Effect of feeding system on enteric methane emissions from individual dairy cows on commercial farms

Max Eckert, Matt Bell, Sarah Potterton, Jim Craigon, Neil Saunders, Ruth Wilcox, Morag Hunter, Jennifer Goodman, Phil Garnsworthy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the effects of feeding system on diurnal enteric methane (CH4) emissions from individual cows on commercial farms. Data were obtained from 830 cows across 12 farms, and data collated included production records, CH4 measurements (in the breath of cows using CH4 analysers at robotic milking stations for at least seven days) and diet composition. Cows received either a partial mixed ration (PMR) or a PMR with grazing. A linear mixed model was used to describe variation in CH4 emissions per individual cow and assess the effect of feeding system. Methane emissions followed a consistent diurnal pattern across both feeding systems, with emissions lowest between 05:00 and 08:59, and with a peak concentration between 17:00 and 20:59. No overall difference in emissions was found between feeding systems studied; however, differences were found in the diurnal pattern of CH4 emissions between feeding systems. The response in emissions to increasing dry matter intake was higher for cows fed PMR with grazing. This study showed that repeated spot measurements of CH4 emissions whilst cows are milked can be used to assess the effects of feeding system and potentially benchmark farms on level of emissions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26
Number of pages1
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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