Measured and modelled enteric methane emissions from beef cattle as affected by dietary crude protein of forage diets
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Methane emissions of 60 steers (321 ± 14 kg) fed isocaloric forage diets differing in crude protein (CP) content were measured at ambient daily temperatures averaging -17.5°C to determine if increased nitrogen status, measured by blood urea nitrogen (BUN), decrease CH4 as a percent of gross energy intake (% GEI) from backgrounding cattle. Average BUN concentrations (mmol L-1) were 0.81, 1.82, 3.05 and 3.51 (SE ± 0.108) for diets with 6.9% (low), 10.3% (adequate for rumen microbes), 11.1% (adequate for muscle growth) and 13.6% (excessive) CP respectively. Methane (% GEI) emissions decreased with increasing CP over time (P=0.04). Increasing CP content increased BUN levels and decreased methane emissions (% GEI). Although models were developed to predict CH4 emissions (% GEI) from steers and cows using a backward-elimination process, BUN accounted for only 0.7 to 5.7% of the partial R2 and therefore has limited value when modelling methane emission predictions.
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