Interpretive Summary: Phenotypic relationship and repeatability of methane emissions and performance traits in beef cattle using a GreenFeed system
By: Clodagh V Ryan, Thierry Pabiou, Deirdre C Purfield, Stephen Conroy, Stuart F Kirwan, John J Crowley, Craig P Murphy, Ross D Evans
Methane production from cattle digestion results in the loss of 6% to 10% of gross energy intake in cattle and globally is the single most significant source of anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions. The purpose of this study was to analyze greenhouse gas traits recorded in a commercial feedlot unit to gain an understanding into the relationships between greenhouse gas traits and production traits of economic importance. Methane and carbon dioxide emissions recorded using Greenfeed systems were available on a total of 1,099 animals. In addition, performance indicators such as feed intake, live weight, ultrasound scanning data, and slaughter data were also available on all animals. Phenotypic repeatability of CH4 ranged from 0.13 to 0.74, with a CH4 repeatability of >0.6 achieved by both heifers and steers in 10-d measuring period. Due to the high repeatability of CH4 measures, an accurate portrayal of CH4 production can be observed from a 10-d measuring period when measures are averaged. Methane emission data were positively correlated with traits of economic importance. Phenotypically, animals with heavier body weights and greater feed intake had higher emissions.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.