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Special Issue "Sustainable Animal Production"

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A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Alan Fredeen

Department of Plant and Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Agricultural Campus, Dalhousie University, Truro, NS, B2N 5E3, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 19028936649
Interests: sustainable dairy systems; pasture-based milk production

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As leading scientists on the agricultural use of animals, we are needed to interpret the issues and propose mechanisms to effect the changes necessary to provide for futuristic relevance of agricultural animal use on the planet. We cannot simply justify the status quo to which we are undeniably linked. Critical thinking is required to address the urgent need to improve the sustainability of animal agriculture within the context of over-consumption of animal products in emerging and developed economies, health and welfare concerns at all levels of the agroecosystem, as well as increasing environmental impact. The rapidly changing context of sustainable development now includes adaptation to a changing environment and increasing vulnerability of production systems that are dependent on purchased inputs and because of which spread the impacts of animal production beyond the farm gate. Concurrently, changing size demographics of animal production units is switching responsibility for the impacts from farmer to corporate. Justification for the agricultural use of animals in the future will require out-of-the-box, system-level thinking to identify the win/win opportunities to improve sustainability as well as the metrics needed to direct true progress towards greater sustainability in the broadest sense of the meaning.

Prof. Dr. Alan Fredeen
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 500 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • animal
  • sustainability
  • environment
  • adaptation
  • agroecosystems
  • health
  • welfare

