Differences in the nutrient concentrations, in vitro methanogenic potential and other fermentative traits of tropical grasses and legumes for beef production systems in northern Australia

Durmic, Zoey, Ramírez-Restrepo, Carlos A., Gardiner, Chris, O'Neil, Christopher J., Hussein, Eman, and Vercoe, Phillip E. (2017) Differences in the nutrient concentrations, in vitro methanogenic potential and other fermentative traits of tropical grasses and legumes for beef production systems in northern Australia. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 97 (12). pp. 4075-4082.

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View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.8274
 
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Abstract

BACKGROUND: In northern Australia, beef cattle grazed extensively on tropical rangelands are responsible for 5% of the nation's total greenhouse gas emissions. Methane (CH4) is a potent greenhouse gas and in grazing ruminants might be mitigated by selecting forages that, when consumed, produce less CH4 when fermented by rumen microbes. This study examined variability in the in vitro fermentation patterns including CH4 production of selected tropical grasses and legumes to identify candidates for CH4 mitigation in grazing livestock in northern Australia.

RESULTS: Nutritive values and fermentation parameters varied between plant species and across seasons. Grasses with a relative low methanogenic potential were Urochloa mosambicensis (wet summer), Bothriochloa decipiens (autumn), Sorghum plumosum (winter) and Andropogon gayanus (spring), while the legumes were Calliandra calothyrsus (wet summer and autumn), Stylosanthes scabra (winter) and Desmanthus leptophyllus (spring). There was some correlation between CH4 production and overall fermantation (volatile fatty acid concentrations) in grasses (R2=0.67), but not in legumes (R2=0.01) and there were multiple plants that had lower CH4 not associated with reduction in microbial activity.

CONCLUSION: Differences in nutrient concentrations of tropical grasses and legumes may provide grazing on these pastures, while offering some CH4 mitigation options in the context of northern Australian extensive beef farming systems.

Item ID: 47516
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1097-0010
Keywords: rumen fermentation, CH4, Australian plants, beef, grazing, forage
Funders: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Future Farm Industry CRC
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2017 04:31
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070303 Crop and Pasture Biochemistry and Physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8304 Pasture, Browse and Fodder Crops > 830406 Sown Pastures (excl. Lucerne) @ 100%
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