Enteric methane emissions and efficiency of use of energy in Holstein heifers and steers at age of six months

H. Jiao, T. Yan, D.A. McDowell, A.F. Carson, C.P. Ferris, D.L. Easson, D Wills

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    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Twenty 5-mo-old Holstein cattle (10 steers and 10 heifers) were selected from a dairy herd for a 28 d study of enteric methane emissions and energy utilization. The cattle were offered a completely mixed diet with grass silage and concentrates (0.45 and 0.55, DM basis, respectively). They were housed as a single group in cubicle accommodation for the first 20 d, transferred to metabolism units for 3 d, and subsequently housed in indirect open-circuit respiration calorimeter chambers for next 5 d with measurements of feed intake, feces and urine outputs, and gaseous exchange. There were no significant differences (P > 0.05) between the 2 groups in terms of animal performance (feed intake, BW, or BW gain), energy metabolism (energy intake, energy outputs, or energy use efficiency), or methane emission rates (total methane emissions expressed on feed intake or energy intake basis). Therefore, the data from the 2 groups were pooled to develop a range of relationships between inputs and outputs. The regression of energy balance or heat production against ME intake (r2 = 0.85; P <0.001) indicated a NEm of 0.57MJ/kg BW0.75, which is greater than reported for adult dairy cattle. The methane energy output was found to be 0.068 of GE intake when the intercept was omitted from the linear equation (r2 = 0.73; P <0.001), which is greater than the commonly accepted value (0.065) for adult cattle used for development of methane emission inventories for dairy and beef production systems. These data can add useful information, as there is little information available on measurements of maintenance energy requirement or methane emissions in young stock (6 mo old) of the current high-yielding dairy cattle. The use of these data can potentially improve the accuracy of prediction of energy requirement and methane emissions for dairy and beef production systems in these dietary conditions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)356-362
    JournalJournal of Animal Science
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


    • energy metabolism
    • enteric methane emission
    • Holstein young stock


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