutrition and management, combinations of direct and indirect selection may ultimately make a valuable contribution to improving lamb survival.

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Published online 07 February 2014
Vitamin E status and reproduction in sheep: potential implications for Australian sheep production 
Shimin Liu, David Masters, Mark Ferguson and Andrew Thompson

Nutrient and environment related oxidative stress can impact rams and ewes during the reproductive period, resulting in low reproductivity and high lamb mortality. Managing oxidative stress of the newborn by giving ewes large dose of dietary antioxidants, like vitamin E and selenium, could boost immune competency of ewes and lambs to improve lamb survival. A number of related issues remain to be resolved for Australian environments.

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Published online 29 January 2014
The economic benefits of providing shelter to reduce the mortality of twin lambs in south-western Victoria 
J. M. Young, G. Saul, R. Behrendt, F. Byrne, M. McCaskill, G. A. Kearney and A. N. Thompson

Achieving higher lamb weaning percentages by reducing lamb mortality can improve the profitability of sheep enterprises. We estimated the financial benefits from providing shelter to reduce the mortality of twin lambs on two modelled sheep enterprises in south-west Victoria. The reduction in mortality that could be achieved was a key factor determining benefits and the profitability of sheep enterprises lambing during high chill weather conditions could be improved by providing low cost shelter.

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Published online 29 January 2014
Effects of different concentrations of ground oak acorn on growth performance, blood parameters and carcass characteristics of goat kids 
E. Froutan, O. Azizi, G. Sadeghi, F. Fatehi and S. Lashkari

Oak acorns have some adverse effects on animal production, which arise from the presence of some anti-nutritional factors such as tannins and phenolic compounds. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of different concentrations of ground oak acorn as source of hydrolysable tannin on growth performance of goat kids. The levels used had no adverse effect on growth performance.

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Published online 28 January 2014
Effect of dietary potassium supplementation on the calcium absorption capacity in the rumen and abomasum and fractional excretion of urinary minerals in sheep 
M. S. Bhanugopan, W. J. Fulkerson, M. Hyde and D. R. Fraser

High potassium (K) in the diet of sheep and cattle has been implicated in the incidence of milk fever and grass tetany (hypomagnesaemia). The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a high K diet on calcium (Ca) absorption in sheep. The results demonstrate that increased dietary K decreased Ca absorption and decreased magnesium (Mg) status of the sheep. Therefore, levels of both Ca and Mg should be considered when feeding high-K diets to ruminants, to reduce the risk of hypomagnesaemia and hypocalcaemia and to improve livestock health and productivity.

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Published online 28 January 2014
Outcomes of gestation length in relation to farrowing performance in sows and daily weight gain and metabolic profiles in piglets 
D. Mota-Rojas, R. Fierro, P. Roldan-Santiago, H. Orozco-Gregorio, M. González-Lozano, H. Bonilla, R. Martínez-Rodríguez, R. García-Herrera, P. Mora-Medina, S. Flores-Peinado, M. Sánchez and R. Ramírez-Necoechea

Little is known about the length of gestation in sows and its consequences for the health of neonate piglets. The aim of this study was to evaluate uterine activity at farrowing in sows with different gestation lengths, and its effect on the metabolic profile of neonates. Piglets born prematurely had lower birthweights and a higher incidence of apnoea, with severe physiometabolic alterations.

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Published online 14 January 2014
An integrative assay to quantify the nutritional quality of the selected diet of two Mediterranean free-living deer by faecal-FT-NIRS 
S. Tellado and C. Azorit

The cell wall digestibility (CWD) index is a suitable method for diet quality and fibre digestibility estimation. This manuscript provides a detailed description of fecal-NIRS calibrations for CWD ratio determination, which is a useful, non-invasive tool for monitoring variations in the diet quality of Mediterranean deer in their natural environment.

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Published online 14 January 2014
A comparison of deterministic and stochastic models for predicting the impacts of different sheep body lice (Bovicola ovis) management practices 
Brian J. Horton and Anna L. Carew

Models of louse prevalence in sheep were used to identify the management activities most likely to reduce costs associated with lice. The greatest predicted benefits were from improving the efficacy of treatment at shearing, and by greater attention to quarantine against lice entering on purchases or strays. A 25% increase in annual quarantine efficacy was predicted to reduce costs by one-third within 10 years of implementation.

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Published online 14 January 2014
Influence of cereal type and fat source on the performance and fat utilisation of broiler starters 
P. Tancharoenrat, V. Ravindran and G. Ravindran

The influence of cereal type (wheat, maize or sorghum) and fat source (soybean oil or tallow) on the performance and utilisation of fat in young broiler chickens was investigated. The effect of fat source on weight gain of broiler starters differed depending on the cereal base used. It was found that the feed efficiency and fat utilisation were better in birds fed soybean oil diets compared to those fed tallow supplemented diets.

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Published online 14 January 2014
A genetic study on sexual dimorphism of bodyweight in sheep 
Farhad Ghafouri-Kesbi, Ghodratollah Rahimi Mianji, Zarbakht Ansari Pirsaraei, Seyed Hasan Hafezian, Hasan Baneh and Bijan Soleimani

The genetic basis of sexual dimorphism of bodyweight in Zandi sheep was investigated. Except for birthweight, for which estimates of variance components and genetic parameters were higher in females, for other traits, estimates were higher in males. However, regarding direct and maternal effects, none of the differences between the sexes was significant, indicating no need for sex-specific selection strategies.

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Published online 14 January 2014
Prediction of diet quality for sheep from faecal characteristics: comparison of near-infrared spectroscopy and conventional chemistry predictive models 
D. G. Kneebone and G. McL. Dryden

This study evaluated the ability of equations developed from the analysis of faecal material by conventional chemistry, and by near-infrared spectroscopy, to predict intake and digestibility of forages fed with or without supplements. Good agreement between the conventional chemistry and near-infrared spectroscopy methods was evident (according to a 95% limits-of-agreement test), and both predicted the reference values precisely and with small bias.

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Published online 14 January 2014
Flow cytometric and microscopic evaluation of post-thawed ram semen cryopreserved in chemically defined home-made or commercial extenders 
M. Emamverdi, M. Zhandi, A. Zare Shahneh, M. Sharafi, A. Akhlaghi, M. Khodaei Motlagh, F. Dadkhah and N. Dadashpour Davachi

New approaches to improve post-thawed sperm quality in rams are needed. The results of this study showed that Tris-based extender containing 1.5% (w/v) soybean lecithin can maintain post-thawed sperm quality better than other commercial extenders investigated. The findings may be beneficial to improve artificial insemination efficiency in sheep industry.

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Published online 13 January 2014
Factors affecting reproductive performance of dairy cows in a pasture-based, automatic milking system research farm: a retrospective, single-cohort study 
S. Talukder, P. Celi, K. L. Kerrisk, S. C. Garcia and N. K. Dhand

The aim of this study was to highlight the potential risk factors that influence the reproductive outcome in automatic milking systems under pasture based condition. At the reported production levels and milking frequencies for Australian pastured cows, milk yield and milking frequency during 100 days in milk had no effect on reproductive measures. This type of study is important to minimise the reproductive losses by reviewing management strategies in automatic milking systems.

