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Article

Response to Climate Change: Evaluation of Methane Emissions in Northern Australian Beef Cattle on a High Quality Diet Supplemented with Desmanthus Using Open-Circuit Respiration Chambers and GreenFeed Emission Monitoring Systems

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Animal Genetics and Nutrition, Veterinary Sciences Discipline, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
2
CSIRO, Agriculture and Food, Queensland Bioscience Precinct, St. Lucia, QLD 4067, Australia
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CSIRO, Agriculture and Food, Private Mail Bag Aitkenvale, Australian Tropical Sciences and Innovation Precinct, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
4
College of Medicine and Dentistry, Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Jeanne M. Fair and Martha Desmond
Biology 2021, 10(9), 943; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10090943
Received: 2 August 2021 / Revised: 14 September 2021 / Accepted: 17 September 2021 / Published: 21 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Response to Climate Change)
The beef industry in Northern Australia is characterized by an extensive grazing system in dry tropical rangelands defined by climate change indices of very low rainfall, a prolonged dry season and feeds of low nutritive value. In response, beef cattle need to be more efficient in converting the available drought-tolerant feeds to muscle, in an attempt to minimize greenhouse gas emissions. This study addressed the problem of reducing methane emissions from tropical beef cattle with the goal of decreasing the impact of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in Northern Australia. The primary objective was to compare the effect of supplementing tropical beef cattle with both good quality lucerne and poor quality hay with increasing levels of different Desmanthus cultivars on in vivo methane emission. The results showed that in tropical beef cattle on high-quality diets, irrespective of cultivar and emission evaluation method, Desmanthus does not reduce methane emissions.
The main objective of this study was to compare the effect of supplementing beef cattle with Desmanthus virgatus cv. JCU2, D. bicornutus cv. JCU4, D. leptophyllus cv. JCU7 and lucerne on in vivo methane (CH4) emissions measured by open-circuit respiration chambers (OC) or the GreenFeed emission monitoring (GEM) system. Experiment 1 employed OC and utilized sixteen yearling Brangus steers fed a basal diet of Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) hay in four treatments—the three Desmanthus cultivars and lucerne (Medicago sativa) at 30% dry matter intake (DMI). Polyethylene glycol (PEG) was added to the diets to neutralize tannin binding and explore the effect on CH4 emissions. Experiment 2 employed GEM and utilized forty-eight animals allocated to four treatments including a basal diet of Rhodes grass hay plus the three Desmanthus cultivars in equal proportions at 0%, 15%, 30% and 45% DMI. Lucerne was added to equilibrate crude protein content in all treatments. Experiment 1 showed no difference in CH4 emissions between the Desmanthus cultivars, between Desmanthus and lucerne or between Desmanthus and the basal diet. Experiment 2 showed an increase in CH4 emissions in the three levels containing Desmanthus. It is concluded that on high-quality diets, Desmanthus does not reduce CH4 emissions. View Full-Text
Keywords: methane emission; mitigation; climate change; tannins; Desmanthus bicornutus; Desmanthus leptophyllus; Desmanthus virgatus; polyethylene glycol; GreenFeed; tropical beef cattle methane emission; mitigation; climate change; tannins; Desmanthus bicornutus; Desmanthus leptophyllus; Desmanthus virgatus; polyethylene glycol; GreenFeed; tropical beef cattle
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MDPI and ACS Style

Suybeng, B.; Mwangi, F.W.; McSweeney, C.S.; Charmley, E.; Gardiner, C.P.; Malau-Aduli, B.S.; Malau-Aduli, A.E.O. Response to Climate Change: Evaluation of Methane Emissions in Northern Australian Beef Cattle on a High Quality Diet Supplemented with Desmanthus Using Open-Circuit Respiration Chambers and GreenFeed Emission Monitoring Systems. Biology 2021, 10, 943. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10090943

AMA Style

Suybeng B, Mwangi FW, McSweeney CS, Charmley E, Gardiner CP, Malau-Aduli BS, Malau-Aduli AEO. Response to Climate Change: Evaluation of Methane Emissions in Northern Australian Beef Cattle on a High Quality Diet Supplemented with Desmanthus Using Open-Circuit Respiration Chambers and GreenFeed Emission Monitoring Systems. Biology. 2021; 10(9):943. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10090943

Chicago/Turabian Style

Suybeng, Bénédicte, Felista W. Mwangi, Christopher S. McSweeney, Edward Charmley, Christopher P. Gardiner, Bunmi S. Malau-Aduli, and Aduli E.O. Malau-Aduli. 2021. "Response to Climate Change: Evaluation of Methane Emissions in Northern Australian Beef Cattle on a High Quality Diet Supplemented with Desmanthus Using Open-Circuit Respiration Chambers and GreenFeed Emission Monitoring Systems" Biology 10, no. 9: 943. https://doi.org/10.3390/biology10090943

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