Project


Innovationspotenziale für Emissionsminderungen von Treibhausgasen in der Wertschöpfungskette Milch (INNO-MilCH4) - Teilprojekt 3

Contact: Prof. Dr. Cornelia C. Metges

Duration: 2013-2017

Funding: Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft

Abstract:
Livestock farming contributes to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission. Methane is a greenhouse gas and a product of digestion in cattle. To monitor and reduce methane emission in milk production requires methane quantification on-farm in a large number of animals which is not possible using animal-direct in-vivo measurements. It has been suggested that milk fatty acids are promising markers of methane production. We hypothesized that methane emission can be predicted from the milk fatty acid concentrations determined by mid-infrared spectroscopy or gas chromatography and the integration of milk yield would improve the prediction. We developed various diet-specific and general prediction equations to estimate methane emission of dairy cows based on milk fatty acids concentration estimated by the fast and inexpensive mid-infrared spectroscopy method or gas chromatography. These equations showed that the additional inclusion of milk yield as a parameter in the equations based on mid-infrared spectroscopy improved prediction accuracy. Furthermore, feeding recommendations to reduce methane emission in dairy production could be deduced. Methane indicators can be used for benchmarking emission from dairy farms or for genetic selection of low-emitting cows.