Review: Strategies for enteric methane mitigation in cattle fed tropical forages. uri icon

abstract

  • Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas (GHG) produced and released by eructation to the atmosphere in large volumes by ruminants. Enteric CH(4)contributes significantly to global GHG emissions arising from animal agriculture. It has been contended that tropical grasses produce higher emissions of enteric CH(4)than temperate grasses, when they are fed to ruminants. A number of experiments have been performed in respiration chambers and head-boxes to assess the enteric CH(4)mitigation potential of foliage and pods of tropical plants, as well as nitrates (NO3-) and vegetable oils in practical rations for cattle. On the basis of individual determinations of enteric CH(4)carried out in respiration chambers, the average CH(4)yield for cattle fed low-quality tropical grasses (>70% ration DM) was 17.0 g CH4/kg DM intake. Results showed that when foliage and ground pods of tropical trees and shrubs were incorporated in cattle rations, methane yield (g CH4/kg DM intake) was decreased by 10% to 25%, depending on plant species and level of intake of the ration. Incorporation of nitrates and vegetable oils in the ration decreased enteric CH(4)yield by similar to 6% to similar to 20%, respectively. Condensed tannins, saponins and starch contained in foliages, pods and seeds of tropical trees and shrubs, as well as nitrates and vegetable oils, can be fed to cattle to mitigate enteric CH(4)emissions under smallholder conditions. Strategies for enteric CH(4)mitigation in cattle grazing low-quality tropical forages can effectively increase productivity while decreasing enteric CH(4)emissions in absolute terms and per unit of product (e.g. meat, milk), thus reducing the contribution of ruminants to GHG emissions and therefore to climate change.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020