Methane Emissions from Dry Cows Fed Grass or Legume Silage

  • Received : 2009.09.15
  • Accepted : 2009.11.25
  • Published : 2010.05.01


Using an open-circuit system, we compared the methane ($CH_4$) emission from dry cows fed first-cut Timothy silage ($1^{st}$ TY), second-cut Timothy silage ($2^{nd}$ TY), second-cut Italian ryegrass silage ($2^{nd}$ IR), third-cut Italian ryegrass silage ($3^{rd}$ IR), or second-cut red clover silage ($2^{nd}$ RC) as the sole feed. The methane emission ranged from 258.2 L $day^{-1}$ to 396.5 L $day^{-1}$. The methane emission from dry cows fed red clover silage was relatively lower than that from dry cows fed grass silage. However, the methane emission per unit digestible neutral detergent fiber (NDF) intake (dNDFI) did not differ significantly between the experimental silages. The methane emission was significantly correlated with the NDF intake and digestibility. Methane emission had a significant correlation with the quadratic function of dNDFI. The differences in the daily volume of methane emission from cows fed different forages can be explained by dNDFI.



  1. AOAC. 2006. Official Methods of Analysis. 18th edn. Association of Official Analytical Chemists International, Gaithersburg, MD, USA
  2. Beauchemin, K. A., M. Kreuzer, F. O’Mara and T. A. McAllister. 2008. Nutritional management for enteric methane abatement: a review. Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 48:21-27
  3. Kume, S. and S. Tanabe. 1996. Effect of supplemental lactoferrin with ferrous iron on iron status of newborn calves. J. Dairy Sci. 79:459-464
  4. Kume, S., T. Toharmat and N. Kobayashi. 1998. Effect of restricted feed intake of dams and heat stress on mineral status of newborn calves. J. Dairy Sci. 81:1581-1590
  5. Kume, S. 2002. Establishment of profitable dairy farming system on control of methane production in Hokkaido region. In: Greenhouse gases and animal agriculture (Ed. J. Takahashi and B. A. Young). Elsevier, Amsterdam. pp. 87-94
  6. McCaughey, W. P., K. Wittenberg and D. Corrigan. 1999. Impact of pasture type on methane production by lactating beef cows. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 82:3346-3356
  7. Statistical Analysis System (SAS). 2005. JMP6 Statistics and Graphics Guide. SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC, USA
  8. Takahashi, J., A. S. Chaudhry, R. G. Beneke and B. A. Young. 1999. An open-circuit hood system for gaseous exchange measurements in small ruminants. Small Rumin. Res. 32:31-36
  9. Takahashi, J. 2005. Emission of GHG from livestock production in Japan. In: 2nd International Conference on Greenhouse Gases And Animal Agriculture, pp. 30-37
  10. Takahashi, J., B. Mwenya, B. Santoso, C. Sar, K. Umetsu, T. Kishimoto, K. Nishizaki, K. Kimura and O. Hamamoto. 2005. Mitigation of methane emission and energy recycling in animal agricultural systems. Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 18:1199-1208
  11. Van Dorlanda, H. A., H. R. Wettsteina, H. Leuenbergera and M. Kreuzer. 2007. Effect of supplementation of fresh and ensiled clovers to ryegrass on nitrogen loss and methane emission of dairy cows. Livestock Science 111:57-69
  12. Waghorn, G. C., M. H. Tavendale and D. R. Woodfield. 2002. Methanogenesis from forages fed to sheep. In: Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production. pp. 266-277

Cited by

  1. Dietary options to reduce the environmental impact of milk production vol.155, pp.02, 2017,
  2. Forage use to improve environmental sustainability of ruminant production12 vol.94, pp.8, 2016,
  3. Forage quality declines with rising temperatures, with implications for livestock production and methane emissions vol.14, pp.6, 2017,