Plant breeding for animal production efficiency
            and emission reduction


                      Heather McCalma...
Livestock’s Long Shadow
 ‘Livestock a major threat to environment’
         (FAO Newsroom, 2006)


   Major issues relate ...
Producing food sustainably:
  environmental and resource challenges
• reduce dependency of the food chain on fossil
  fuel...
UK Agricultural CH4 and N2O emissions
             per activity
         2005 – Carbon equivalent


               10.5%
 ...
Make use of improved genetics
• Animals
  – Faster growing/higher yielding individual
    animals are more efficient
  – D...
• Forage
          • ‘Concentrates’
              • Energy
              • Protein

           • BALANCING
 To meet livest...
The Research:

        Quality forage
No concentrates or supplements
                                         Simmentals  ...
The relationship between live weight gain
(LWG) of cattle and methane production
              per kg of gain




(Kurihar...
Emphasis on perennial ryegrass ...
Higher digestibility than secondary
species..
Advances include HSG
   What are High Sug...
Improvements in WSC content of
intermediate-heading perennial ryegrasses
              S321                     AberDart +...
High Sugar grasses - is it all hype?
    AberEcho
    AberStorm                  Higher sugars
     AberDart
    AberAvon
...
Beef Production
                             Live weight gain
                            increased by 18 -
     1200     ...
Animals and the environment




Impact on nutrient use efficiency
Red Clover
                   White Clover




                 Bacteria in root
                nodules convert
         ...
Clover benefits
                    Soils - N fixation
  30% clover (DM) fixes 150 kg N per ha each year. ( 50-350).
Same ...
The benefits of clover
                   Animal performance
                       CLOVER….
 less fibrous than grass & ha...
200                                                      Lamb
Liveweight gain
    (g/day)       150                       ...
Low input beef production
             Animal performance
                        Grass Grass/whiteGrass/red
             ...
Red clover silage for milk production

                                             13
32
                                ...
Food, diet and health
    Healthy Beef – an example




                                Making the most of
               ...
New Breeding LINK project
•   Clovers & ryegrasses
•   N use efficiency ( soil, plant, rumen)
•   P use efficiency ( soil ...
Major aim
• Develop new varieties of grasses and legumes,
  meeting farmers’ and funders needs and give
  options for the ...
Primary Goals
• Perennial ryegrass
  – Further increase WSC content by 8% above
    currently marketed varieties and impro...
4 projects

LK0686     Genetic improvement of perennial ryegrass and red
   clover to increase nitrogen use efficiency and...
Improving perennial ryegrass and red clover to
      increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE)




 Aim : breed grasses with ...
Why?

   Water Framework Directive ‐ encourages 
farmers to reduce nitrogen use to protect water 
           courses and g...
Improving ryegrass nitrogen use efficiency

                     Future work will :
  - map the genes that control NUE in ...
Red clover selection to reduce nitrate leaching


       Future work will investigate leaching
      under field condition...
Polyphenol oxidase (PPO) in red clover


The PPO enzyme protects protein molecules from breaking
down – so boosts silage q...
Improving perennial ryegrass and white clover to
   increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in the rumen
                  ...
Improving perennial ryegrass and white clover to
    increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in the rumen



     Aim to
  ...
Improving perennial ryegrass and white clover to
   increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in the rumen


  Aim 1: new gra...
Improving perennial ryegrass and white clover to
   increase phosphorus use efficiency (PUE)




                         ...
Phosphorus- an important
 determinant of yield and environmental
          quality in agriculture

                       ...
Human urine may be our last hope to stop the ‘P’ shortage!!

   Source : Professor Cynthia Mitchell The Institute of Susta...
Aim

New varieties of grass and clovers that need less P fertiliser and
                  leach less P to water courses

 ...
Aim 1: Increase PUE in forage grasses and legumes




     Components of PUE
     • Acquisition/uptake
  • Utilisation/ P ...
Systems to phenotype PUE in mapping
                  families




Flowing solution culture
                           Hor...
Aim 2:
Improving the performance of white clover on Low P soils


            Selection of white clover lines for a 20%
  ...
Aim 3:
  Effect of the new clovers on P balances in sheep and cattle




Measure new clover use in the animal
Drought resistant grasses and clovers which make
               better use of water




                                  ...
Why?


