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Applicability of short-term emission measurements for on-farm quantification of enteric methane

  • R. S. Hegarty (a1)

A short term enteric methane emission measurement is not identical to a measure of daily methane production (DMP) made in a respiration chamber (RC). While RC curtail most variation except that from quantity and composition of feed supplied, all short-term measurements contain additional sources of variation. The points of difference can include measurement time(s) relative to feeding, feed intake before measurement, animal behaviour in selection of diet and level of activity before measurement. For systems where a short-term emission measurement is made at the same time in the daily feeding cycle (e.g. during twice-daily milking) scaling up of short-term emission rates to estimate DMP is feasible but the scaling coefficient(s) will be diet dependent. For systems such as GreenFeed where direct emission rates are measured on occasion throughout day and night, no scaling up may be required to estimate DMP. For systems where small numbers of emission measures are made, and there is no knowledge of prior feed intake, such as for portable accumulation chambers, scaling to DMP is not currently possible. Even without scaling up to DMP, short-term measured emission rates are adequate for identifying relative emission changes induced by mitigation strategies and could provide the data to support genetic selection of ruminants for reduced enteric emissions.

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