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Nov 28

These rates of decline for methane are similar to those reported in other studies [10] for enteric methane emissions per unit product of 1.1% per year for cows selected on increased milk fat and protein production (Select line cows) and at 1.4% per year for cows selected to represent the UK average for milk fat and protein production over a similar time period. Forget all the tacky jokes about cow flatulence causing climate change. The main benefits of selection to improve production efficiencies are by increased productivity and gross efficiency (i.e. For this study, we define the emission intensity as CO2 equivalents per kilogram of milk. Until direct measurements on GHG traits become available on sufficiently large numbers of animals, selecting for improved efficiency, RFI, or a measure of gross efficiency (unit of output per unit of feed eaten) offer attractive ways of reducing GHG emissions. Methane from enteric fermentation is considered the main contributor to GHG coming from ruminants. Methane and nitrous oxide are capable of trapping about 25 and 298 times more radiant energy respectively, over a 100-year time horizon, than one kilogram of carbon dioxide [6]. The larger North American Holstein genotype has been found to produce between 8 to 11% less methane as a percentage of GE intake, on both a total mixed ration and pasture-based diet, than a small New Zealand Holstein [18], presumably due to differences in level of feed intake. To meet the growing demand for dairy products, which is projected to continue out to the year 2050 [2], milk production per cow has increased over the last thirty years primarily by genetic selection and better nutrition. Emissions of methane and nitrous oxide per unit product were estimated to have shown large declines of about 1.3% and 1.5% per year respectively over the last 20 years in the UK, and will continue to decline over the next 15 years albeit at a slightly slower rate per year [4]. The productive life-span of a dairy cow is closely related to animal health, and the impact on emission intensity is enormous. Subscribe to receive issue release notifications and newsletters from MDPI journals, You can make submissions to other journals. A model calculation shows that cows with five to eight lactations could have a reduced emission intensity of up to 40% compared to animals that have left the herd after their first lactation. © 2012 The Author(s). A study in the UK [4] calculated that the genetic improvement in dairy cows by economic and production efficiency in the last 20 years had reduced GHG emissions per unit product by 0.8% per year and would continue to reduce emissions at a rate of 0.5% per year over the next 15 years. Larger North American Holstein-Friesian cows have been found to show a better response in milk yield with a higher proportion of concentrate in their diet than smaller genotypes like the New Zealand Holstein-Friesian, which have been selected for higher milk yield performance from pasture [16]. However, the emission intensity is decreased at a high performance level. Feed efficiency can be assessed by feed intake required per unit product (gross efficiency) or by net or metabolic efficiency commonly calculated as residual feed intake [4]. Select genetic line animals have a high genetic potential for mobilising body energy reserves for production, which has been found to have deleterious effects on health and fertility [3, 24], particularly later in life [7]. In dairy cows, a high dry matter (DM) intake (25 kg/d) leads to an higher absolute methane emission compared to a lower DM intake (10 kg/d). Our team is growing all the time, so we’re always on the lookout for smart people who want to help us reshape the world of scientific publishing. Increasing the genetic potential of a cow to produce milk increases total system GHG emissions, due a higher feed intake [25]. Furthermore, selection strategies in dairy cattle need to be considered in a multi-trait framework, so that unfavourable correlated responses to selection (such as reduced fertility and excessive mobilisation of body reserves) are avoided. The statements, opinions and data contained in the journals are solely Farmed livestock are responsible for 14.5% of all emissions related to human activity, and cows make up by far the largest proportion of that. The estimated accuracy of genomic prediction of RFI calculated in a population of 1000 New Zealand and 1000 Australian non-lactating heifers was around 0.4 [39]. Dairy. Our readership spans scientists, professors, researchers, librarians, and students, as well as business professionals. However, it was found [14] that Select line cows responded to a diet containing a low proportion of forage, rather than a high forage diet, by having a significantly shorter calving interval. emissions per kg energy corrected milk (ECM) for cows selected for increased milk fat and protein fed a low proportion of forage (●) and a high proportion (×) of forage in their diet and cows selected to represent the average for milk fat and protein production fed a low proportion of forage (■) and a high proportion (▲) of forage in their diet (from [5]). Open Access is an initiative that aims to make scientific research freely available to all. Brief introduction to this section that descibes Open Access especially from an IntechOpen perspective, Want to get in touch? Please let us know what you think of our products and services. At pasture the nutrient intake can vary and impair the milk production potential of the animal, particularly during the peak of lactation [17].

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