        More dry summers !!
Less water available from soils means
            lower yields
 DEFRA: need to conserve...
Breeders aim: a 5 to 10% improvement



Using Festuca species naturally adapted to these areas and from
 the Atlas mountai...
Testing in rain out shelters




       Tall Fescue species with good ground
         cover and growth after 15 weeks
    ...
Glasshouse drought
       trials




                     Only those plants with fescue genes
                     survive...
Lm x Fg AberStar Dovey AberEpic Prior Bf993




Superior root systems for
 improved soil and water
          uptake
are fo...
Thickness and number of stolons is
                                 related to root density
 Clover with better
water use ...
Work to use the
  differences in root
        growth
so that new plants use
water more efficiently




         Water use ...
Drought
resistant
 clovers


               T. repens       X                 T. ambiguum
                                ...
Drought tolerant clovers




New cultivars contain drought tolerant genes
             from T. ambiguum

Aim: to develop b...
Breeders will evaluate the new white clovers in the
    field in mixtures with high sugar grasses




 and test agronomic,...
OAT BREEDING
          History of successful oat breeding at IBERS
    In addition to yield and quality for milling new ob...
OatLINK
    Partners include ORC Elm Farm
       Selecting for improved NUE
Test in organic and conventional systems
   Qu...
Practical solutions for today?
Sow it: Select best seeds mixture for the ‘job’ you
want it to do ( ST? LT? Sheep? Beef?)- ...
Beef and sheep: Plant Breeding for animal production efficiency and emission reduction - Heather McCalman (Grassland Devel...
Beef and sheep: Plant Breeding for animal production efficiency and emission reduction - Heather McCalman (Grassland Devel...
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Beef and sheep: Plant Breeding for animal production efficiency and emission reduction - Heather McCalman (Grassland Development Centre)

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This presentation forms part of the Farming Futures workshop 'Making livestock farming fit for the future'

9th December 2009

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Beef and sheep: Plant Breeding for animal production efficiency and emission reduction - Heather McCalman (Grassland Development Centre)