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Published online 13 January 2014
A 'protein bank' of Lotus uliginosus cv. Maku as an alternative to conventional protein supplements for weaned lambs grazing on natural pastures during summer and autumn 
L. Piaggio, M. de J. Marichal and A. Pastorín

Lambs born in spring were weaned in summer when they began to graze natural pastures. In summer, natural pastures commonly present low protein content. Restricted grazing of natural pastures improved with legumes resulted in similar or better performance than supplementation with soybean meal. Including in the feeding plan natural pastures improved with high-protein forage species is an alternative as effective as the supply of soybean meal.

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Published online 13 January 2014
Effects of rice straw versus wheat straw as ingredients in a total mixed ration on intake, digestibility and growth of Holstein heifers 
R. E. Rauch, G. Cun, G. A. Nader and P. H. Robinson

Rice straw has generally not been considered as a feed for dairy cattle in the developed world, partly due to its tough physical character. While our results confirmed the lower nutritional value of rice vs. wheat straw, they demonstrated the practical utility of using energy restriction/re-alimentation feeding systems to increase heifer growth efficiency.

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Published online 13 January 2014
Effect of processing time on the quality of dry-cured ham obtained from a native pig breed (Chato Murciano) 
Eva Salazar, Adela Abellán, José M. Cayuela, Ángel Poto, Francisco Girón, Pilar Zafrilla and Luis Tejada

Dry-cured ham derived from native pig breeds is a highly valued product. The biochemical changes that take place during the processing are responsible of the final sensory characteristics. The effect of a short and a long ripening time on Chato Murciano dry-cured ham quality was studied. Results suggest that an appropriate time of processing is 22 months.

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Published online 13 January 2014
Does producing more product over a lifetime reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase profitability in dairy and wool enterprises? 
Natalie A. Browne, Ralph Behrendt, Ross S. Kingwell and Richard J. Eckard

Greenhouse gas emissions from Australian agriculture are currently at 15% of national emissions and mitigation research is an important way of showing farmers how they might reduce their agricultural emissions. This research uses farm management practices to examine if producing more product across an animal’s lifetime affects emissions and profitability on farm enterprises. The results show that the potential for greater profitability on farm enterprises is driven more by increasing production than from claiming carbon offsets.

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Published online 06 January 2014
Effect of replacing dietary corn with beet pulp on energy partitioning, substrate oxidation and methane production in lactating dairy goats 
C. Ibáñez, M. C. López, P. Criscioni and C. Fernández

Substitution of corn with fibrous by-product into the diets of lactating dairy goats was studied. The fibrous by-product was beet pulp, and higher methane emission was observed than corn diet. Replacing corn with beet pulp did not compromise milk performance in dairy goats.

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Published online 06 January 2014
Effect of varying the proportion of molasses in the diet on intake, digestion and microbial protein production by steers 
D. V. Tuyen, X. M. Tolosa, D. P. Poppi and S. R. McLennan

Molasses is a widely used energy source for cattle in the tropics but the extent to which it supports microbial protein production in the rumen is unclear. This study investigated the effect of increasing the molasses content in the diet of steers on protein synthesis in the rumen and on intake of the animals. Protein synthesis was within expected limits but low intake remains a limitation to cattle production from molasses-based diets.

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Published online 19 December 2013
The leptin receptor is expressed in the Leydig cells of Merino rams, but its expression is not affected by long-term differences in the plane of nutrition 
J. Gil, P. Genovese, I. Sartore, A. Bielli, F. Montossi and C. Viñoles

Ram reproductive potential is affected by nutrition and its action at testicular level may be mediated by leptin, although the specific compartment expressing its receptor (Ob-Rb) remains uncertain. After 14 weeks of improved nutrition, we promoted histological changes linked to increased spermatogenesis, and found that the Ob-Rb expression in the Leydig cell cytoplasm was similar among treatments.

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Published online 19 December 2013
Lamb survival in Australian flocks: a review 
G. N. Hinch and F. Brien

A large source of reproductive wastage in the Australian sheep flock has traditionally been lamb loss at birth or in the neonatal period. This review examines the history of reported losses throughout Australia and the latest evidence for levels of lamb survival now that pregnancy scanning technologies are available. The review also examines the main causes of deaths and strategies for improving survival including nutrition, shelter and management choice to alter ewe-lamb bonding.

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Published online 19 December 2013
Milking permission and milking intervals in a pasture-based automatic milking system 
N. A. Lyons, K. L. Kerrisk and S. C. Garcia

Extended milking intervals have a negative effect on milk yield and udder health. Analysis of cow traffic data from an automatic milking system found that previous milking refusal was not the main cause of extended milking intervals. These cows could be sorted to an area close to the dairy; however, management should focus on reducing time cows spend between milkings in any one pasture allocation.

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Published online 17 December 2013
Isolation and characterisation of collagen from elk antler velvet 
Do Hun Lee, Heeok Hong, Gaurav Lodhi, Sun Hee Cheong, Pyo Jam Park, Tiejun Hu, Kim Sangwoo, Sang Ho Moon and Byong Tae Jeon

We extracted acetic acid-soluble and pepsin-soluble collagen from antler velvet. Thermal denaturation temperature and peptide mapping were similar between antler and porcine type I collagen. There is a possibility of using collagen extracted from elk antler velvet as an alternative to using porcine or cattle collagen for industrial purposes.

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Published online 16 December 2013
Energy requirements for maintenance and growth of entire male Bali cattle in East Timor 
Yuliaty, S. Low, J. Fisher and G. McL. Dryden

There is no published data on the energy requirements of growing Bali cattle. Bulls were fed diets similar to those commonly used in East Timor and their metabolisable energy requirements for maintenance and production were measured. Bali cattle energy requirements are similar to those of other beef breeds. This information will help improve feeding management and food security.

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Published online 16 December 2013
Effect of inulin and mannan-oligosaccharides compared with zinc-bacitracin on growing performance, nutrient digestibility and hematological profiles of growing rabbits 
Y. A. Attia, R. S. Hamed, A. E. Abd El-Hamid, H. A. Shahba and F. Bovera

It is important to identify valuable alternative to antibiotics in rabbit production to control the problem of antibiotic resistance of bacteria. Mannanoligosaccharides and inulin are able to effect similar results to antibiotics in rabbit growth. Mannanoligosaccharides were more effective than inulin at improving rabbit performance during growing.

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Published online 16 December 2013
Effect of season on microbial and chemical characteristics of milk and yoghurt from sheep 
Razzagh Mahmoudi, Reza Norian, Mohammad Reza Pajohi-Alamoti and Javad Aliakbarlu

The main purpose of this study was to find out the effect of season on chemical composition and microbial quality of milk and yoghurt produced from sheep milk. Data revealed that the quality of yoghurt samples made in winter was better than those made in summer; so the marketability of dairy products could be affected by season.

