Short communication: Genetic study of methane production predicted from milk fat composition in dairy cows

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Dairy cows produce enteric methane, a greenhouse gas with 25 times the global warming potential of CO2. Breeding could make a permanent, cumulative, and long-term contribution to methane reduction. Due to a lack of accurate, repeatable, individual methane measurements needed for breeding, indicators of methane production based on milk fatty acids have been proposed. The aim of the present study was to quantify the genetic variation for predicted methane yields. The milk fat composition of 1,905 first-lactation Dutch Holstein-Friesian cows was used to investigate 3 different predicted methane yields (g/kg of DMI): Methane1, Methane2, and Methane3. Methane1 was based on the milk fat proportions of C17:0anteiso, C18:1 trans-10+11, C18:1 cis-11, and C18:1 cis-13 (R2= 0.73). Methane2 was based on C4:0, C18:0, C18:1 trans-10+11, and C18:1 cis-11 (R2 = 0.70). Methane3 was based on C4:0, C6:0, and C18:1 trans-10+11 (R2 =0.63). Predicted methane yields were demonstrated to be heritable traits, with heritabilities between 0.12 and 0.44. Breeding can, thus, be used to decrease methane production predicted based on milk fatty acids.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8223-8226
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume98
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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