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Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Methanogenic potential of forages consumed throughout the year by cattle in a Sahelian pastoral area

M. Doreau A E , H. Benhissi A , Y. E. Thior C , B. Bois B , C. Leydet B , L. Genestoux A , P. Lecomte D , D. P. Morgavi A and A. Ickowicz B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A INRA, UMR Herbivores, 63122 Saint-Genès Champanelle, France.

B CIRAD, UMR Selmet, Campus de Baillarguet, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.

C ISRA, LNERV, PPZS, BP 2057, Dakar, Senegal.

D CIRAD, UMR Selmet, PPZS, 37 Avenue Jean XXIII, Dakar, Senegal.

E Corresponding author. Email: michel.doreau@clermont.inra.fr

Animal Production Science 56(3) 613-618 https://doi.org/10.1071/AN15487
Submitted: 27 August 2015  Accepted: 28 October 2015   Published: 9 February 2016

Abstract

Methane (CH4) emission from ruminants in African pastoral systems may be affected by intake and type of plants, which vary highly between rainy and dry seasons. In each of two sites located in the semiarid Sahelian area of Senegal, three Gobra zebus were monitored throughout 1 year. A representative sample of their diet was obtained once every month. Diet was mainly composed of grasses, herbaceous legumes, tree and shrub foliage and pods, and dried forage residues. CH4 production and volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration, which reflects VFA production, were determined in vitro. Crude protein, neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre were measured by near-infrared spectrophotometry. CH4 production varied between 24.6 and 35.2 mL/g forage dry matter (DM), being minimal in August (rainy season) and maximal in February (dry season). Seasonal difference disappeared when CH4 was expressed in mL/g NDF. The acetate : propionate ratio varied in the same way as CH4 (3.2 and 4.6 in August and February, respectively); VFA concentration was minimum in March and maximum in September (69.2 and 77.4 mmol/L, respectively). CH4 production was closely related to dietary NDF content (r = 0.82) and to acetate : propionate ratio (r = 0.96). For six successive periods (February to July), plant categories constituting the diet were incubated separately. Reconstituting the CH4 production and VFA concentration in the diet on the basis of the proportion of plant components gave values similar to those of the global diet (33.4 and 34.2 mL CH4/g DM and 75.9 and 70.9 mmol VFA/L, respectively). This result suggests the absence of interaction among plant components on rumen fermentation.

Additional keywords: greenhouse gases, rumen, seasonal variations.


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