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Published online 16 December 2013
Plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) as pregnancy and lactation feed for ewes joined at 8 months of age 
M. C. Raeside, Z. N. Nie, M. Robertson, D. L. Partington and R. Behrendt

Dry matter production and nutritive characteristics of the pasture feed-base during pregnancy and lactation are key drivers of ewe and lamb performance. A paddock-scale field experiment in Victoria, Australia, evaluated plantain as a forage alternative to perennial ryegrass for lambing ewes. There were rarely differences in forage or livestock performance between the forage species. Based on our experiment, there are no clear benefits of using plantain instead of perennial ryegrass for lambing ewes.

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Published online 12 December 2013
Effect of dietary ellagic acid supplementation on semen quality parameters in chickens 
M. Shanmugam and S. V. Rama Rao

Ellagic acid present in fruits and nuts has been shown to have antioxidant and antiapoptotic properties. This study aimed to evaluate dietary supplementation of ellagic acid on rooster semen quality. The levels used had no effect on gross semen parameters.

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Published online 04 December 2013
Effects of organic and inorganic selenium supplementation during late pregnancy on colostrum and serum Se status, performance and passive immunity in Merghoz goats 
R. Kachuee, M. Moeini and M. Souri

Organic and inorganic Se supplementation would be useful for producers who raise animals in Se-deficient regions. There is higher efficiency of L-selenomethionin (Se-Met) than the sodium selenite (SS) supplement. The kids with adequate levels of Se obtain more maternal antibodies in colostrum. Both Se supplementations in pregnant goats improved Se status of goats and the newborn kids. The Se-Met supplement could have influenced passive immunity of kids.

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Published online 04 December 2013
Polymorphisms of LHβ and GnRHR genes and their association with the number of embryos recovered in goats 
M. Z. Fu, G. Li and Z. Q. Zhou

The candidate-gene approach could identify genes influencing the superovulatory response. The study was to analyse associations between the number of embryos recovered and polymorphisms of LHβ and GnRHR genes and showed that two SNPs had significant effects on the number of embryos recovered. LHβ and GnRHR genes are potential markers for the number of embryos recovered.

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Published online 03 December 2013
Metabolic and endocrine profiles of primiparous beef cows grazing native grassland. 1. Relationships between body condition score at calving and metabolic profiles during the transition period 
P. Soca, M. Carriquiry, M. Claramun, V. Gestido and A. Meikle

We analysed the effect of body condition at calving (BCS) on endocrine and metabolic profiles during the transition period in primiparous Hereford cows grazing native grassland. Cows with a BCS of 4 or higher showed higher metabolic resilience during transition periods associated with BCS evolution, IGF-I levels and changes in NEFA profiles. These patterns reflected the short- and long-term cow nutritional history.

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Published online 03 December 2013
Metabolic and endocrine profiles of primiparous beef cows grazing native grassland. 2. Effects of body condition score at calving, type of suckling restriction and flushing on plasmatic and productive parameters 
P. Soca, M. Carriquiry, M. Claramunt, G. Ruprechter and A. Meikle

The effect of body condition score at calving, suckling restriction and flushing on metabolic and reproductive responses of primiparous beef cows were investigated. Suckling and flushing affected metabolic endocrine profiles temporarily. The increase in insulin and IGF-I by flushing depended on the body condition score at calving, which was consistent with reproductive outcomes.

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Published online 26 November 2013
Effect of processing method on in sacco ruminal degradability of organic matter and nitrogen from canola seeds and in vitro intestinal nitrogen digestion of the in sacco residue 
S. A. Gunter, T. L. Springer, C. A. Loest and J. J. Goldman

Production of canola seed is increasing in the United States and alternate uses for seeds other than oil may be necessary in the future. On-farm use of whole canola seed for ruminant livestock production is discussed, but little is known regarding necessary processing to optimise digestion in grazing cattle. Grinding of whole canola seed should provide a viable protein supplement that requires minimal processing before feeding.

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Published online 26 November 2013
Molecular cloning, expression analysis and developmental changes in ovarian follicles of goose 3?-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 
Yingying Zhang, Hehe Liu, Mingjun Yang, Shengqiang Hu, Liang Li and Jiwen Wang

Yolk hormones play an important role in the regulation of offspring development through maternal effects. In this study, we aimed to determine whether the enzyme 3βHSD1 has an effect on yolk progesterone; we found that 3βHSD1 in the follicular wall may play a key role in the accumulation of yolk progesterone. This finding may be used to improve the quality of offspring by further research.

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Published online 26 November 2013
Evaluation of fermented Alisma canaliculatum with probiotics as potential feed additives for finishing Hanwoo (Bos taurus coreanae) steers 
H. S. Mun, S. T. Ahmed, J. A. Hwang, Y. J. Kim and C. J. Yang

The combination of medicinal plants and probiotics is a new possibility for addition to cattle feed supplements, as it provides complementary antioxidant and antimicrobial activities and lacks side effects. This study aimed to ferment Alisma canaliculatum with multi-strain probiotics and investigate its effects on Hanwoo steers. Alisma canaliculatum probiotics showed a potential role in improving growth performance, carcass characteristics and meat oxidative stability of beef cattle.

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Published online 26 November 2013
The effect of peri-conceptual grazing of live pasture on fetal numbers in unsynchronised ewes 
S. M. Robertson, B. J. King, M. B. Allworth, J. Rummery and M. A. Friend

Short-term elevated nutrition around mating is a potential means of increasing the number of lambs born to ewes. This study showed that ewes grazing live pasture for 7 days before and during the first 7 days of mating in autumn can produce more lambs than those grazing dead herbage. This method provides a simple, natural means of increasing lamb production.

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Published online 26 November 2013
Biological effect of tannins from different vegetal origin on microbial and fermentation traits in vitro 
R. Rodríguez, G. de la Fuente, S. Gómez and M. Fondevila

Three tropical browse legumes were assayed in vitro to estimate the proportion of the response in different parameters when tannins are inactivated with polyethylene glycol (biological effect). Tannins differing in their amount or chemical nature may have different biological effect and this may be an easy and rapid index of the microbial fermentation pattern of tropical feeds.

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Published online 26 November 2013
Image-processing technique to measure pig activity in response to climatic variation in a pig barn 
A. Costa, G. Ismayilova, F. Borgonovo, S. Viazzi, D. Berckmans and M. Guarino

Automatic monitoring of farm animals could be a useful tool in large-scale husbandry. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between pig activity and environmental parameters in a piggery by means of image analysis. Climate variations affected occupation and activity indices of animals, which could be used as indicators of the of pigs’ physiological status change in response to external inputs.

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Published online 26 November 2013
Ruminal pH and whole-tract digestibility in dairy cows consuming fresh cut herbage plus concentrates and conserved forage fed either separately or as a partial mixed ration 
J. S. Greenwood, M. J. Auldist, L. C. Marett, M. C. Hannah, J. L. Jacobs and W. J. Wales

Feeding high amounts of supplements to grazing dairy cows as a mixed ration containing maize grain can increase milk production responses compared to traditional systems of feeding supplements. An experiment showed that cows fed PMR had higher ruminal pH than cows fed grain and silage separately, but that this did not result in any changes to whole tract digestibility. Benefits of PMR systems are presumably related to increased intake of both supplement and pasture rather than improvements in digestibility.

