Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences Collected Works - Research Publications

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    Automated hyperspectral vegetation index derivation using a hyperparameter optimisation framework for high-throughput plant phenotyping.
    Koh, JCO ; Banerjee, BP ; Spangenberg, G ; Kant, S (Wiley, 2022-03)
    Hyperspectral vegetation indices (VIs) are widely deployed in agriculture remote sensing and plant phenotyping to estimate plant biophysical and biochemical traits. However, existing VIs consist mainly of simple two-band indices that limit the net performance and often do not generalise well for traits other than those for which they were originally designed. We present an automated hyperspectral vegetation index (AutoVI) system for the rapid generation of novel two- to six-band trait-specific indices in a streamlined process covering model selection, optimisation and evaluation, driven by the tree parzen estimator algorithm. Its performance was tested in generating novel indices to estimate chlorophyll and sugar contents in wheat. Results showed that AutoVI can rapidly generate complex novel VIs (at least a four-band index) that correlated strongly (R2  > 0.8) with measured chlorophyll and sugar contents in wheat. Automated hyperspectral vegetation index-derived indices were used as features in simple and stepwise multiple linear regressions for chlorophyll and sugar content estimation, and outperformed the results achieved with the existing 47 VIs and those provided using partial least squares regression. The AutoVI system can deliver novel trait-specific VIs readily adoptable to high-throughput plant phenotyping platforms and should appeal to plant scientists and breeders. A graphical user interface for the AutoVI is provided here.
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    Sniffing out what Australians know and believe about Drug Detector Dogs
    Oliva, JL ; Cobb, ML (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2022-08-26)
    The ways in which drugs are policed, differs from country to country, with Drug Detector Dogs (DDDs) a commonly used detection strategy in Australia. However, their effectiveness has been scrutinized by Australian media and research. Despite this, their work and lives "on the job" continue to be portrayed in a positive light on popular television shows such as Border Security. The aim of the current study was to ascertain public perceptions and knowledge surrounding DDDs using a sample of 129 Australians. Results revealed participants believed DDDs were equally as interesting and as happy as companion dogs. However, while there was general support for both dog roles in human lives, participants were relatively less supportive of the use of DDDs. Importantly, findings suggest general Australians have little awareness of the lives of DDDs "off the job," including housing and handling practices that directly impact animal welfare. We suggest that greater transparency around these aspects of the dogs' lives and welfare experience be made publicly available so that the DDD industry can maintain their social license to operate.
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    "I Had No Idea That Other People in the World Thought Differently to Me": Ethical Challenges in Small Animal Veterinary Practice and Implications for Ethics Support and Education
    Richards, L ; Coghlan, S ; Delany, C (University of Toronto Press, 2020-12-01)
    Although veterinarians encounter ethical challenges in their everyday practice, few studies have examined how they make sense of and respond to them. This research used semi-structured interviews and a qualitative methodology (phenomenological and constructivist/interpretivist approaches) to explore ethical challenges experienced by seven small animal city veterinarians and their ethical decision-making strategies. Thematic analysis of the interview transcripts identified four broad ethical issues: The first concerned disagreements about the best interests of the animal; the second centered on clinical uncertainty about the most appropriate treatment for the animal; the third involved factors influencing ethical reasoning and decision making; and the fourth concerned how ethics education might prepare veterinary students for future ethical decision making. An overarching theme identified in the analysis was one of enormous personal distress. Furthermore, a sense of veterinarians being interested in how others might think and feel about ethical challenges came through in the data. The results give insight into how veterinarians experience and respond to ethical challenges. The research also provides empirical information about everyday practice to inform future education in ethics and ethical decision making for veterinary students.
