Review: Selecting for improved feed efficiency and reduced methane emissions in dairy cattle

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review



  • P Løvendahl
  • G F Difford, Wageningen University & Research
  • ,
  • B Li, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala
  • ,
  • M G G Chagunda, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart
  • ,
  • P Huhtanen, Swedish University of Agrocultural Sciences, Umeå, Sverige
  • M H Lidauer, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Jokioinen, Finland
  • J Lassen
  • P Lund
It may be possible for dairy farms to improve profitability and reduce environmental impacts by selecting for higher feed efficiency
and lower methane (CH4) emission traits. It remains to be clarified how CH4 emission and feed efficiency traits are related to each
other, which will require direct and accurate measurements of both of these traits in large numbers of animals under the
conditions in which they are expected to perform. The ranking of animals for feed efficiency and CH4 emission traits can differ
depending upon the type and duration of measurement used, the trait definitions and calculations used, the period in lactation
examined and the production system, as well as interactions among these factors. Because the correlation values obtained
between feed efficiency and CH4 emission data are likely to be biased when either or both are expressed as ratios, therefore
researchers would be well advised to maintain weighted components of the ratios in the selection index. Nutrition studies indicate
that selecting low emitting animals may result in reduced efficiency of cell wall digestion, that is NDF, a key ruminant characteristic
in human food production. Moreover, many interacting biological factors that are not measured directly, including digestion rate,
passage rate, the rumen microbiome and rumen fermentation, may influence feed efficiency and CH4 emission. Elucidating these
mechanisms may improve dairy farmers ability to select for feed efficiency and reduced CH4 emission.
Sider (fra-til)336-349
Antal sider14
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2018

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