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Published online 19 November 2013
Optimising a crossbreeding production system using three specialised imported swine breeds in south-western China 
Guoqing Tang, Ruifei Yang, Jia Xue, Tianfei Liu, Zhiyao Zeng, Anan Jiang, Yanzhi Jiang, Mingzhou Li, Li Zhu, Lin Bai, Surong Shuai and Xuewei Li

Commercial producers should access available crossbreeding systems using existing swine breeds before application. In this study, the profits of terminal, rotational and rotaterminal cross were evaluated using three imported swine breeds in south-western China, and their profits were ¥3895.15, 3749.02 and 3317.33/sow, respectively. The results suggested terminal cross or rotaterminal cross should maximise effective use of heterosis and breed complementarity in China.

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Published online 12 November 2013
Sire effects on neonatal lamb vigour and following-behaviour 
R. L. Hergenhan, G. N. Hinch and D. M. Ferguson

Starvation/mismothering is a major cause of lamb loss in the early neonatal period and is related to the ability of the ewe–lamb unit to maintain contact during this time. This study investigates whether Merino lambs from sires selected for high or low loss due to starvation/mismothering differ in lamb vigour, particularly at a time when the ewe would be moving away from the birth site and ewe–lamb contact would need to be maintained. Differences in lamb vigour at this time could help to explain why some sires have consistently high losses due to starvation/mismothering and have potential to be used as a selection tool.

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Published online 06 November 2013
Effects of organic selenium supplementation on growth performance, nutrient utilisation, oxidative stress and selenium tissue concentrations in broiler chickens 
Pietro Celi, Peter H. Selle and Aaron J. Cowieson

Supplementation of poultry diets with selenium is becoming a common practice to sustain bird health and boost production. In this study we compared two organic selenium sources (selenohomolanthionine and selenomethionine) in relation to growth performance, nutrient utilisation, oxidative stress and selenium tissue concentrations. While the birds performed similarly irrespectively of the two sources of selenium used, the ones supplemented with selenohomolanthionine had higher selenium concentration in muscle tissue, therefore selenium-enriched chicken meat might provide an important delivery system for this trace element to humans.

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Published online 06 November 2013
Acoustic-reward learning as a method to reduce the incidence of aggressive and abnormal behaviours among newly mixed piglets 
G. Ismayilova, L. Sonoda, M. Fels, R. Rizzi, M. Oczak, S. Viazzi, E. Vranken, J. Hartung, D. Berckmans and M. Guarino

Aggression in pigs is a serious issue in pig farming since it poses enormous welfare and economic problems. This study aimed to use acoustic-reward learning as a new approach to reduce the incidence of aggression among pigs. The presented method showed some potential to reduce the frequency and duration of aggressive actions among young piglets.

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Published online 06 November 2013
Principles for maximising operator efficiency and return on investment in rotary dairies 
J. P. Edwards, J. G. Jago and N. Lopez-Villalobos

Milk harvesting is a fundamental component of dairy farming and affects all parts of the business from cows to people and financial performance. Previous researchers have investigated strategies to improve the efficiency of different components of milking, without quantifying the effect that these strategies, or combinations of them, may have on the overall milking system. This study analysed the effect of rotary size, platform speed, cluster attachment time, milk yield and end-of-milking criteria on cow throughput, operator efficiency and return on investment.

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Published online 06 November 2013
Replacing wheat with canola meal in a partial mixed ration increases the milk production of cows grazing at a restricted pasture allowance in spring 
M. J. Auldist, L. C. Marett, J. S. Greenwood, M. M. Wright, M. Hannah, J. L. Jacobs and W. J. Wales

Different systems for feeding high amounts of supplements to grazing dairy cows were compared. Feeding supplements on a feedpad as a mixed ration containing canola meal can have milk-production advantages over feeding grain in the dairy at milking times. This information will be important for farmers needing to feed high amounts of supplements because of climate variability.

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Published online 31 October 2013
The effect of intake of lamb meat on energy metabolism of Sprague-Dawley rats: possible role of carnitine 
Xian-Chao Feng, Lin Chen, Su Zhuang, Xing-Lian Xu and Guang-Hong Zhou

There is potential for lamb to be promoted as a meat-based functional food. Carnitine from lamb has been found to reduce the liver fat content of rats. Meat-based functional foods are being seen as an opportunity to improve the ‘image’ of meat as a healthy product.

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Published online 31 October 2013
Qualitative behavioural assessment of the motivation for feed in sheep in response to altered body condition score 
C. A. Stockman, T. Collins, A. L. Barnes, D. Miller, S. L. Wickham, E. Verbeek, L. Matthews, D. Ferguson, F. Wemelsfelder and P. A. Fleming

Qualitative behavioural assessment (QBA) has been used to quantify the expressive behaviour of pregnant ewes at varying body condition score. Animals were assessed through QBA during a feed motivation test. Ewes maintained at BCS 3 scored low on GPA dimension 1 (i.e. were described as more calm/bored/comfortable) compared with ewes that had a slow declining BCS (described as more interested/anxious/excited).

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Published online 22 October 2013
Effect of perch type and stocking density on the behaviour and growth of broilers 
Jiao Hongchao, Yongbin Jiang, Zhigang Song, Jingpeng Zhao, Xiaojuan Wang and Hai Lin

High stocking densities can have adverse effects on the welfare of broiler chickens. The effects of stocking density and perch availability on the growth, behaviour, and health characteristics of broilers were investigated. The results suggest that perches have a limited effect on the performance, behaviour, and welfare of broilers stocked at high densities. The improvement of broiler welfare needs an all-encompassing solution rather than a modification of any single facility.

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Published online 22 October 2013
Liveweight gain and feed intake of weaned Bali cattle fed grass and tree legumes in West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia 
Dahlanuddin, O. Yanuarianto, D. P. Poppi, S. R. McLennan and S. P. Quigley

Weaning and improved feeding of weaned Bali cattle can improve cash flow of smallholder farming households in eastern Indonesia. This experiment aimed to evaluate feeding strategies to increase growth of weaned Bali cattle that may be implemented in village cattle production systems. Feeding certain tree legumes to weaned Bali cattle can increase liveweight gain and potentially increase household cash flow.

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Published online 22 October 2013
Progressing smallholder large-ruminant productivity to reduce rural poverty and address food security in upland northern Lao PDR 
S. Nampanya, S. Khounsy, L. Rast, J. R. Young, R. D. Bush and P. A. Windsor

Applied participatory research on large-ruminant health and production was conducted in northern Lao PDR to establish baseline production variables, including liveweight, average daily weight gain and reproductive performance. The study indicated that improved large-ruminant productivity, by improving health and nutrition practices, offers opportunities for smallholders to increase livestock income, reduce rural poverty and enhance regional food security.

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Published online 22 October 2013
Effect of vitamin D3 and strontium on performance, nutrient retention, and bone mineral composition in broiler chickens 
L. C. Browning and A. J. Cowieson

Vitamin D3 and strontium have been closely aligned in human therapeutics for the treatment of osteoporosis. Consequently, a broiler experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of feeding various concentrations of vitamin D3 with or without strontium on chicken performance, mineral retention, and bone composition. High levels of vitamin D depressed growth and feed efficiency but this was alleviated by the addition of strontium. Vitamin D and strontium together increased mineral retention but not bone mass. Further research needs to be undertaken.

