Effective Nutritional Strategies to Mitigate Enteric Methane in Dairy Cattle: ASAS Member Alex Hristov at EAAP
Research over the past decade have provided critical information on the factors that drive enteric methane emission in ruminants. At the European Federation of Animal Sciences meeting in Porto, Portugal, September 5-9, 2022, ASAS member, Alexander Hristov from Pennsylvania State University focused on nutritional strategies that can mitigate enteric methane emissions. Strategies for reducing methane emission from dairy and beef cattle and small ruminants include methane inhibitors, alternative electron sinks, vegetable oils and oilseeds, and tanniferous forages. Although these strategies are effective in decreasing methane emission, animal health concerns with some of them need to be addressed. For example, tannins and tanniferous forages may have a negative impact on nutrient digestibility. Well designed, long-term research is needed to determine the effects of these methane emission strategies on overall animal performance. Studies at Pennsylvania State University have demonstrated that dairy cows fed the methane inhibitor 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP) emit one-third less methane. Strategies to mitigate methane emissions will likely depend on government policies, cost, and the willingness of consumers to pay a higher price for animal products with decreased carbon footprint.