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Methane mitigating options with forages fed to ruminants

Abstract : Nutritional strategies, including feed management measures, are promising methods for CH4 and overall GHG reduction. Evidence from literature is reviewed in this article in relation to the effects of forage quality (digestible organic matter, DOM) and forage type (grasses vs. legumes, and maize). The major determinants of forage quality are botanical composition and phenological stage, i.e., at advanced growth stages of plants, the fibre content increases while DOM decreases. Methane yield (g/kg DMI) decreases with increased digestibility of forages in both dairy cattle and sheep, and also CH4 intensity (g/kg milk) decreases with increased digestibility of forages for dairy cattle. Using forage legumes in ruminant feeding systems can reduce overall GHG emissions due to decreased N fertilizer use and related emissions. Recommended dietary mitigation measures are often related to a reduction in N excretion such as better matching of dietary protein to animal needs, shifting N excretion from urine to faeces (by tannin inclusion at low levels) and reducing the amount of excreted fermentable organic matter. Methane decreases with increasing intake of forage legumes rich in tannins and there is a shift of N partition from urinary N towards faecal N. Reduced CH4 emissions from ruminants fed on forage-based diets will decrease the carbon footprint of livestock and agriculture and improve the efficiency of productive ruminants in both developing and developed countries. Likewise, estimations of net CH4 output should account for enteric CH4 emissions and soil carbon (C) sequestration of land used for feed production (i.e., grasslands and croplands).
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03300248
Contributor : Sabine Rossi <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 27, 2021 - 8:57:02 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 5, 2021 - 3:40:34 AM

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Maguy Eugène, Katja Klumpp, Daniel Sauvant. Methane mitigating options with forages fed to ruminants. Grass and Forage Science, Wiley, 2021, 76 (2), pp.196-204. ⟨10.1111/gfs.12540⟩. ⟨hal-03300248⟩

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