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Published online 08 October 2013
Effects of two finishing diets on growth performance, carcass characteristics and feeding behaviour of Slovenian Cika and Simmental young bulls 
S. Žgur, M. Brscic, M. Sim?i?, N. Petri?, M. ?epon and G. Cozzi

Autochthonous cattle breeds have been replaced by more productive cosmopolite breeds to maximise dairy and beef production. This study achieved positive results regarding beef production traits of Slovenian autochthonous Cika bulls compared to Simmental bulls fed two finishing diets. Farmers should finish their Cika male stocks for beef production to conserve this genetic resource and increase the energy density of the traditional grass-based diets.

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Published online 08 October 2013
Effect of maize endosperm hardness, drying temperature and microbial enzyme supplementation on the performance of broiler chickens 
S. A. Kaczmarek, A. J. Cowieson, D. Józefiak and A. Rutkowski

High quality maize is crucial raw material in modern chicken nutrition. This study examined the effect of maize endosperm hardness, drying temperature, and enzyme addition on chicken performance and nutrient utilisation. The results suggest that maize endosperm hardness and high drying temperature can negatively influence nutrient utilisation. Blends of phytase and xylanase have potential as a tool to improve the nutritional value of overheated maize.

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Published online 01 October 2013
Influence of pellet length changes at 4, 5 and 6 weeks of age and two pellet diameters on growth performance and carcass characteristics of broiler finishers 
M. R. Abdollahi and V. Ravindran

It is well established that broilers show better performance when offered pelleted diets. This study examined the growth responses of broiler finishers to changes in pellet size, and showed that while broilers express a preference for a smaller pellet diameter, there is no negative effect of pellet length on performance. This approach suggests that only the manipulation of pellet length may be used to improve broiler production.

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Published online 24 September 2013
A survey of post-weaning mortality of sheep in Australia and its association with farm and management factors 
Angus J. D. Campbell, Annefleur Broekhuizen, Kimbal Curtis, Keith P. Croker, Ralph Behrendt and Andrew N. Thompson

Poor post-weaning survival of sheep in Australia is an important problem but its variation across different production systems is not well described. In this survey of weaner management of 1410 woolgrowers, average weaner mortality was 4.6%, but 44% of farms overall, including 32% of crossbred enterprises, exceeded the recommended mortality benchmark.  However, farm and management factors were identified that could be manipulated to improve survival, in accordance with the findings of smaller, regional studies

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Published online 24 September 2013
Embryo production and gene expression in superovulated goats supplemented with de-oiled castor cake before and after detoxification treatment 
I. J. Arruda, L. M. Silva, C. H. A. Oliveira, F. V. Rodrigues, A. M. Silva, C. C. L. Fernandes, M. A. Gomes-Filho, A. A. Araújo, C. M. G. Silva and D. Rondina

There is growing interest in converting castor cake to alternative feed sources for ruminants due to the nutritional content of this byproduct. Although the effects of castor cake feeding on livestock reproduction are not well understood, this study found that detoxified castor cake could be used as an alternative protein source without affecting goat reproductive performance. The findings from this study should provide information on alternative methods for reducing the costs of small ruminant feed.

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Published online 03 September 2013
Effects of dietary xylanase and liquid feeding on growth performance and nutrient digestibility of weaner pigs fed diets high in millrun (wheat by-product) 
Katie A. l'Anson, Mingan Choct and Peter H. Brooks

Millrun, a by-product of wheat milling, is a low-cost ingredient that could be better utilised in pig diets. Millrun inclusion in diets for weaner pigs is generally restricted to 5–10% because of its high fibre content. This study showed that the inclusion level could be increased to 50% without compromising pig performance, if diets are formulated appropriately. Liquid feeding of diets increased feed conversion ratio, but adding enzymes to degrade fibre and improve its digestibility did not improve performance.

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Published online 13 August 2013
Seasonal reproductive performance of crossbred ewes in intensive lamb-production systems 
N. M. Fogarty and J. G. Mulholland

Sheep are joined at different seasons to supply the year-round demand from domestic and export lamb markets. Lambing performance was generally higher from crossbred ewes joined in autumn than spring, with winter being intermediate, although there were significant ewe breed x season interactions. Ewe genotypes with higher out-of-season reproduction will be more suited to intensive and accelerated lamb production systems.

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Published online 09 July 2013
Reproductive performance in the Sheep CRC Information Nucleus using artificial insemination across different sheep-production environments in southern Australia 
K. G. Geenty, F. D. Brien, G. N. Hinch, R. C. Dobos, G. Refshauge, M. McCaskill, A. J. Ball, R. Behrendt, K. P. Gore, D. B. Savage, S. Harden, J. E. Hocking-Edwards, K. Hart and J. H. J. van der Werf

Artificial insemination is widespread in the Australian sheep industry so it is important to know if lamb mortality is comparable as with natural mating. This project showed that lamb mortality was similar to natural mating at around 20% with dystocia and starvation-mismothering accounting for 72% of lamb deaths. Therefore artificial insemination can be validly used for sheep reproduction studies.

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blank image Animal Production Science
Volume 54 Number 5 2014

 
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Table of Contents 
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Evolution of an interdisciplinary and applied journal of the animal sciences 
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Wayne L. Bryden
pp. iii-iii
 
 

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Interactions between microbial consortia in biofilms: a paradigm shift in rumen microbial ecology and enteric methane mitigation 
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R. A. Leng
pp. 519-543

Worldwide, scientists are researching ways to minimise ruminant emissions of the greenhouse gas, methane. Drawing on research on the rumen and from other anaerobic ecosystems, this essay redefines current views on how microbial consortia dispose of hydrogen produced in biofilms on feed particles in the rumen. Potential methane mitigating feed additives (nitrate, nitro-compounds, chlorinated hydrocarbons, anti-protozoals and charcoal) and their possible effects on the production of methane, formate, acetate and hydrogen gas in the fermenting consortia in and on biofilms are discussed.

   |        Open Access Article
 

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Genomic prediction of weight and wool traits in a multi-breed sheep population 
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N. Moghaddar, A. A. Swan and J. H. J. van der Werf
pp. 544-549

Use of genomic data for estimation of breeding value in rams can considerably increase the accuracy of selection of sheep for increased profitability. In this study we found the accuracy of genomic prediction for weight, muscle, fat and wool traits to be moderate to high in Merinos and moderate in terminal and maternal sheep breeds. These results provide confidence to use genomic selection in sheep breeding.

 
  
 

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Hormonal growth implants affect feed efficiency and expression of residual feed intake-associated genes in beef cattle 
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W. Al-Husseini, C. Gondro, K. Quinn, L. M. Cafe, R. M. Herd, J. P. Gibson, P. L. Greenwood and Y. Chen
pp. 550-556

Residual feed intake (RFI) is a measure of feed efficiency for genetic improvement in cattle and correlated with feed conversion ratio (FCR). Our study of expression of RFI-associated genes demonstrated that RFI was not affected by increased FCR with hormonal growth implants. The assumed action mechanism of protein turnover by HGP has little effect on RFI and RFI-associated gene expression.

