Response to climate change: evaluation of methane emissions in Northern Australian beef cattle on a high quality diet supplemented with Desmanthus using open-circuit respiration chambers and GreenFeed emission monitoring systems

Suybeng, Bénédicte, Mwangi, Felista W., McSweeney, Christopher S., Charmley, Edward, Gardiner, Christopher P., Malau-Aduli, Bunmi S., and Malau-Aduli, Aduli E. O. (2021) Response to climate change: evaluation of methane emissions in Northern Australian beef cattle on a high quality diet supplemented with Desmanthus using open-circuit respiration chambers and GreenFeed emission monitoring systems. Biology, 10 (9). 943.

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Abstract

Simple Summary The beef industry in Northern Australia is characterized by an extensive grazing system in dry tropical rangelands defined by climate change indices of very low rainfall, a prolonged dry season and feeds of low nutritive value. In response, beef cattle need to be more efficient in converting the available drought-tolerant feeds to muscle, in an attempt to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. This study addressed the problem of reducing methane emissions from tropical beef cattle with the goal of decreasing the impact of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in Northern Australia. The primary objective was to compare the effect of supplementing tropical beef cattle with both good quality lucerne and poor quality hay with increasing levels of different Desmanthus cultivars on in vivo methane emission. The results showed that in tropical beef cattle on high-quality diets, irrespective of cultivar and emission evaluation method, Desmanthus does not reduce methane emissions.

Abstract The main objective of this study was to compare the effect of supplementing beef cattle with Desmanthus virgatus cv. JCU2, D. bicornutus cv. JCU4, D. leptophyllus cv. JCU7 and lucerne on in vivo methane (CH4) emissions measured by open-circuit respiration chambers (OC) or the GreenFeed emission monitoring (GEM) system. Experiment 1 employed OC and utilized sixteen yearling Brangus steers fed a basal diet of Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) hay in four treatments—the three Desmanthus cultivars and lucerne (Medicago sativa) at 30% dry matter intake (DMI). Polyethylene glycol (PEG) was added to the diets to neutralize tannin binding and explore the effect on CH4 emissions. Experiment 2 employed GEM and utilized forty-eight animals allocated to four treatments including a basal diet of Rhodes grass hay plus the three Desmanthus cultivars in equal proportions at 0, 15, 30 and 45% DMI. Lucerne was added to equilibrate crude protein content in all treatments. Experiment 1 showed no difference in CH4 emissions between the Desmanthus cultivars, between Desmanthus and lucerne or between Desmanthus and the basal diet. Experiment 2 showed an increase in CH4 emissions in the three levels containing Desmanthus. It is concluded that on high-quality diets, Desmanthus does not reduce CH4 emissions.

Item ID: 69433
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2079-7737
Keywords: methane emission; mitigation; climate change; tannins; Desmanthus bicornutus; Desmanthus leptophyllus; Desmanthus virgatus; polyethylene glycol; GreenFeed; tropical beef cattle
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Copyright Information: © © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2021 02:41
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3003 Animal production > 300303 Animal nutrition @ 90%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3003 Animal production > 300307 Environmental studies in animal production @ 10%
SEO Codes: 10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1004 Livestock raising > 100401 Beef cattle @ 100%
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