It is also implicated in the decreasing competitiveness of the Irish dairy industry, which results in increased numbers of people leaving dairy farming with negative consequences to both the industry and fabric of rural communities in Ireland.
And while milk prices are at an all time high at present, the future globalisation of agricultural markets has the potential to reverse this and put increased pressure on dairy farm income. It is imperative therefore, to address the critical problem of low fertility in dairy cows in order to have a positive impact on the Irish dairy sector which is responsible for over a quarter of all food exports and is a major contributor to the prepared food sector (22% of total exports),
Low fertility is mostly a result of events before or after insemination. And to overcome these barriers we require a greater understanding of the biochemical and cellular processes behind the co-ordinated physiological regulation of ovarian, oocyte, embryo and uterine function at this important time.
With a recent grant award of €7.4 million from Science Foundation Ireland (announced on 13 November 2007), a group of internationally recognised scientists from University College Dublin (UCD) and Teagasc, along with industry partners Pfizer and Biotrin Technologies, will focus on investigating the biology of peri-ovulatory and post ovulatory events that lead to the establishment of pregnancy in the dairy cow.
“The idea is to develop approaches and/or technologies to improve fertility in dairy cows, discoveries which may also have real implications for the treatment of infertility in other species, particularly humans,” says Professor Alexander Evans from the UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science, and Veterinary Medicine, who is leading the research project.
“The intensive selection for increased milk production, coupled with improved nutrition which has led to significant improvements in milk output per cow over recent decades has resulted in a serious decline in cow fertility worldwide,” explains Professor Evans. “A decline in first service conceptions rates of about 1% per year has been reported.”
“This new research aims to enable us to counteract this decline in dairy cow fertility,” he says. “With a critical mass and using the latest technologies, our multi-disciplinary team of researchers and industry scientists will analyse a continuum of critical biological events which lead to pregnancy to find solutions to these fertility problems.”
The industry partners on the research project, Pfizer Animal Health and Biotrin have identified this area of research as having major potential for the development of new products for a global market. Both companies have already commercialised reproduction-related products and have major ongoing Research and Development programmes in the area.
Pfizer scientists will bring their scientific technologies and commercial insights and acumen to enhance the commercial strength of the project through chemical synthesis, evaluation, and screening of new biomarkers and potential therapies to modulate reproductive function. Scientists in Biotrin will assist in the development and commercialisation of diagnostic products.
The grant support received from SFI towards this research project clearly demonstrates the government’s acknowledgement of the importance of the agri-food industries and, in particular, the dairy industry to Ireland’s future prosperity. This significant investment in research and scientific training will further serve a knowledge driven agricultural industry in Ireland.
Dominic Martella | alfa
Raiding the rape field
23.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
New technique reveals details of forest fire recovery
17.05.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences