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Methane emissions and 13C composition from beef steers consuming binary C3–C4 diets

By: David M Jaramillo, Martin Ruiz-Moreno, Joao M B Vendramini, Lynn E Sollenberger, Nicolas DiLorenzo, Luana M D Queiroz, Erick R S Santos, Liza Garcia, Daciele S Abreu, Jose C B Dubeux, Jr.

Investigating methods for reducing enteric methane emissions from ruminant livestock are important to reduce environmental impacts and improving production efficiency through reduced energy losses. This experiment evaluated the effects of increasing proportion of rhizoma peanut hay (a C3 legume) into bahiagrass hay (a C4 grass) on intake and methane production in beef steers. In addition, carbon stable isotopes (13C) of the methane emitted were used to back-calculate the diet components consumed. Angus-crossbred steers were randomly allocated to one of five hay diets (treatments): 1) 100% bahiagrass; 2) 25% rhizoma peanut + 75% bahiagrass; 3) 50% rhizoma peanut + 50% bahiagrass; 4) 75% rhizoma peanut + 25% bahiagrass; 5) 100% rhizoma peanut. Inclusion of rhizoma peanut did not affect intake or methane production, but apparent total tract digestibility increased as proportion of rhizoma peanut increased in the diet. The carbon stable isotope composition observed from enteric methane production was within the expected ranges for C3–C4 forage diets. Furthermore, the carbon stable isotope composition from enteric methane production was useful in predicting contributions from each diet source in C3–C4 binary diets.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.