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Effect of dietary fat supplementation on methane emissions from dairy cows fed wheat or corn

Alvarez-Hess, P.S., Williams, S.R.O., Jacobs, J.L., Hannah, M.C., Beauchemin, K.A., Eckard, R.J., Wales, W.J., Morris, G.L., Moate, P.J. (2019). Effect of dietary fat supplementation on methane emissions from dairy cows fed wheat or corn, 102(3), 2714-2723. http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2018-14721

Abstract

© 2019 American Dairy Science Association Diets that contain high proportions of either wheat or supplementary fat have been individually reported to reduce enteric methane production. The objective of this research was to determine the effect of dietary fat supplementation on methane emissions and milk yield from cows fed diets containing either corn or wheat grains. It was hypothesized that cows fed a diet containing wheat would produce less methane and have lower methane yield (methane per kg of dry matter intake; MY) than cows fed a diet containing corn and that methane mitigation from fat supplementation would occur irrespective of the type of grain in the basal diet. The experiment involved 32 Holstein-Friesian dairy cows allocated to 1 of 4 treatment groups (n = 8) and individually fed different diets restricted to approximately 90% of their mean ad libitum intake measured during a covariate period. All animals were offered 11.5 kg of dry matter/d of alfalfa hay, 1.8 kg of dry matter/d of solvent-extracted canola meal, and 1 of 4 dietary supplements. Dietary supplements were 8 kg of dry matter/d of either corn or wheat, or these same treatments with the addition of 0.8 kg of canola oil. In this 5-wk experiment, d 1 to 7 served as the covariate period, d 8 to 14 as the transition period, d 15 to 28 as the adaptation period, and d 29 to 35 as the experimental period. Cows were fed their full treatment diets from d 15 to 35 during which time milk production and feed intake were measured daily. During d 29 to 35, methane production was measured for individual cows daily using the sulfur hexafluoride tracer method. The resulting averages for milk production and feed intake were analyzed by analysis of covariance with factorial grain by fat as treatment structure, animal as the unit within blocks, and the corresponding milk production or feed intake covariate averages as principal covariate. Data on milk fatty acids, ruminal fluid data on pH, ammonia, volatile fatty acids, protozoa, and methane were analyzed by ANOVA using the same treatment and blocking structures excluding the principal covariate. Cows fed a diet containing wheat had greater MY than cows fed a diet containing corn. Irrespective of the type of grain in the diet, increasing the fat concentration from 2 to 6% dry matter reduced MY. It is concluded that the grain component in the basal diet does not affect the mitigating effects of dietary fat supplements on MY.

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