  1. 1. Plant breeding for animal production efficiency and emission reduction Heather McCalman Grassland Development Centre Developing Research into Practice
  2. 2. Livestock’s Long Shadow ‘Livestock a major threat to environment’ (FAO Newsroom, 2006) Major issues relate to Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Methane Efficiency of conversion in ruminants Nitrogen: 55 - 95% of ingested N is excreted Phosphorus: 20 – 70% of ingested P is excreted Methane: 2 – 12% of gross energy intake is lost in CH4
  3. 3. Producing food sustainably: environmental and resource challenges • reduce dependency of the food chain on fossil fuels • address the depletion of the natural resources and ecosystem services on which food production depends (i.e soil and water) • radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by food system
  4. 4. UK Agricultural CH4 and N2O emissions per activity 2005 – Carbon equivalent 10.5% 6.3% 43.8% 12.3% 19% 8.1% Enteric Fermentation & Inorganic Fertilisers – Key!!
  5. 5. Make use of improved genetics • Animals – Faster growing/higher yielding individual animals are more efficient – Dilution of maintenance effect – Improved ‘robustness’ – longevity, fertility • Plants (food)/Microbes – Improved digestibility – Better energy availability – Better protein characteristics
  6. 6. • Forage • ‘Concentrates’ • Energy • Protein • BALANCING To meet livestock needs profitably Can also help with emission reduction As they say .... ITS A ‘WIN WIN’!
  7. 7. The Research: Quality forage No concentrates or supplements Simmentals Welsh Black 1200 1200 Liveweight gain (first 1000 1000 Liveweight gain summer, g/d) (winter, g/d) 800 800 600 600 400 400 200 200 0 0 Grass G/Red Grass G/Red
  8. 8. The relationship between live weight gain (LWG) of cattle and methane production per kg of gain (Kurihara et al 1997, Klieve. and Ouwerkerk 2007, Howden and Reyenga 1999)
  9. 9. Emphasis on perennial ryegrass ... Higher digestibility than secondary species.. Advances include HSG What are High Sugar Grasses? High sugar grass = grass with enhanced levels of water soluble carbohydrate. Water soluble carbohydrates (WSC) - natural storage compounds – mainly sugars. ABER high sugar grasses - significantly higher WSC levels through the season
  10. 10. Improvements in WSC content of intermediate-heading perennial ryegrasses S321 AberDart +9% AberStar +16% AberMagic +30% 400 300 200 100 Mean Cut 1 Cut 2 Cut 3 Cut 4 Cut 5 Cut 6 Cut 7
  11. 11. High Sugar grasses - is it all hype? AberEcho AberStorm Higher sugars AberDart AberAvon AberMagic More sugars in rumen More sugars to drive fermentation Better use of protein Higher intakes and LWG More N for milk and meat
  12. 12. Beef Production Live weight gain increased by 18 - 1200 35% 1100 Live 1000 weight gain 900 g/day 800 700 600 AberDart Fennema
  13. 13. Animals and the environment Impact on nutrient use efficiency
  14. 14. Red Clover White Clover Bacteria in root nodules convert atmospheric N into nitrogen which clover and companion grasses can use
  15. 15. Clover benefits Soils - N fixation 30% clover (DM) fixes 150 kg N per ha each year. ( 50-350). Same as ‘bag muck N’ BUT clover fixed N does not all arrive at once and is delivered at the rooting zone. Leakage is minimal, low levels of run off, leaching and losses to the air. Soils - structure Clover plants improve soil structure. Root growth opens up the soil, letting air in, improving drainage and improving nutrient uptake.
  16. 16. The benefits of clover Animal performance CLOVER…. less fibrous than grass & has easily digestible cell walls has twice as much protein as grass up to 20% higher intakes from clover & grass/clover swards and less chewing energy required. (fresh and conserved) is good for finishing lambs in late summer gives higher milk yields and milk protein levels
  17. 17. 200 Lamb Liveweight gain (g/day) 150 performance Pre-Weaning 100 Grass Grass 50 + +Clover 150N 0 200 Liveweight gain (g/day) 150 100 Lamb 50 Grass Grass performance + +Clover 150N Post-Weaning 0
  18. 18. Low input beef production Animal performance Grass Grass/whiteGrass/red clover clover DM Intake (kg/d) 6.8 9.0 9.2 Liveweight gain (g/d) 830 1088 1172
  19. 19. Red clover silage for milk production 13 32 12.5 31 12 30 11.5 29 11 28 10.5 27 10 26 9.5 25 Grass 50%RC 100% RC Grass 50%RC 100% RC 4.8 3.24 3.22 4.75 3.2 3.18 4.7 3.16 3.14 4.65 3.12 4.6 3.1 3.08 4.55 3.06 Grass 50%RC 100% RC Grass 50%RC 100% RC Dewhurst et al 2000
  20. 20. Food, diet and health Healthy Beef – an example Making the most of grass and legumes
  21. 21. New Breeding LINK project • Clovers & ryegrasses • N use efficiency ( soil, plant, rumen) • P use efficiency ( soil & plant) • Water use efficiency ( uptake & within plant)
  22. 22. Major aim • Develop new varieties of grasses and legumes, meeting farmers’ and funders needs and give options for the future • Contribute to:- Mitigation of climate change Adaptation to climate change Cleaner water Healthier soils Quality products
  23. 23. Primary Goals • Perennial ryegrass – Further increase WSC content by 8% above currently marketed varieties and improve agronomic traits. • White clover – Reduce crude protein content by 5 – 10% below currently marketed varieties. • Animal study – Determine the effects of high WSC grasses with low protein clover on feed intake, milk output and whole-body nitrogen partitioning in dairy cows.
  24. 24. 4 projects LK0686 Genetic improvement of perennial ryegrass and red clover to increase nitrogen use efficiency and reduce N losses from pastures and silo LK0687 Genetic improvement of perennial ryegrass and white clover to increase the efficiency of nitrogen use in the rumen LK0685 Genetic improvement of forage grasses and white clover to improve phosphorus use efficiency and reduce phosphorus losses to water from UK grasslands LK0688 Development of productive and persistent high quality forage grasses and white clover with increased water-use efficiency and resilience to summer droughts
  25. 25. Improving perennial ryegrass and red clover to increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) Aim : breed grasses with high yields and high quality with reduced fertiliser Aim- breed red clover with high agronomic performance AND reduce nitrogen leaching 25
  26. 26. Why? Water Framework Directive ‐ encourages  farmers to reduce nitrogen use to protect water  courses and ground water Cost and availability of nitrogen fertiliser Poor conversion of  forage nitrogen into milk and  meat 26
