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Linseed plus nitrate in the diet for fattening bulls: effects on methane emission, animal health and residues in offal

  • M. Doreau (a1), M. Arbre (a1), M. Popova (a1), Y. Rochette (a1) and C. Martin (a1)...
Abstract

The combination of linseed and nitrate is known to decrease enteric methane emission in dairy cows but few studies have been carried out in fattening cattle for animal liveweight gain, enteric methane emission, animal health and presence of residues in beef products. To address this gap, 16 young bulls received a control (C) diet between weaning at 9 months and 14 months, then were split into two groups of eight balanced on feed intake, BW gain and methane emission to receive either the C diet or a diet moderately supplemented with extruded linseed and calcium nitrate (LN) for 2 months before being slaughtered. On a dry matter (DM) basis, the C diet contained 70% baled grass silage and 30% concentrate mainly made of maize, wheat and rapeseed meal. In the LN diet, rapeseed meal and a fraction of cereals were replaced by 35% extruded linseed and 6% calcium nitrate; linseed fatty acids and nitrate supply in the LN diet were 1.9% and 1.0%, respectively. Methane emission was measured continuously using the GreenFeed system. Methaemoglobin was determined every week in peripheral blood from bulls receiving the LN diet. Nitrate and nitrite concentrations were determined in rumen, liver and tongue sampled at slaughter. Dry matter intake tended to be lower for LN diet (P=0.10). Body weight gain was lower for LN diet (P=0.01; 1.60 and 1.26 kg/day for C and LN diet, respectively). Daily methane emission was 9% lower (P<0.001) for LN than C diet (249 and 271 g/day, respectively) but methane yield did not differ between diets (24.1 and 23.2 g/kg DM intake for C and LN diet, respectively, P=0.34). Methaemoglobin was under the limit of detection (<2% of total haemoglobin) for most animals and was always lower than 5.6%, suggesting an absence of risk to animal health. Nitrite and nitrate concentrations in offal did not differ between C and LN diets. In conclusion, a moderate supply of linseed and nitrate in bull feed failed to decrease enteric methane yield and impaired bull liveweight gain but without adverse effects for animal health and food safety.

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      Linseed plus nitrate in the diet for fattening bulls: effects on methane emission, animal health and residues in offal
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      Linseed plus nitrate in the diet for fattening bulls: effects on methane emission, animal health and residues in offal
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E-mail: michel.doreau@inra.fr
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