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

Relationship between CH4 and urinary N outputs in ruminants fed forages: a meta-analysis of the literature

D. Sauvant A B F , M. Eugène C D , S. Giger-Reverdin A B , H. Archimède E and M. Doreau C D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A INRA, UMR791 Modélisation Systémique Appliquée aux Ruminants, F-75005 Paris, France.

B AgroParisTech, UMR Modélisation Systémique Appliquée aux Ruminants, F-75005 Paris, France.

C INRA, UMR1213 Herbivores, F-63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France.

D Clermont Université, VetAgro Sup, UMR Herbivores, BP10448, F-63000, Clermont-Ferrand, France.

E Unité de Recherches Zootechniques, INRA, 97170 Prise d’Eau Petit-Bourg, Guadeloupe, France.

F Corresponding author. Email: sauvant@agroparistech.fr

Animal Production Science 54(9) 1423-1427 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN14616
Submitted: 13 March 2014  Accepted: 5 June 2014   Published: 24 July 2014

Abstract

Enteric methane (CH4) and faecal and urinary nitrogen (N) are two major pollutants due to ruminants. However, relations between these two components have been seldom studied, and the specific relationships for forage diets are not known. A meta-analysis was conducted using a large database of published data for ruminants fed forages, in which CH4 production, digestibility and urinary N (UN) output were all available. A total of 148 treatments (55 from cattle and 93 from small ruminants) from 29 publications and 56 experiments were used. Globally, there was a positive relationship between CH4 and UN production when expressed either per kg of liveweight or per kg of dry matter (DMI) intake. These relationships were maintained when a subset of 38 experiments that focussed on the influence of variation of DMI were considered. Otherwise, when a subset of 17 experiments that focussed on forage crude protein content were considered, the two equations relating CH4 and UN remained significant but the slopes were much smaller. In conclusion, the positive relationship between CH4 and UN can be mainly explained by the indirect positive influences of DMI or of diet organic matter digestibility on these two parameters.

Additional keywords: crude protein, dry matter intake, enteric methane.


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