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The SF6 Tracer Technique: Methane Measurement From Ruminants

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6133-2_3
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    ABSTRACT: 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 8.0 kg/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 8.0 kg/d; fresh basis) had no effect on daily CH4 emissions (287, 273, 272, and 277 g/d, respectively), whereas CH4/DMI (20.0, 19.3, 17.7, and 18.1 g/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.
    Journal of Dairy Science 08/2014; · 2.55 Impact Factor
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    Edited by MG Lambert, 04/2014; Ministry for Primary Industries., ISBN: 978-0-478-43210-7
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    ABSTRACT: Ruminal gases, particularly methane, generated during the fermentative process in rumen, represent a partial loss of feed energy and are also pointed to as an important factors in greenhouse effect. This study aimed at quantifying methane (CH4) emission rates from lactating and dry cows and heifers, 24 month-old in average, on pasture under Southeast Brazil tropical conditions, using the tracer gas technique, sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), four animals per category, distributed in four blocks. Measurements were performed in February and June, 2002, with Holstein and Brazilian Dairy Crossbred (Holstein ¾ x Gir (Zebu) ¼), maintained on fertilized Tanzania-grass (Panicum maximum Jacq. cv. Tanzania) and fertilized Brachiaria-grass (Brachiaria decumbens cv. Basilisk) pastures. Heifers of both breeds were maintained on unfertilized Brachiaria-grass to simulate conditions of extensive cattle farming systems. CH4 and SF6 levels were measured with gas chromatography. Differences in CH4 emissions were measured (p < 0.05) for genetical groups. Holstein produced more methane (299.3 g day-1) than the Crossbred (264.2 g day-1). Lactating cows produced more methane (353.8 g day-1) than dry cows (268.8 g day-1) and heifers (222.6 g day-1). Holstein, with greater milk production potential, produced less CH4 (p < 0.05) per unit of dry matter intake (19.1 g kg-1) than the Crossbred (22.0 g kg-1). Methane emission by heifers grazing fertilized pasture (intensive system) was 222.6 g day-1, greater (p < 0.05) than that of heifers on unfertilized pasture (179.2 g day-1). Methane emission varied as function of animal category and management intensity of production system.
    Scientia Agricola 12/2009; 66(6):742-750. · 0.92 Impact Factor

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