 
  
 

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Comparing AUS-MEAT marbling scores using image analysis traits to estimate genetic parameters for marbling of Japanese Black cattle in Australia 
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Sakura Maeda, Joe Grose, Keisuke Kato and Keigo Kuchida
pp. 557-563

The aim of this study was to evaluate the application of image analysis for Japanese Black cattle in Australia (Australian JB). Image analysis traits showed favourable characteristics for data analysis and indicated possibility of improving for marbling. We conclude that image analysis could be an effective method for improving the marbling of the Australian JB.

 
  
 

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The comparison of two embryo donor breeds for the generation of transgenic goats by DNA pronuclear microinjection 
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Vicente J. F. Freitas, Irina A. Serova, Lyudmila E. Andreeva, Luciana M. Melo, Dárcio I. A. Teixeira, Alexsandra F. Pereira, Raylene R. Moura, Edílson S. Lopes-Jr, Joanna M. G. Souza-Fabjan, Ribrio I. T. P. Batista and Oleg L. Serov
pp. 564-568

Transgenic goats are usually obtained by DNA microinjection, which is still an inefficient technique but the possibility of detecting differences among embryo donor breeds to improve its success may provide real benefits. Two breeds (Canindé vs Saanen) were compared to produce pronuclear embryos for further microinjection and transfer to recipients. It was possible to develop an efficient protocol to obtain transgenic goats using the Canindé breed.

 
  
 

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A diagnostic method for gander selection in Zi geese (Anser cygnoides L.) and Rhin geese (Anser anser L.) using massage reaction and semen quality 
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S. J. Liu, J. L. Li and H. Li
pp. 569-573

Goose production has been expanding in China, but low reproduction efficiency has limited genetic improvement and production. Identification and culling of subfertile ganders is an effective method to improve production efficiency that has received considerable attention. Here we propose a diagnostic method for gander selection that we feel will be relevant to physiologists, geneticists, poultry breeders and others involved in waterfowl production.

 
  
 

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Utilisation of Large White × Mong Cai crossbred sows and Duroc and stress negative Piétrain boars for the production of fattening pigs under household conditions in northern Vietnam 
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D. D. Luc, A. Clinquart, V. D. Ton, D. V. Binh, P. Leroy and F. Farnir
pp. 574-581

Pig production contributes up to 41% of the total income of households in North Vietnam. In this experiment, Duroc and stress-negative Piétrain sires were used to produce fattening pigs under household conditions in Vietnam. The results show that use of Piétrain boars does not affect reproduction performance, growth rate, or meat quality; however, lean meat percentage of Piétrain-sired pigs was higher than that of Duroc-sired pigs. This suggests that the use of stress-negative Piétrain boars as terminal sires would improve lean meat under household conditions in North Vietnam.

 
  
 

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Repeatability and frequency of in-paddock sheep walk-over weights: implications for flock-based management 
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D. J. Brown, D. B. Savage and G. N. Hinch
pp. 582-586

If farmers know the average liveweight of their flocks they may be able to manage their sheep for improved production and profits. This study investigated whether walk-over weighing (WOW), a remote weighing concept, could provide sufficiently reliable flock average liveweight information to aid flock management. Results show that, over a 5-day time period, WOW could reliably provide flock liveweight estimates within 2 kg, which we deem reasonable, in terms of accuracy and timeliness, for application in a commercial context.

 
  
 

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The influence of stocking rate and mixed grazing of Angora goats and Merino sheep on animal and pasture production in southern Australia. 4. Gastrointestinal parasitism 
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B. A. McGregor, P. J. A. Presidente and N. J. Campbell
pp. 587-597

Gastrointestinal nematodes limit the production of goats and sheep but there are few reliable sources of information for recommending management practices across flocks. We aimed to determine the effects of mixed grazing of goats with sheep and increasing the stocking rate of goats and sheep on the level of gastrointestinal parasitism. Mixed grazing with goats resulted in beneficial effects for sheep but mixed grazing with sheep provided beneficial or harmful effects for goats, depending on the stocking rate.

 
  
 

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Nutritive value, in vitro fermentation and methane production of perennial pastures as affected by botanical composition over a growing season in the south of Chile 
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J. P. Keim, I. F. López and R. Berthiaume
pp. 598-607

Perennial ryegrass is the most common species used for grazing dairy systems; however, well managed permanent fertilised pastures may represent a more economical and sustainable alternative. An in vitro trial was carried out in order to assess in vitro fermentation of permanent pastures. Nutrient digestibility, ruminal fermentation products and microbial protein synthesis of well managed permanent pastures were similar to perennial ryegrass.

 
  
 

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Lysine requirement of 1.5–5.5 kg pigs fed liquid diets 
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J. H. Eisemann, H. E. Lewis, A. I. Broome, K. Sullivan, R. D. Boyd, J. Odle and R. J. Harrell
pp. 608-615

Low birthweight pigs tend to have a much lower chance of survival than their larger litter mates due to competition for milk which can lead to starvation. This study determined the lysine requirement of pigs weaned at 1-2 days of age and fed a liquid diet. Definition of nutrient requirements will lead to improved formulation of liquid diets for rearing low birthweight pigs to increase piglet survival and promote rapid growth rate to weaning.

 
  
 

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Effects of dietary probiotics on growth performance, faecal microbiota and serum profiles in weaned piglets 
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Xiaoli Dong, Naifeng Zhang, Meng Zhou, Yan Tu, Kaidong Deng and Qiyu Diao
pp. 616-621

The option of using probiotics as an alternative to antibiotics in raising pigs is receiving attention. The aim of this work was to evaluate the effects of dietary probiotics on weaned piglets and the results suggested that dietary probiotics benefited growth performance and immune functions at the early stage of the post-weaning period in piglets. This could satisfy consumer’s demand for safe feed additives.

 
  
 

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The carcass quality, meat quality and sensory characteristics of broilers raised on diets containing either Musca domestica larvae meal, fish meal or soya bean meal as the main protein source 
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E. Pieterse, Q. Pretorius, L. C. Hoffman and D. W. Drew
pp. 622-628

Presently, the worldwide poultry industry is experiencing difficulties in maintaining production costs, especially pertaining to energy and protein sources.The effects of Musca domestica (common house fly) larvae meal on the meat quality of broiler chickens were investigated. It was concluded that the inclusion of larvae meal into the diets of broilers will have positive rather than any detrimental effects on most carcass, meat and sensory characteristics.

 
  
 

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The impact of best practice health and husbandry interventions on smallholder cattle productivity in southern Cambodia 
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J. R. Young, L. Rast, S. Suon, R. D. Bush, L. A. Henry and P. A. Windsor
pp. 629-637

Food security is of increasing importance in the Greater Mekong Subregion, where smallholder farmers operating mixed farming systems have an opportunity to meet a regional growing demand for red meat. Using a systems and knowledge based approach, cattle health and husbandry interventions led to significant improvements in smallholder cattle production. Improving livestock production offers a pathway to reduce regional food insecurity and rural poverty simultaneously.

