Variation in enteric methane emissions among cows on commercial dairy farms

Bell, Matthew J. and Potterton, S.L. and Craigon, J. and Saunders, N. and Wilcox, R.H. and Hunter, M and Goodman, J.R and Garnsworthy, P.C. (2014) Variation in enteric methane emissions among cows on commercial dairy farms. Animal, 8 (9). pp. 1540-1546. ISSN 1751-732X

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Abstract

Methane (CH4) emissions by dairy cows vary with feed intake and diet composition. Even when fed on the same diet at the same intake, however, variation between cows in CH4 emissions can be substantial. The extent of variation in CH4 emissions among dairy cows on commercial farms is unknown, but developments in methodology now permit quantification of CH4 emissions by individual cows under commercial conditions. The aim of this research was to assess variation among cows in emissions of eructed CH4 during milking on commercial dairy farms. Enteric CH4 emissions from 1,964 individual cows across 21 farms were measured for at least 7 days per cow using CH4 analysers at robotic milking stations. Cows were predominantly of Holstein Friesian breed and remained on the same feeding systems during sampling. Effects of explanatory variables on average CH4 emissions per individual cow were assessed by fitting a linear mixed model. Significant effects were found for week of lactation, daily milk yield and farm. The effect of milk yield on CH4 emissions varied among farms. Considerable variation in CH4 emissions was observed among cows after adjusting for fixed and random effects, with the coefficient of variation ranging from 22 to 67% within farms. This study confirms that enteric CH4 emissions vary among cows on commercial farms, suggesting that there is considerable scope for selecting individual cows and management systems with reduced emissions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Animal Consortium 2014
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Biosciences
University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Biosciences > Division of Animal Sciences
Identification Number: 10.1017/S1751731114001530
Depositing User: Garnsworthy, Phil
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2017 10:23
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 08:23
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/46394

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