  27. 27. Improving ryegrass nitrogen use efficiency Future work will : - map the genes that control NUE in ryegrass so they can be combined by ‘marker-assisted selection’ - investigate how NUE is affected by lower nitrogen inputs & different nitrogen sources (ammonium vs nitrate) The goal is to breed grass varieties with high yields and high quality with reduced fertiliser inputs 27
  28. 28. Red clover selection to reduce nitrate leaching Future work will investigate leaching under field conditions and multiply seed from the most promising varieties The goal is to breed red clover varieties with high agronomic performance that can reduce nitrogen leaching
  29. 29. Polyphenol oxidase (PPO) in red clover The PPO enzyme protects protein molecules from breaking down – so boosts silage quality and reduces in-silo losses Once cut, the PPO enzyme darkens the clover leaf and stem. 29
  30. 30. Improving perennial ryegrass and white clover to increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in the rumen Body Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) 5% Faeces N (nitrates) 25‐40% Food N 100% Urine N (urea) 15‐45% Milk N 15‐40% On average, 75% of consumed N is ‘wasted’ (ammonia, nitrous oxide, urea and nitrates)
  31. 31. Improving perennial ryegrass and white clover to increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in the rumen Aim to reduce More sugars wasted boosts rumen protein that is fermentation excreted, & efficiency then there will leading be less to improved nitrogen NUE emissions We need to convert nitrogen more efficiently into meat and milk
  32. 32. Improving perennial ryegrass and white clover to increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in the rumen Aim 1: new grasses with 8% more sugars and improved yield and ground cover Aim 2: Clovers with 5-10% less protein Aim 3: Find out how growth, milk production and feed intake is White clover affected by high sugar, low protein grass and clover
  33. 33. Improving perennial ryegrass and white clover to increase phosphorus use efficiency (PUE) 33
  34. 34. Phosphorus- an important determinant of yield and environmental quality in agriculture Crops typically recover< 10% of applied fertiliser P Phosphorus is at the heart of modern farming and has no synthetic alternative The Livestock sector needs maintain production & profitability and protect the environment
  35. 35. Human urine may be our last hope to stop the ‘P’ shortage!! Source : Professor Cynthia Mitchell The Institute of Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney
  36. 36. Aim New varieties of grass and clovers that need less P fertiliser and leach less P to water courses How • Make the plant better (by 10%) at taking up, using and keeping phosphate • Make white clover perform better What does it give us? on low or moderate P status soils •Financial savings from without using more P lower fertiliser use • Optimise phosphorus use efficiency •More efficient animal in ruminants when fed forage production legumes •Reduced pollution from grassland into water courses
  37. 37. Aim 1: Increase PUE in forage grasses and legumes Components of PUE • Acquisition/uptake • Utilisation/ P productivity • Retention/loss to environment
  38. 38. Systems to phenotype PUE in mapping families Flowing solution culture Horizontal sand-bed Sand box mini-swards lysimeters
  39. 39. Aim 2: Improving the performance of white clover on Low P soils Selection of white clover lines for a 20% improvement in performance on low P soils compared to current varieties A sward that combines high clover and grass yields with high levels of species diversity
  40. 40. Aim 3: Effect of the new clovers on P balances in sheep and cattle Measure new clover use in the animal
  41. 41. Drought resistant grasses and clovers which make better use of water White clover
  42. 42. Why? More dry summers !! Less water available from soils means lower yields DEFRA: need to conserve water and adapt to climate change 42
  43. 43. Breeders aim: a 5 to 10% improvement Using Festuca species naturally adapted to these areas and from the Atlas mountains for resistance to extreme droughts and for large strong root systems F. pratensis F. arundinacea F. glaucescens
  44. 44. Testing in rain out shelters Tall Fescue species with good ground cover and growth after 15 weeks 44 compared with Ryegrass
  45. 45. Glasshouse drought trials Only those plants with fescue genes survive combined heat and drought and recover 45
  46. 46. Lm x Fg AberStar Dovey AberEpic Prior Bf993 Superior root systems for improved soil and water uptake are found in fescues and festulolium cultivars compared to ryegrass 46
  47. 47. Thickness and number of stolons is related to root density Clover with better water use efficiency Stolon Branch Flower head Nodes Terminal bud Axillary buds Roots and Nodules
  48. 48. Work to use the differences in root growth so that new plants use water more efficiently Water use efficiency= g of plant DM per ml of water taken up by the plant
  49. 49. Drought resistant clovers T. repens X T. ambiguum (Caucasian clover) Persistent Very persistent Good DM yield Stress tolerant Variable seed yield Rhizomes Stoloniferous Drought tolerant Improved persistence, stress tolerance Plants with stolons and rhizomes: 49 Interspecific hybrids
  50. 50. Drought tolerant clovers New cultivars contain drought tolerant genes from T. ambiguum Aim: to develop best material into white clover varieties
  51. 51. Breeders will evaluate the new white clovers in the field in mixtures with high sugar grasses and test agronomic, nutritional and environmental benefits of reduced protein content
  52. 52. OAT BREEDING History of successful oat breeding at IBERS In addition to yield and quality for milling new objectives Oil can reduce methane BUT reduce feed efficiency in ruminants Naked oats yield less and don’t fit well to LCF Developing high oil low lignin husked oats for ruminants Developing naked oat varieties for pigs and poultry
  53. 53. OatLINK Partners include ORC Elm Farm Selecting for improved NUE Test in organic and conventional systems Quality of oats in organic systems
  54. 54. Practical solutions for today? Sow it: Select best seeds mixture for the ‘job’ you want it to do ( ST? LT? Sheep? Beef?)- include clover Grow it- get soils right, manage swards to maintain quality and harvest for optimum silage Use it- Balance diet, graze for optimum intake and livestock need. Make the most of clover!

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