 
  
 

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Effects of type, sex and age on goat skin and leather characteristics 
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M. Salehi, I. Kadim, O. Mahgoub, Sh. Negahdari and R. S. Eshraghi Naeeni
pp. 638-644

Goats are a largely untapped resource for the production of leather, an industry that is important for the economic development of many countries. Determination of skin characteristics which are important in leather production would help to improve quality. The results of this study showed that age and sex were more important than the type of goats on skin and leather traits.

 
  
 

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These articles have been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. They are still in production and have not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

    AN14425  Accepted 22 April 2014
    The catastrophe of eating
    John Forbes
    Abstract


    AN13342  Accepted 17 April 2014
    A comparison of growth, carcass traits, and tissue composition of “Segureña” lambs raised either in an extensive production system or an intensive one
    Eva Armero, Adolfo Falagán
    Abstract


    AN14085  Accepted 13 April 2014
    Impact of simulated heat stress on growth, physiological adaptability, blood metabolites and endocrine responses in Malpura ewes under semi-arid tropical environment
    Shekhawat Indu, Veerasamy Sejian, SM Naqvi
    Abstract


    AN14065  Accepted 10 April 2014
    Evaluating rates of technology adoption and milking practices on New Zealand dairy farms
    John Edwards, Brian Dela Rue, Jenny Jago
    Abstract


    AN13552  Accepted 09 April 2014
    Effects of large/small furnished cages on performance, welfare and egg quality of lying hens
    Fanyu Meng, Dinghua Chen, Xiang Li, Jianhong Li, Jun Bao
    Abstract


    AN13357  Accepted 09 April 2014
    Establishment of optimum regression model and determination of relationships between body measurements and slaughter traits in Japanese quails by path analysis
    Fatih Uckardes, Dogan Narinc, Hande Kucukonder
    Abstract


    AN13349  Accepted 02 April 2014
    Age and season effects on quality of diets selected by Criollo crossbred goats on rangeland
    Leticia Gaytan, A.Z.M. Salem, Jose Garcia, Alvaro Rodriguez, Jose Arevalo, Miguel Mellado
    Abstract


    AN13359  Accepted 29 March 2014
    Evaluation of the efficacy of sequential administration of probiotics and phytogenics or their throughout combination in broiler diets
    Konstantinos Mountzouris, Panagiotis Tsirtsikos, George Papadomichelakis, Gerd Schatzmayr, Konstantinos Fegeros
    Abstract


    AN14152  Accepted 29 March 2014
    Including essential oils in lactating dairy cow diets: effects on methane emissions
    Sarah Meale, Alex Chaves, Dr Tim McAllister, Alan Iwaasa, Wenzhu Yang, Chaouki Benchaar
    Abstract


    AN13536  Accepted 27 March 2014
    Should animal fats be back on the table? A critical review of the human health effects of animal fat.
    William Barendse
    Abstract


    AN13458  Accepted 25 March 2014
    Source and frequency of dry season lipid supplementation of finishing grazing cattle
    Marcia Santana, Bruno Vieira, Diogo Costa, Paulo Dian, Giovani Fiorentini, Roberta Canesin, Gener Pereira, Ricardo Reis, Telma Berchielli
    Abstract


    AN13431  Accepted 20 March 2014
    Effect of different concentrations of trehalose and glycerol on the freezability of ram semen using soybean lecithin-based diluents
    Zhila Bohlool, Mehrdad Mohammadi, Mohammad Roostaei Ali Mehr, Navid Ghavi Hossein-Zadeh
    Abstract


    AN14056  Accepted 15 March 2014
    Reused progesterone devices efficiently synchronize estrus and ovulation after autoclaving process in Toggenburg goats during the breeding season
    Joanna Souza-Fabjan, Ciro Torres, Ana Lucia Maia, Felipe Brandão, Eunice Oba, Michael Bertoldo, Jeferson Fonseca
    Abstract


    AN13445  Accepted 14 March 2014
    Effect of soybeans roasting and monensin on microbial protein synthesis, ruminal parameters and plasma metabolites of lactating dairy cows
    Ebrahim Abdi, Farshid Fatahnia, Mehdi Dehghan-Banadaky, Arash Azarfar, Sadegh Mosavi
    Abstract


    AN13332  Accepted 13 March 2014
    Effects of black seed oil and Ferula elaeochytris supplementation on ruminal fermentation as tested in vitro with the rumen simulation technique (Rusitec)
    Fenja Klevenhusen, Kathrin Deckardt, Özge Sizmaz, Simon Wimmer, Alberto Muro-Reyes, Ratchaneewan Khiaosa-Ard, Remigius Chizzola, Qendrim Zebeli
    Abstract


    AN14044  Accepted 08 March 2014
    Possible involvement of myo-inositol in the physiological response of broilers to high doses of microbial phytase
    Aaron Cowieson, Raffaella Aureli, Patrick Guggenbuhl, Fidelis Fru-Nji
    Abstract


    AN13348  Accepted 07 March 2014
    Micro-encapsulated sodium butyrate attenuates the oxidative stress induced by corticosterone exposure and modulates apoptosis in intestinal mucosa of broiler chickens
    Yun Jiang, W.H. Zhang, Feng Gao, Guang Hong Zhou
    Abstract


    AN13206  Accepted 19 February 2014
    Effects of two different forage sources on mammary gland growth, mammary cell turnover and activity in early lactation dairy cows
    Tong Qin, Haoyu Wang, Dengpan Bu, Haisheng Hao, Dong Wang, Huabin Zhu
    Abstract


    AN13067  Accepted 17 February 2014
    The welfare of recently-weaned piglets transported on unpaved roads: the effect of age and the use of straw bedding
    Patricia Roldan-Santiago, Daniel Mota-Rojas, Hector Orozco-Gregorio, Fernando Borderas-Tordesillas, Roberto Martínez-Rodríguez, Patricia Medina-Mora, Monica Sanchez-Hernandez, Maria Trujillo-Ortega
    Abstract


    AN13457  Accepted 16 February 2014
    Effects of feeding various levels of full fat soybean extruded at high temperature on performance, serum components and intestinal morphology of broiler chickens
    Safa Zhaleh, Abolghasem Golian, Seyed Ali Mirghelenj, Avisa Akhavan, Abdollah Akbarian
    Abstract


    AN13438  Accepted 16 February 2014
    Mediterranean River Buffalo CSN1S1 gene: search for polymorphisms and association studies
    Gianfranco Cosenza, Alfredo Pauciullo, Niccolò Pietro Paolo Macciotta, Elisa Apicella, Roberto Steri, Antonio La Battaglia, Lazzaro Jemma, Angelo Coletta, Dino Di Berardino, Luigi Ramunno
    Abstract


    AN13411  Accepted 14 February 2014
    Association of carcass weight with quality and functional properties of beef from Hanwoo steers
    Dinesh Jayasena, Ki Chang Nam, Jongju Kim, Hyeonju Ahn, Cheorun Jo
    Abstract


    AN13258  Accepted 10 February 2014
    Genetic parameters for body composition of Angus and Hereford cows
    Kath Donoghue, Stephen Lee, Peter Parnell, Wayne Pitchford
    Abstract


