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Using infrared thermography as a proxy for measuring methane emissions

Project start date: 30 November 2011
Project end date: 03 May 2012
Publication date: 01 April 2012
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep, Goat, Lamb, Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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​The measurement of methane production and feed efficiency in ruminants is expensive; infrared thermography has been proposed as a proxy in cattle. A thermal imaging camera was used to record flank temperatures on cattle fed either wheat or corn based diet. The difference in temperature between left and right flanks is believed to be indicative of the heat of fermentation in the rumen, and hence methane production. The current project found a weak correlation between methane emissions and temperature variations but did find a difference in the average daily temperature between flanks (wheat fed cows 1.43°C vs. corn fed cows 0.71°C). This suggests a thermography might allow qualitative estimation of emissions but the relationship is strongly affected by nutritional interactions.​

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Project manager: Sarah-Jane Savage
Primary researcher: University of Melbourne