Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Estimating enteric methane emissions from Chilean beef fattening systems using a mechanistic model

  • R. A. ARIAS (a1) (a2), A. CATRILEO (a3), R. LARRAÍN (a4), R. VERA (a4), A. VELÁSQUEZ (a1) (a2), M. TONEATTI (a1), J. FRANCE (a5), J. DIJKSTRA (a6) and E. KEBREAB (a7)...

A mechanistic model (COWPOLL) was used to estimate enteric methane (CH4) emissions from beef production systems in Chile. The results expressed as a proportion of gross energy intake (GEI) were compared with enteric fermentation data reported in the last Chilean greenhouse gases inventory, which utilized an earlier the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Tier 2 approach. The simulation analysis was based on information from feedstuffs, dry matter intake (DMI), body weight (BW) and average daily gain (ADG) of steers raised and finished at two research facilities located in Central and Southern Chile, as well as three simulated scenarios for grass-based finishing systems in Southern Chile. Data for feedlot production systems in the central region were assessed by considering steers fed a forage : concentrate ratio of 23 : 77 using maize silage and wheat straw as roughage sources during the stages of backgrounding and fattening. Average DMI were 7·3±0·62 and 9·2±0·55 kg/day per steer for backgrounding and fattening, respectively, whereas ADG were 1·1±0·22 and 1·3±0·37 kg/day for backgrounding and fattening. For the Southern Chilean fattening production systems, the forage : concentrate ratio was 56 : 44 with ryegrass pasture as the sole forage source. In this case, average DMI was 9·97±0·51 and ADG was 1·1±0·24 kg/day per steer. Two of the grass-based scenarios used the same initial BW information as that used for the Central and Southern Chilean systems, but feedlot diets were replaced by ryegrass pasture. The third grass-based scenario used an initial BW of 390 kg. In all the grass-based scenarios an ADG of 0·90 kg/day, with maximum DMI estimated as a proportion of BW (0·01 of NDF, kg/kg BW), was assumed. The results of the simulation analysis showed that emission factors (Y m; fraction of GEI) ranged from 0·062 to 0·079 of GEI. Smaller values were associated with finishing systems that included a lower proportion of forage in the diet due to higher propionate production, which serves as a sink for hydrogen in the rumen. Cattle finished in feedlot systems had an average of 0·062 of GEI lost as CH4, whereas grass-based cattle had losses of 0·079 of GEI. Enteric CH4 emissions for the systems using grass-based and concentrate diets were 261 and 159 g/kg weight gain, respectively. The Chilean CH4 inventory employs a fixed Y m of 0·060 to estimate enteric fermentation for all cattle. This value is lower than the average Y m obtained in the current simulation analysis (0·071 of GEI), which results in underestimation of enteric CH4 emissions from beef cattle. However, these results need to be checked against field measurements of CH4 emissions. Implementation of mechanistic models in the preparation of national greenhouse gas inventories is feasible if appropriate information is provided, allowing dietary characteristics and regional particularities to be taken into consideration.

Corresponding author
* To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email:
Hide All
J. A. D. R. Appuhamy , A. B. Strathe , S. Jayasundara , C. Wagner-Riddle , J. Dijkstra , J. France & E. Kebreab (2013). Anti-methanogenic effects of monensin in dairy and beef cattle: a meta-analysis. Journal of Dairy Science 96, 51615173.

A. Bannink , J. Kogut , J. Dijkstra , J. France , S. Tamminga & A. M. Van Vuuren (2000). Modelling production and portal appearance of volatile fatty acids in cows. In Modelling Nutrient Utilisation in Farm Animals (Eds J. P. McNamara , J. France & D. E. Beever ), pp. 87102. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

K. A. Beauchemin & S. M. McGinn (2005). Methane emissions from feedlot cattle fed barley or corn diets. Journal of Animal Science 83, 653661.

K. A. Beauchemin & S. M. McGinn (2006). Enteric methane emissions from growing beef cattle as affected by diet and level of intake. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 86, 401408.

K. A. Beauchemin , M. Kreuzer , F. O'mara & T. A. McAllister (2008). Nutritional management for enteric methane abatement: a review. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 48, 2127.

C. Benchaar , J. Rivest , C. Pomar & J. Chiquette (1998). Prediction of methane production from dairy cows using existing mechanistic models and regression equations. Journal of Animal Science 76, 617627.

C. Benchaar , C. Pomar & J. Chiquette (2001). Evaluation of dietary strategies to reduce methane production in ruminants: a modelling approach. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 81, 563574.

D. A. Boadi , K. M. Wittenberg & W. P. McCaughey (2002). Effects of grain supplementation on methane production of grazing steers using the sulphur (SF6) tracer gas technique. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 82, 151157.

B. M. Buddle , M. Denis , G. T. Attwood , E. Altermann , P. H. Janssen , R. S. Ronimus , C. S. Pinares-Patino , S. Muetzel & D. N. Wedlock (2011). Strategies to reduce methane emissions from farmed ruminants grazing on pasture. Veterinary Journal 188, 1117.

