Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Measuring methane from grazing dairy cows using GreenFeed

G. C. Waghorn A C , A. Jonker B and K. A. Macdonald A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A DairyNZ, Cnr Ruakura and Morrinsville Roads, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand.

B Animal Nutrition and Physiology team, Grasslands Research Centre, AgResearch Ltd, Tennent Drive, Private Bag 11008, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand.

C Corresponding author. Email: Garry.waghorn@dairynz.co.nz

Animal Production Science 56(3) 252-257 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN15491
Submitted: 27 August 2015  Accepted: 19 November 2015   Published: 9 February 2016

Abstract

The GreenFeed (GF; C-lock Inc.) system for estimating methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide emissions from cows enables data to be acquired from a grazing herd, where individuals are unencumbered by equipment associated with sampling respired breath. Cows choose when or if they want to visit a GF. Confidence in CH4 measurements from this system requires information on individual cow use, patterns of visits and data need to be accumulated over several days or weeks. The effect of stocking rate (SR) on CH4 and carbon dioxide emissions was examined in herds of 28 and 40 dairy cows, each grazing an 11-ha self-contained farmlet (Low SR and High SR), in four measurement periods over a lactation. Emissions were measured for up to 3 weeks in each period; CH4 averaged 331 and 305 g/cow.day, with 19.6 and 16.5 kg milk/cow.day during the measurements for the Low and High SR, respectively. Values for CH4 were similar to estimates derived from calculated feed intakes, and daily carbon dioxide emissions averaged 10.8 and 10.0 kg/day for cows in Low and High SR treatments, respectively. Data from the GF system distinguished effects of SR, but only ~20 cows from each farmlet were regular (daily) users, despite feed restrictions for the High SR cows. Visits by ‘users’ averaged 1.6 and 1.1 cows/h for Low and High SR herds, respectively, and were spread over 24 h with a small circadian variation in emission rates. The GF can be integrated into intensive pasture-based dairying and estimates of CH4 emissions are in line with expectations associated with feed availability and stage of lactation, however the variation between cows in number of visits to the GF has not been explained.

Additional keywords: behaviour, carbon dioxide, circadian patterns, stocking rate.


References

C-lock (2015) Automated emissions measurement (GreenFeed). Available at http://www.c-lockinc.com/product-category/automated-emissions-measurement/ [Verified 10 August 2015]

Garnett EJ (2012) Evaluation of the GreenFeed system for methane estimation from grazing dairy cows. MSc Thesis, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Grainger C, Clarke T, McGinn SM, Auldist MJ, Beauchemin KA, Hannah MC, Waghorn GC, Clark H, Eckard RJ (2007) Methane emissions from dairy cows measured using the sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer and chamber techniques. Journal of Dairy Science 90, 2755–2766.
Methane emissions from dairy cows measured using the sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer and chamber techniques.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD2sXlvFOitr0%3D&md5=9edcc5a363c2eba212f8765f0901b599CAS | 17517715PubMed |

Gregorini P (2012) Diurnal grazing pattern: its physiological basis and strategic management. Animal Production Science 52, 416–430.
Diurnal grazing pattern: its physiological basis and strategic management.CrossRef |

Gunter SA, Bradford JA (2015) Influence of sampling time on carbon dioxide and methane emissions by grazing cattle. Proceedings of the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science 66, 201–203.

Hammond KJ, Muetzel S, Waghorn GC, Pinares-patino CS, Burke JL, Hoskin SO (2009) The variation in methane emissions from sheep and cattle is not explained by the chemical composition of ryegrass. Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production 69, 174–178.

Hammond KJ, Humphries DJ, Crompton LA, Green C, Reynolds CK (2015) Methane emissions from cattle: estimates from short-term measurements using a GreenFeed system compared with measurements obtained using respiration chambers or sulphur hexafluoride tracer. Animal Feed Science and Technology 203, 41–52.
Methane emissions from cattle: estimates from short-term measurements using a GreenFeed system compared with measurements obtained using respiration chambers or sulphur hexafluoride tracer.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC2MXjvFeqtbc%3D&md5=bd7e01bfaf98d7631cf0bd0487993cc4CAS |

Huhtanen P, Cabezas-Garcia EH, Utsumi S, Zimmerman S (2015) Comparison of methods to determine methane emissions from dairy cows in farm conditions. Journal of Dairy Science 98, 3394–3409.
Comparison of methods to determine methane emissions from dairy cows in farm conditions.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC2MXktlSrsbc%3D&md5=42423aea2d561a10d5d577d9e2bc800dCAS | 25771050PubMed |

International VSN (2011) ‘GenStat for Windows.’ 14th edn. (VSN International: Hemel Hempstead, UK)

Jonker A, Molano G, Antwi C, Waghorn G (2014) Feeding lucerne silage to beef cattle at three allowances and four feeding frequencies affects circadian patterns of methane emissions, but not emissions per unit of intake. Animal Production Science 54, 1350–1353.
Feeding lucerne silage to beef cattle at three allowances and four feeding frequencies affects circadian patterns of methane emissions, but not emissions per unit of intake.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC2cXhtlaktLnF&md5=fa18bed436b50cfb742a7bd2f0b26be5CAS |

Macdonald KA, Penno JW (1998) Management decision rules to optimise milksolids production on dairy farms. New Zealand Society of Animal Production 58, 132–135.

Macdonald KA, Verkerk GA, Thorrold BS, Pryce JE, Penno JW, McNaughton LR, Burton LR, Lancaster JAS, Williamson JH, Holmes CW (2008) A comparison of three strains of Holstein-Friesian grazed on pasture and managed under different feed allowances. Journal of Dairy Science 91, 1693–1707.
A comparison of three strains of Holstein-Friesian grazed on pasture and managed under different feed allowances.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BD1cXktVeltLw%3D&md5=57d30e908123bf5526f7dd40279b8678CAS | 18349263PubMed |

MFE (2015) Ministry for the environment, New Zealands greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2013. Available at http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/climate-change/new-zealands-greenhouse-gas-inventory-1990-2013 [Verified 10 August 2015]

O’Donovan M, Connolly J, Dillon P, Rath M, Stakelum G (2002) Visual assessment of herbage mass. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research 41, 201–211.

Pacheco D, Waghorn G, Janssen PH (2014) Decreasing methane emissions from ruminants grazing forages: a fit with productive and financial realities? Animal Production Science 54, 1141–1154.
Decreasing methane emissions from ruminants grazing forages: a fit with productive and financial realities?CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC2cXhtlaktLjP&md5=54f80ac0af42d784699436864c9f8346CAS |

Standing Committee on Agriculture (SCA) (1990) ‘Feeding standards for Australian livestock, ruminants.’ (CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne)

Waghorn GC, Garnett EJ, Pinares-Patino CS, Zimmerman S (2013) Implementation of GreenFeed in a dairy herd grazing pasture. Advances in Animal Biosciences 4, 436



Rent Article (via Deepdyve) Export Citation Cited By (4)