Methane production by dairy cows measured in an automatic milking system

S. van Engelen, H. Bovenhuis, P.P.J. van der Tol, J.A.M. van Arendonk, M.H.P.W. Visker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Dairy cows produce enteric methane, a potentially harmful greenhouse gas. Breeding could be applied to reduce methane production by dairy cattle. However, genetic selection requires observations on methane production for a large number of animals. These large number of observations can be obtained by measuring methane during milking in automatic milking systems (AMS). We measured methane with Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy sensors installed in AMS on commercial dairy farms. Measurements on methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) that were recorded in ppm twice per second were available. The aim of this study is to derive different phenotypes from these measurements and to calculate the repeatabilities of these phenotypes. The dataset consisted of measurements during 33,150 AMS visits from 538 dairy cows held on 6 farms in the Netherlands. On average, each cow was recorded for a period of 41 days. For the analysis, we will derive phenotypes that have been used in similar research by others: the mean, median, 75% and 90% quantile per AMS visit for CH4 and for the ratio between CH4 and CO2. Variance components to calculate repeatabilities will be obtained from a mixed model with a fixed effect for farm-day and a random effect for cow. The results of this study will be presented.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 66th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Print)9789086862696
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventEAAP - 66th Annual Meeting 2015 - Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 31 Aug 20154 Sep 2015


ConferenceEAAP - 66th Annual Meeting 2015

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