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Farm Management in Organic and Conventional Dairy Production Systems Based on Pasture in Southern Brazil and Its Consequences on Production and Milk Quality
Animals 2015, 5(3), 479-494; doi:10.3390/ani5030367
Received: 9 December 2014 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 9 July 2015
PDF Full-text (507 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pasture-based dairy production is used widely on family dairy farms in Southern Brazil. This study investigates conventional high input (C-HI), conventional low input (C-LI), and organic low input (O-LI) pasture-based systems and their effects on quantity and quality of the milk produced. We
[...] Read more.
Pasture-based dairy production is used widely on family dairy farms in Southern Brazil. This study investigates conventional high input (C-HI), conventional low input (C-LI), and organic low input (O-LI) pasture-based systems and their effects on quantity and quality of the milk produced. We conducted technical site visits and interviews monthly over one year on 24 family farms (n = 8 per type). C-HI farms had the greatest total area (28.9 ha), greatest percentage of area with annual pasture (38.7%), largest number of lactating animals (26.2) and greatest milk yield per cow (22.8 kg·day−1). O-LI farms had the largest perennial pasture area (52.3%), with the greatest botanical richness during all seasons. Area of perennial pasture was positively correlated with number of species consumed by the animals (R2 = 0.74). Milk from O-LI farms had higher levels of fat and total solids only during the winter. Hygienic and microbiological quality of the milk was poor for all farms and need to be improved. C-HI farms had high milk yield related to high input, C-LI had intermediate characteristics and O-LI utilized a year round perennial pasture as a strategy to diminish the use of supplements in animal diets, which is an important aspect in ensuring production sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Animal Production)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Adding Corn Dried Distiller Grains with Solubles (DDGS) to the Dairy Cow Diet and Effects of Bedding in Dairy Cow Slurry on Fugitive Methane Emissions
Animals 2014, 4(4), 767-778; doi:10.3390/ani4040767
Received: 11 November 2014 / Revised: 2 December 2014 / Accepted: 2 December 2014 / Published: 9 December 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (98 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The specific objectives of this experiment were to investigate the effects of adding 10% or 30% corn dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) to the dairy cow diet and the effects of bedding type (wood shavings, straw or peat moss) in dairy slurry
[...] Read more.
The specific objectives of this experiment were to investigate the effects of adding 10% or 30% corn dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) to the dairy cow diet and the effects of bedding type (wood shavings, straw or peat moss) in dairy slurry on fugitive CH4 emissions. The addition of DDGS10 to the dairy cow diet significantly increased (29%) the daily amount of fat excreted in slurry compared to the control diet. The inclusion of DDGS30 in the diet increased the daily amounts of excreted DM, volatile solids (VS), fat, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF) and hemicellulose by 18%, 18%, 70%, 30%, 15% and 53%, respectively, compared to the control diet. During the storage experiment, daily fugitive CH4 emissions showed a significant increase of 15% (p < 0.05) for the slurry resulting from the corn DDGS30 diet. The addition of wood shavings and straw did not have a significant effect on daily fugitive CH4 emissions relative to the control diet, whereas the addition of peat moss caused a significant increase of 27% (p < 0.05) in fugitive CH4 emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Animal Production)
Open AccessArticle Productive and Economic Responses in Grazing Dairy Cows to Grain Supplementation on Family Farms in the South of Brazil
Animals 2014, 4(3), 463-475; doi:10.3390/ani4030463
Received: 6 April 2014 / Revised: 30 June 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 17 July 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (94 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pasture-based dairy production has been a major source of income for most family farms in the south of Brazil. Increasing milk prices have spurred an increase in grain supplementation, which has been poorly implemented, resulting in low levels of efficiency. To evaluate the
[...] Read more.
Pasture-based dairy production has been a major source of income for most family farms in the south of Brazil. Increasing milk prices have spurred an increase in grain supplementation, which has been poorly implemented, resulting in low levels of efficiency. To evaluate the consequences of supplementation on milk production and composition, grazing behavior and economic return, the widely used grain management system (CC-commercial concentrate, containing 21% CP, offered at 1 kg per 3.7 L of milk) was compared with an energy supplement (GC-ground corn, with 9.5% CP, offered at 0.4% of live weight). Ten Holstein cows were paired into two groups, and subjected to the two treatments in a crossover design. The cows remained in the same grazing group, and the grain supplement was offered individually at milking time and consumed completely. Each experimental period lasted 14 days, with 10 days for diet adaptation and four days for data collection; individual milk production and samples were collected to determine levels of fat, protein, lactose, carotenoids, vitamin A and N-urea. Grazing behavior was observed (scans every 5 min) in the first 4 h after the morning milking, and chemical composition of hand plucked samples of forage were measured. The cost of the supplement and profitability per treatment were calculated. Cows supplemented with GC consumed herbage with higher crude protein (CP: 16.23 vs. 14.62%; p < 0.05), had higher biting rate (44.21 vs. 39.54 bites/min; p < 0.03) and grazing time (22.20 vs. 20.55 scans; p < 0.05) than when receiving CC. There were no differences in milk composition between treatments (p > 0.05). However, higher concentrations of β-carotene and total carotenoids were detected in the milk of cows at 70–164 days of lactation, compared to <70 days of lactation (p < 0.05). Milk production was higher (13.19 vs. 11.59 kg/day; p < 0.05) when cows consumed CC, but resulted in lower profitability compared to GC (US$ 4.39 vs. US$ 4.83/cow per day). Our results show that higher productivity does not necessarily improve profitability. Cows receiving supplement with lower levels of protein were able to adjust their grazing behavior to meet their protein needs and this level of diet modification did not alter milk composition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Animal Production)
Open AccessArticle Comparison of Performance, Meat Lipids and Oxidative Status of Pigs from Commercial Breed and Organic Crossbreed
Animals 2014, 4(2), 348-360; doi:10.3390/ani4020348
Received: 10 February 2014 / Revised: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 5 June 2014 / Published: 19 June 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (94 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this research was to determine the effect of rearing systems for pig production, as concerns performance, meat lipid content, the fatty acid profile, histidinic antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, and TBARs. One hundred pigs were assigned to one of three treatments: intensively
[...] Read more.
The aim of this research was to determine the effect of rearing systems for pig production, as concerns performance, meat lipid content, the fatty acid profile, histidinic antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, and TBARs. One hundred pigs were assigned to one of three treatments: intensively reared commercial hybrid pig (I), free range commercial hybrid pig (FR) or organically reared crossbred pig (O), according to organic EU Regulations. I pigs showed the best productive performance, but FR and O increased: C20:1n9, Δ9-desaturase (C18) and thioesterase indices in meat. Lipid, dipeptides and CoQ10 appeared correlated to glycolytic and oxidative metabolic pathways. We can conclude that all studied parameters were influenced by the rearing system used, and that differences were particularly evident in the O system, which produced leaner meat with higher oxidative stability. In this respect, the organic pig rearing system promotes and enhances biodiversity, environmental sustainability and food quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Animal Production)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Corn Dried Distiller Grains with Solubles (DDGS) in Dairy Cow Diets on Manure Bioenergy Production Potential
Animals 2014, 4(1), 82-92; doi:10.3390/ani4010082
Received: 4 December 2013 / Revised: 22 January 2014 / Accepted: 26 February 2014 / Published: 5 March 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (133 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main objective of this study was to obtain scientifically sound data on the bioenergy potential of dairy manures from cows fed different levels of corn dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS). Three diets differing in corn DDGS content were formulated: 0% corn
[...] Read more.
The main objective of this study was to obtain scientifically sound data on the bioenergy potential of dairy manures from cows fed different levels of corn dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS). Three diets differing in corn DDGS content were formulated: 0% corn DDGS (DDGS0; control diet), 10% corn DDGS (DDGS10) and 30% corn DDGS (DDGS30). Bioenergy production was determined in psychrophilic (25 ± 1 °C) sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) fed 3 g COD L−1·day−1 during a two-week feeding period followed by a two-week react period. Compared to the control diet, adding DDGS10 and DDGS30 to the dairy cow diet increased the daily amount of fat excreted in slurry by 29% and 70%, respectively. The addition of DDGS30 increased the cows’ daily production of fresh feces and slurry by 15% and 11%, respectively. Furthermore, the incorporation of DDGS30 in the diet increased the daily amounts of dry matter (DM), volatile solids (VS), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF) and hemicellulose by 18%, 18%, 30%, 15% and 53%, respectively, compared to the control diet. While the addition of DDGS did not significantly affect the specific CH4 production per kg VS compared to the control diet, DDGS30 increased the per cow daily CH4 production by 14% compared to the control diet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Animal Production)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Different Housing Systems on Distribution, Function and Mitogen-Response of Leukocytes in Pregnant Sows
Animals 2013, 3(4), 1123-1141; doi:10.3390/ani3041123
Received: 29 October 2013 / Revised: 26 November 2013 / Accepted: 28 November 2013 / Published: 3 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (319 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In pig production, pregnant sows are either housed in individual crates or in groups, the latter being mandatory in the EU since 2013. The consequences of different housing conditions on the immune system are however poorly investigated, although immunological alterations may have severe
[...] Read more.
In pig production, pregnant sows are either housed in individual crates or in groups, the latter being mandatory in the EU since 2013. The consequences of different housing conditions on the immune system are however poorly investigated, although immunological alterations may have severe consequences for the animal’s health, performance, and welfare. This study assessed measures of blood celluar immunity with special emphasis on T cells in pregnant German Landrace sows either housed in individual crates or in a social group. Blood samples were taken at four samplings pre partum to evaluate numbers of lymphocyte subpopulations, mitogen-induced lymphocyte proliferation and cytokine-producing T cells. Plasma cortisol concentrations were evaluated as an indicator of stress. We found lower blood lymphocyte numbers (p < 0.01) in individually housed as opposed to group-housed sows, an effect due to lower numbers of cytotoxic T cells, naive TH cells, and CD8+ gd-T cells. Individually housed sows showed higher cortisol concentrations (p < 0.01), whereas lymphocyte functionality did not differ between sows of both housing systems. Possible implications and underlying mechanisms for the endocrine and immunological differences are discussed. We favor the hypothesis that differences in the stressfulness of the environment contributed to the effects, with crate-housing being a more stressful environment—at least under conditions of this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Animal Production)