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    Pampered pets or poor bastards? The welfare of dogs kept as companion animals
    Meyer, I ; Forkman, B ; Fredholm, M ; Glanville, C ; Guldbrandtsen, B ; Izaguirre, ER ; Palmer, C ; Sandoe, P (ELSEVIER, 2022-06-01)
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    High NH3 deposition in the environs of a commercial fattening pig farm in central south China
    Yi, W ; Shen, J ; Liu, G ; Wang, J ; Yu, L ; Li, Y ; Reis, S ; Wu, J (IOP Publishing Ltd, 2021-12-01)
    Abstract Intensive livestock production has been increasing, and has resulted in the emission of more than seven teragram per year of ammonia (NH3) in China in recent years. However, little is known about the fate of the emitted NH3, especially the dry deposition of NH3 in the environs of intensive animal farms. In this study, the spatial and temporal variations of NH3 deposition in the environs of an intensive fattening pig farm were investigated in the central south of China. NH3 concentrations were measured at sites situated 50, 100, 200, 300, and 500 m in the downwind direction from the farm each month from July 2018 to June 2019. The NH3 deposition was calculated based on a bidirectional NH3 exchange model. The monthly NH3 emissions from the pig farm were estimated based on the breeding stock. The annual average NH3 concentrations ranged from 1200 to 14 μg m−3 at the downwind sites within 500 m of the pig farm, exhibiting exponential decay as distance increased. Strong seasonality in NH3 deposition was observed, with the highest season being in the summer and lowest in the winter, and air temperature was found to be an important factor affecting this seasonal variation. The estimated monthly total dry deposition within 500 m of the pig farm ranged from 92 to 1400 kg NH3–N mo−1, which accounted for 4.1%–14% of the total monthly NH3 emissions from the pig farm. The estimated total NH3 emissions and NH3 deposition from the pig farm were 63 000 kg NH3–N yr−1 and 5400 kg NH3–N yr−1, respectively, with the annual average ratio of NH3 deposition to NH3 emission being 8.6%. This study found NH3 deposition around intensive pig farms is high, and determined it as a significant fate of the NH3 emitted from pig farms.
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    Impact of hot weather on animal performance and genetic strategies to minimise the effect
    Pryce, JE ; Nguyen, TTT ; Cheruiyot, EK ; Marett, L ; Garner, JB ; Haile-Mariam, M ; Eastwood, C (CSIRO PUBLISHING, 2022-02-01)
    Dairy cows in Australia and New Zealand are generally kept outdoors, making them susceptible to weather variability and in particular heat stress. In this paper, we review (1) exploiting genetic variability to improve heat tolerance, (2) genotype by environment interactions, i.e. suitability of high merit cows to weather variability and (3) how novel phenotyping and genomics can help improve heat tolerance. Selection for heat tolerance is a permanent and cumulative strategy and especially useful in grazing situations where management practices, such as cooling mechanisms, are sometimes impractical. Australia was the first country in the world to release breeding values for heat tolerance in dairy cattle nationally in 2017. The breeding value captures genetic variation in the reduction of milk production traits with rising temperature and humidity. The breeding values have been validated in independent studies (in Victoria, Australia, and California, USA), showing that thermotolerant cows maintain a lower core body temperature under hot and humid conditions. Genotype by environment interactions for traits sensitive to heat is only a concern for farms in very extreme conditions and therefore affect only a small proportion of individuals (those in the extreme 5th percentile). Heat tolerance is a complex trait in that in addition to milk traits, health and fertility may also be affected. Next-generation heat tolerance breeding values may include sensor device information in addition to changes in milk composition, or other measurable biomarkers. This is especially useful when measured in genotyped female populations. Research into novel ways of measuring heat tolerance could transform the way we select for this trait and capture more of the complexity of this trait. To be successful in this area, multi-disciplinary collaboration among animal scientists is likely to facilitate this goal. Combining genomics, traditional and novel measures of heat tolerance with intermediate metabolic biomarkers and prioritised genetic variants could be a way to capture the complexity of thermotolerance in future heat tolerance breeding values. Finally, selecting cows that are resilient to variability in weather is feasible and heat tolerance is a good example of this.
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    Controlled traffic farming and field traffic management: Perceptions of farmers groups from Northern and Western European countries
    Tamirat, TW ; Pedersen, SM ; Farquharson, RJ ; de Bruin, S ; Forristal, PD ; Sørensen, CG ; Nuyttens, D ; Pedersen, HH ; Thomsen, MN (Elsevier BV, 2022-03-01)
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    Interventions that influence animal-product consumption: A meta-review
    Grundy, EAC ; Slattery, P ; Saeri, AK ; Watkins, K ; Houlden, T ; Farr, N ; Askin, H ; Lee, J ; Mintoft-Jones, A ; Cyna, S ; Dziegielewski, A ; Gelber, R ; Rowe, A ; Mathur, MB ; Timmons, S ; Zhao, K ; Wilks, M ; Peacock, JR ; Harris, J ; Rosenfeld, DL ; Bryant, C ; Moss, D ; Zorker, M (Elsevier BV, 2022-06-01)
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    Irrigation subsidies and their externalities
    Hellegers, P ; Davidson, B ; Russ, J ; Waalewijn, P (ELSEVIER, 2021-10-30)