    AN13366  Accepted 06 February 2014
    The effects of chronic nitrate supplementation on erythrocytic methaemoglobin reduction in cattle
    Ian Godwin, Li Li, Koen Luijben, Nicky Oelbrandt, Jose Velazco, Joseph Miller, Roger Hegarty
    Abstract


    AN13321  Accepted 30 January 2014
    Selection for residual feed intake affects appetite and body composition rather than energetic efficiency
    David Lines, Wayne Pitchford, Cindy Bottema, Robert Herd, Hutton Oddy
    Abstract


    AN12255  Accepted 22 January 2014
    Dietary chromium picolinate of varying particle size improves carcass characteristics and insulin sensitivity in finishing pigs fed low and high fat diets
    Alex Hung, Brian Leury, Matthew Sabin, Tu-Fa Lien, Frank Dunshea
    Abstract


    AN13117  Accepted 20 January 2014
    Effects of duration of salt supplementation of sheep on rumen metabolism and the accumulation of elements
    Clive Phillips, Mohamed Mohamed, Paul Chiy
    Abstract


    AN13068  Accepted 20 January 2014
    An animal house study on utilisation of fresh tedera (Bituminaria bituminosa var albomarginata and crassiuscula) by merino wethers
    Chris Oldham, Duncan Wood, John Milton, Daniel Real, Phillip Vercoe, Andrew van Burgel
    Abstract


    AN13533  Accepted 20 December 2013
    Maternal body composition in seedstock herds. 1. Relationships between cow body composition and BREEDPLAN EBVs for Angus and Hereford cows
    Stephen Lee, Kath Donoghue, Wayne Pitchford
    Abstract


    AN13295  Accepted 08 November 2013
    Divergent genotypes for fatness or residual feed intake in Angus cattle: 3. Performance of mature cows.
    Katrina Copping, Jeisane Accioly, Michael Deland, Nick Edwards, John Graham, Michelle Hebart, Robert Herd, Fiona Jones, Michael Laurence, Stephen Lee, Jane Speijers, Wayne Pitchford
    Abstract


    AN13218  Accepted 24 October 2013
    Divergent genotypes for fatness or residual feed intake in Angus cattle. 2. Body composition but not reproduction was affected in first-parity cows on both low and high levels of nutrition.
    Michael Laurence, Jeisane Accioloy, Katrina Copping, Michael Deland, John Graham, Michelle Hebart, Robert Herd, Fiona Jones, Stephen Lee, Jane Speijers, Wayne Pitchford
    Abstract


    AN13054  Accepted 17 September 2013
    Genesis, design and methods of the Beef CRC Maternal Productivity Project
    Wayne Pitchford, Jeisane Accioly, Rob Banks, Anne Barnes, Stephen Barwick, Katrina Copping, Michael Deland, Kath Donoghue, Nick Edwards, Michelle Hebart, Robert Herd, Fiona Jones, Michael Laurence, Stephen Lee, Bill McKiernan, Peter Parnell, Jane Speijers, Geoff Tudor, John Graham
    Abstract




The Most Read ranking is based on the number of downloads from the CSIRO PUBLISHING website of articles published in the previous 12 months. Usage statistics are updated daily.

Rank Paper Details
1. Published 2 August 2013
The symbiotic rumen microbiome and cattle performance: a brief review

C. Bath, M. Morrison, E. M. Ross, B. J. Hayes and B. G. Cocks

2. Published 2 January 2014
Wild dog control impacts on calf wastage in extensive beef cattle enterprises

Lee R. Allen

3. Published 2 August 2013
Complementary forages – integration at a whole-farm level

R. P. Rawnsley, D. F. Chapman, J. L. Jacobs, S. C. Garcia, M. N. Callow, G. R. Edwards and K. P. Pembleton

4. Published 2 August 2013
Nutritional management of the transition cow in the 21st century – a paradigm shift in thinking

J. R. Roche, A. W. Bell, T. R. Overton and J. J. Loor

5. Published 2 August 2013
Precision dairy farming in Australasia: adoption, risks and opportunities

J. Jago, C. Eastwood, K. Kerrisk and I. Yule

6. Published 2 January 2014
Climate change and broadacre livestock production across southern Australia. 3. Adaptation options via livestock genetic improvement

Andrew D. Moore and Afshin Ghahramani

7. Published 26 September 2013
Human evolution and diet: a modern conundrum of health versus meat consumption, or is it?

N. Mann

8. Published 26 September 2013
The trials and tribulations of estimating the pasture intake of grazing animals

David J. Cottle

9. Published 2 August 2013
Use of molecular technologies for the advancement of animal breeding: genomic selection in dairy cattle populations in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand

Richard J. Spelman, Ben J. Hayes and Donagh P. Berry

10. Published 2 December 2013
Genetics of early and lifetime annual reproductive performance in cows of two tropical beef genotypes in northern Australia

D. J. Johnston, S. A. Barwick, G. Fordyce, R. G. Holroyd, P. J. Williams, N. J. Corbet and T. Grant

11. Published 2 August 2013
Amelioration of thermal stress impacts in dairy cows

Frank R. Dunshea, Brian J. Leury, Fahri Fahri, Kristy DiGiacomo, Alex Hung, Surinder Chauhan, Iain J. Clarke, Robert Collier, Stephen Little, Lance Baumgard and John B. Gaughan

12. Published 2 August 2013
Functional welfare – using biochemical and molecular technologies to understand better the welfare state of peripartal dairy cattle

J. J. Loor, G. Bertoni, A. Hosseini, J. R. Roche and E. Trevisi

13. Published 2 August 2013
Behaviour, illness and management during the periparturient period in dairy cows

P. Sepúlveda-Varas, J. M. Huzzey, D. M. Weary and M. A. G. von Keyserlingk

14. Published 2 August 2013
Performance, return and risk of different dairy systems in Australia and New Zealand

C. K. M. Ho, M. Newman, D. E. Dalley, S. Little and W. J. Wales

15. Published 4 April 2013
Potential impacts of negative associative effects between concentrate supplements, pasture and conserved forage for milk production and dairy farm profit

C. K. M. Ho, B. Malcolm and P. T. Doyle

16. Published 2 January 2014
Identifying indicator traits for breech strike in Merino sheep in a Mediterranean environment

J. C. Greeff, L. J. E. Karlsson and A. C. Schlink

17. Published 3 September 2013
Comparison of ryegrass and red clover on the fermentation pattern, microbial community and efficiency of diet utilisation in the rumen simulation technique (Rusitec)

A. Belanche, M. R. F. Lee, J. M. Moorby and C. J. Newbold

18. Published 2 December 2013
Genomic selection for female reproduction in Australian tropically adapted beef cattle

Y. D. Zhang, D. J. Johnston, S. Bolormaa, R. J. Hawken and B. Tier

19. Published 26 September 2013
Effect of added dietary nitrate and elemental sulfur on wool growth and methane emission of Merino lambs

L. Li, C. I. Silveira, J. V. Nolan, I. R. Godwin, R. A. Leng and R. S. Hegarty

20. Published 26 September 2013
Enhancing the productivity of dairy cows using amino acids

Y. G. Liu, H. H. Peng and C. G. Schwab


      
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