Review

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Open AccessReview Potential of Biological Processes to Eliminate Antibiotics in Livestock Manure: An Overview
Animals 2014, 4(2), 146-163; doi:10.3390/ani4020146
Received: 27 November 2013 / Revised: 27 March 2014 / Accepted: 28 March 2014 / Published: 4 April 2014
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (115 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Degrading antibiotics discharged in the livestock manure in a well-controlled bioprocess contributes to a more sustainable and environment-friendly livestock breeding. Although most antibiotics remain stable during manure storage, anaerobic digestion can degrade and remove them to various extents depending on the concentration and
[...] Read more.
Degrading antibiotics discharged in the livestock manure in a well-controlled bioprocess contributes to a more sustainable and environment-friendly livestock breeding. Although most antibiotics remain stable during manure storage, anaerobic digestion can degrade and remove them to various extents depending on the concentration and class of antibiotic, bioreactor operating conditions, type of feedstock and inoculum sources. Generally, antibiotics are degraded during composting > anaerobic digestion > manure storage > soil. Manure matrix variation influences extraction, quantification, and degradation of antibiotics, but it has not been well investigated. Fractioning of manure-laden antibiotics into liquid and solid phases and its effects on their anaerobic degradation and the contribution of abiotic (physical and chemical) versus biotic degradation mechanisms need to be quantified for various manures, antibiotics types, reactor designs and temperature of operations. More research is required to determine the kinetics of antibiotics’ metabolites degradation during anaerobic digestion. Further investigations are required to assess the degradation of antibiotics during psychrophilic anaerobic digestion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Animal Production)

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