Performance and enteric methane emissions from housed beef cattle fed silage produced on pastures with different forage profiles

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Meo-Filho, P., Hood, J., Lee, M. R. F., Fleming, H. R., Elayadeth-Meethal, M. and Misselbrook, T. H. 2023. Performance and enteric methane emissions from housed beef cattle fed silage produced on pastures with different forage profiles. Animal. 17 (4), p. 100726. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.animal.2023.100726

AuthorsMeo-Filho, P., Hood, J., Lee, M. R. F., Fleming, H. R., Elayadeth-Meethal, M. and Misselbrook, T. H.
Abstract

Methane (CH4) produced by ruminants is a significant source of greenhouse gases (GHG) from agriculture in the United Kingdom (UK), accounting for approximately 50% of the emissions in this sector. Ration modification is linked to changes in rumen fermentation and can be an effective means of CH4 abatement. In temperate climate countries, forage silage represents a major feed component for cattle during the housing period. The objective of this study was, therefore, to compare enteric CH4 emission from cattle offered silage produced from different types of grassland. Beef cattle, steers (n = 89) and heifers (n = 88) with average liveweight (LW) of 328 ± 57.1 kg, were evaluated during two housing seasons (2016-2017 and 2017-2018) from November to April, at the Rothamsted Research North Wyke Farm Platform (NWFP, UK). The treatments corresponded to three diet types, comprising silage harvested from three different pastures: MRG, monoculture of perennial ryegrass (PRG, Lolium perenne L.cv. AberMagic), bred to express the high sugar phenotype; RG-WC, a mixed sward comprised of the same perennial ryegrass cultivar with white clover (Trifolium repens L.) with a target clover proportion of 30% as land cover; and PP, permanent pasture dominated by PRG and a small number of non-introduced species. MRG and PP received 160-200 kg N/ha/year. Cattle were weighed every 30 days and the enteric CH4 emission was determined using GreenFeed automated systems. No significant differences in enteric CH4 emission per head or per kg LW were observed between treatments. However, emission expressed per average daily gain (ADG) in LW was greater (p<0.001) for MRG compared with RG-WC and PP, at 270, 248 and 235 g CH4/kg ADG, respectively. This related to a lower ADG (p=0.041) for the animals fed MRG silage compared with RG-WC and PP which were similar, with respective values of 0.67, 0.71 and 0.74 kg/day. The forages compared in this study showed little or no potential to reduce enteric CH4 emission when fed as silage to growing beef cattle during the winter housing period.

KeywordsGreenhouse gases; GreenFeed; Livestock; North Wyke Farm Platform; Ruminants
Year of Publication2023
JournalAnimal
Journal citation17 (4), p. 100726
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.animal.2023.100726
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 2 (WP2) - Adaptive management systems for improved efficiency and nutritional quality
The North Wyke Farm Platform- National Capability [2017-22]
Publisher's version
Accepted author manuscript
Supplemental file
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online02 Feb 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted27 Jan 2023
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
ISSN1751-7311

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