Excreta emissions in progeny of low and high enteric methane yield selection line sheep fed pasture of different qualities

A. Jonker*, S. MacLean, C. Woyimo Woju, M. Garcia Rendon Calzada, W. Yu, G. Molano, S. Hickey, C.S. Pinares-Patiño, J.C. McEwan, P.H. Janssen, E. Sandoval, S. Lewis, S. Rowe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Selection of sheep with low enteric methane (CH4) emissions is a greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation option suitable for pastoral systems. However, the effect of breeding sheep with low enteric CH4 emissions on excreta output and associated CH4 and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and therefore total GHG emissions are not known. The objective of the current experiments were to determine excreta output, and estimate associated GHG emissions, from progeny of low and high enteric CH4 per unit of dry matter intake (DMI) selection line sheep (CH4/DMI). The animals were fed two qualities of cut perennial ryegrass-based pasture (very mature vs. vegetative, 12 animals per CH4/DMI line) in Exp. 1 and cut pasture in two repeated seasons (autumn and winter; 15 animals per CH4/DMI line × 2 seasons) in Exp. 2. Total faecal and urine output was determined on individual animals, followed by enteric CH4 emission measurements in respiration chambers. GHG emissions from urine (N2O) and faeces (CH4 and N2O) were estimated based on New Zealand Agricultural GHG Inventory methodology. There was no interaction between CH4/DMI selection line and diet quality in Exp. 1 or seasons in Exp.2. Total daily faecal output of DM, organic matter (OM) and neutral detergent fibre (NDF; all g/d) and associated calculated faecal CH4 emissions were greater for low compared to high CH4/DMI sheep in Exp. 1 (P < 0.05), while being similar between CH4/DMI selection lines in Exp. 2. Nitrogen (N) excretion and N partitioning into urine, faeces and body retention, and calculated excreta N emissions, were mostly similar between CH4/DMI selection line sheep in both experiments. Except, faecal N output (g/d and per unit of N intake) and associated calculated direct faecal N2O-N emissions (g/d) were greater in low compared to high CH4/DMI sheep in Exp. 1 (P < 0.05). Enteric CH4 emissions were numerically 8% less (P = 0.15) in Exp.1 and 10% less (P = 0.004) in Exp. 2 and total animal level GHG emissions (CH4 and N2O) were numerically 7% less (P = 0.21) in Exp. 1 and 8% less (P = 0.006) in Exp.2 for progeny of the low compared to the high CH4/DMI line sheep. In conclusion, the magnitude of difference in enteric CH4 (expressed as CO2-equivalent) between low and high CH4/DMI selection line sheep were still present when CH4 from faeces and N2O emissions from urine and faeces were also accounted for. The animal genetic traits were expressed independent of environmental factors, i.e. pasture quality and season.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114289
JournalAnimal Feed Science and Technology
Volume257
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Animal variation
  • Breeding value
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Repeatability
  • Urine

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