C. A. M. De Klein , C. Pinares-Patino & G. C. Waghorn (2008). Greenhouse gas emissions. In Environmental Impacts of Pasture-based Farming (Ed. R. W. McDowell ), pp. 132. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

H. A. DeRamus , T. C. Clement , D. D. Giampola & P. C. Dickison (2003). Methane emissions of beef cattle on forages: efficiency of grazing management systems. Journal of Environmental Quality 32, 269277.

J. L. Ellis , J. Dijkstra , E. Kebreab , A. Bannink , N. E. Odongo , B. W. McBride & J. France (2008). Aspects of rumen microbiology central to mechanistic modelling of methane production in cattle. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 146, 213233.

J. L. Ellis , A. Bannink , J. France , E. Kebreab & J. Dijkstra (2010). Evaluation of enteric methane prediction equations for dairy cows used in whole farm models. Global Change Biology 16, 32463256.

J. L. Ellis , J. Dijkstra , A. Bannink , E. Kebreab , S. E. Hook , S. Archibeque & J. France (2012). Quantifying the effect of monensin dose on the rumen volatile fatty acid profile in high-grain fed beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science 90, 27172726.

C. Grainger , T. Clarke , M. J. Auldist , K. A. Beauchemin , S. M. McGinn , G. C. Waghorn & R. J. Eckard (2009). Potential use of Acacia mearnsii condensed tannins to reduce methane emissions and nitrogen excretion from grazing dairy cows. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 89, 241251.

L. A. Harper , O. T. Denmead , J. R. Freney & F. M. Byers (1999). Direct measurements of methane emissions from grazing and feedlot cattle. Journal of Animal Science 77, 13921401.

H. D. Hess , T. T. Tiemann , F. Noto , J. E. Carulla & M. Kreuzer (2006). Strategic use of tannins as means to limit methane emission from ruminant livestock. International Congress Series 1293, 164167.

K. A. Johnson & D. E. Johnson (1995). Methane emissions from cattle. Journal of Animal Science 73, 24832492.

E. Kebreab , J. France , B. W. McBride , N. E. Odongo , A. Bannink , J. A. N. Mills & J. Dijkstra (2006). Evaluation of models to predict methane emissions from enteric fermentation in North American dairy cattle. In Nutrient Utilization in Farm Animals: Modelling Approaches (Eds E. Kebreab , J. Dijkstra , W. J. J. Gerrits , A. Bannink & J. France ), pp. 299313. Wallingford, UK: CABI International.

E. Kebreab , K. A. Johnson , S. L. Archibeque , D. Pape & T. Wirth (2008). Model for estimating enteric methane emissions from United States dairy and feedlot cattle. Journal of Animal Science 86, 27382748.

E. J. McGeough , P. O'Kiely , P. A. Foley , K. J. Hart , T. M. Boland & D. A. Kenny (2010 a). Methane emissions, feed intake, and performance of finishing beef cattle offered maize silages harvested at 4 different stages of maturity. Journal of Animal Science 88, 14791491.

E. J. McGeough , P. O'Kiely , K. J. Hart , A. P. Moloney , T. M. Boland & D. A. Kenny (2010 b). Methane emissions, feed intake, performance, digestibility, and rumen fermentation of finishing beef cattle offered whole-crop wheat silages differing in grain content. Journal of Animal Science 88, 27032716.

S. M. McGinn , K. A. Beauchemin , T. Coates & D. Colombatto (2004). Methane emissions from beef cattle: effects of monensin, sunflower oil, enzymes, yeast, and fumaric acid. Journal of Animal Science 82, 33463356.

J. A. N. Mills , J. Dijkstra , A. Bannink , S. B. Cammell , E. Kebreab & J. France (2001). A mechanistic model of whole-tract digestion and methanogenesis in the lactating dairy cow: model development, evaluation, and application. Journal of Animal Science 79, 15841597.

K. H. Ominski , D. A. Boadi & K. M. Wittenberg (2006). Enteric methane emissions from backgrounded cattle consuming all-forage diets. Canadian Journal of Animal Science 86, 393400.

M. A. Pavao-Zuckerman , J. C. Waller , T. Ingle & H. A. Fribourg (1999). Methane emissions of beef cattle grazing tall fescue pastures at three levels of endophyte infestation. Journal of Environmental Quality 28, 19631969.

R. Puchala , B. R. Min , A. L. Goetsch & T. Sahlu (2005). The effect of a condensed tannin-containing forage on methane emission by goats. Journal of Animal Science 83, 182186.

M. J. Quinn , M. L. May , N. Di Lorenzo , C. H. Ponce , D. R. Smith , S. L. Parr & M. L. Galyean (2011). Effects of roughage source and distillers grain concentration on beef cattle finishing performance, carcass characteristics, and in vitro fermentation. Journal of Animal Science 89, 26312642.

C. Riquelme & R. Pulido (2008). Efecto del nivel de suplementación con concentrado sobre el consumo voluntario y comportamiento ingestivo en vacas lecheras a pastoreo primaveral. Archivos de Medicina Veterinaria 40, 243249.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The Journal of Agricultural Science
  • ISSN: 0021-8596
  • EISSN: 1469-5146
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-agricultural-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 30 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 955 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.