The effects of feeding 3-nitrooxypropanol on methane emissions and productivity of Holstein cows in mid lactation.

Haisan, J., Sun, Y., Guan, L.L., Beauchemin, K.A., Iwaasa, A.D., Duval, S., Barreda, D.R., and Oba, M. (2014). "The effects of feeding 3-nitrooxypropanol on methane emissions and productivity of Holstein cows in mid lactation.", Journal of Dairy Science (JDS), 97(5), pp. 3110-3119. doi : 10.3168/jds.2013-7834  Access to full text


The objective of the current study was to determine the effects of adding 3-nitrooxypropanol to the diet of lactating Holstein cows on methane emissions, rumen fermentation, ruminal microbial profile, and milk production. Twelve ruminally cannulated Holstein cows in midlactation were used in a crossover design study with 28-d periods. Cows were fed a diet containing 38% forage on a dry matter basis with either 2,500 mg/d of 3-nitrooxypropanol (fed as 25 g of 10% 3-nitrooxypropanol on silicon dioxide) or 25 g/d of silicon dioxide (control). After a 21-d diet adaptation period, dry matter intake (DMI) and milk yield were recorded daily. Rumen fluid and digesta were collected on d 22 and 28 for volatile fatty acid analysis and microbial profiling. Enteric methane emissions were measured on d 23 to 27 using the sulfur hexafluoride tracer gas technique. Feeding 3-nitrooxypropanol did not affect DMI; however, methane production was reduced from 17.8 to 7.18 g/kg of DMI. No change in milk or milk component yields was observed, but cows fed 3-nitrooxypropanol gained more body weight than control cows (1.06 vs. 0.39 kg/d). Concentrations of total volatile fatty acids in ruminal fluid were not affected by treatment, but a reduction in acetate proportion and a tendency for an increase in propionate proportion was noted. As such, a reduction in the acetate-to-propionate ratio was observed (2.02 vs. 2.36). Protozoa counts were not affected by treatment; however, a reduction in methanogen copy count number was observed when 3-nitrooxypropanol was fed (0.95 vs. 2.69 × 108/g of rumen digesta). The data showed that feeding 3-nitrooxypropanol to lactating dairy cows at 2,500 mg/d can reduce methane emissions without compromising DMI or milk production.

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