The NFI trait & methane emissions
Beef Development Officer
1. General outline of methane emissions
2. Net Feed Intake trial – testing emissions in field
Production of methane
Digestion in rumen
Stationary energy Transport Fugitive emissions Industrial
Agriculture Land use and Land
555.3 million tonnes CO2
Source AGO 2007 National inventory
What is linked with methane production?
Approximately 8-10% of energy is lost to methane production
Methane production is linked to higher fibre content pastures
Pastures kept at higher digestibility have lower methane
Higher intake is linked to higher methane production on
Highly fermentable diets i.e. grain have lower methane production
Perspective - methane production
Animal Class Methane
Pot. km driven
by 6 cylinder
Beef steer 50-90 32-57 450-800
Is it really a focus just on emissions?
There is no silver bullet to reduce methane production but we can still work at it!
KEEP TRYING TO BE AS EFFICIENT AS
Look at optimising year round pasture quality
Grazing management practices
Genetic selection for low emitting cattle???
Continue good management practices as we identify solutions e.g. genetics
The Net Feed Intake trait
Does it impact on methane emissions?
Feb 2009 – 55% DMD pastures
While pregnant with low efficiency (HNFI) cows having an
Estimate intake of 10.7kg DM/500kg LW/day and methane
emissions of 129.3 ± 33g/ 500kg LW.
While the high efficiency (low NFI) cows were 10.2kg DM/500kg
LW/day with group methane emissions of 130 ±24g/ 500kg LW.
Grazfeed estimates – 157g (8.1MJ energy lost)
August 2009 – 81% DMD pastures
LE cows and calf intake is 14.0kg DM/day and 190 ± 31g
methane/ 500kg cow and calf LW and intake of and
HE cows and calves is 13.1 kg DM/day and 170 ± 35g methane /
500kg cow and calf LW.
Grazfeed estimates 229g (12.7 MJ energy lost/day)
Conclusions Net Feed Intake Trial
Methane emissions based on the extreme in the NFI trait - no
significant differences in emissions
Individual animals may have lower or higher emissions within the
Actual emission rates appear lower than expected
We have control over our normal management practices,
which we can use to reduce emissions.
These go hand in hand with production efficiency in your
Cattle Industry Compensation Act for funding
DAFWA for support and funding
University of Wollongong
Nola Mercer and Neroli Smith for technical support