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Effect of concentrate feed level on methane emissions from grazing dairy cows
- Jiao, H.P., Dale, A.J., Carson, A.F., Murray, S., Gordon, A.W., Ferris, C.P.
- Journal of dairy science 2014 v.97 no.11 pp. 7043-7053
- Holstein, body weight, dairy cows, dry matter intake, energy intake, equations, feed concentrates, forage, grazing, greenhouse gas emissions, methane, methane production, milk, milk composition, milk yield, prediction, sulfur hexafluoride
- Although the effect of nutrition on enteric methane (CH4) emissions from confined dairy cattle has been extensively examined, less information is available on factors influencing CH4 emissions from grazing dairy cattle. In the present experiment, 40 Holstein-Friesian dairy cows (12 primiparous and 28 multiparous) were used to examine the effect of concentrate feed level (2.0, 4.0, 6.0, and 8.0kg/cow per day; fresh basis) on enteric CH4 emissions from cows grazing perennial ryegrass-based swards (10 cows per treatment). Methane emissions were measured on 4 occasions during the grazing period (one 4-d measurement period and three 5-d measurement periods) using the sulfur hexafluoride technique. Milk yield, liveweight, and milk composition for each cow was recorded daily during each CH4 measurement period, whereas daily herbage dry matter intake (DMI) was estimated for each cow from performance data, using the back-calculation approach. Total DMI, milk yield, and energy-corrected milk (ECM) yield increased with increasing concentrate feed level. Within each of the 4 measurement periods, daily CH4 production (g/d) was unaffected by concentrate level, whereas CH4/DMI decreased with increasing concentrate feed level in period 4, and CH4/ECM yield decreased with increasing concentrate feed level in periods 2 and 4. When emissions data were combined across all 4 measurement periods, concentrate feed level (2.0, 4.0, 6.0, and 8.0kg/d; fresh basis) had no effect on daily CH4 emissions (287, 273, 272, and 277g/d, respectively), whereas CH4/DMI (20.0, 19.3, 17.7, and 18.1g/kg, respectively) and CH4-E/gross energy intake (0.059, 0.057, 0.053, and 0.054, respectively) decreased with increasing concentrate feed levels. A range of prediction equations for CH4 emissions were developed using liveweight, DMI, ECM yield, and energy intake, with the strongest relationship found between ECM yield and CH4/ECM yield (coefficient of determination=0.50). These results demonstrate that offering concentrates to grazing dairy cows increased milk production per cow and decreased CH4 emissions per unit of milk produced.