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Effect of starch-based concentrates with different rumen degradation characteristics on methane emissions

Agriculture produces 16% of national greenhouse gas emissions in Australia mainly as methane (11.6%) and nitrous oxide (2.8%). Based on literature reviews and findings from this and previous RELRP research projects at Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Ellinbank, dietary supplements have the potential to substantially reduce enteric methane emissions from ruminants by 20%. This report covers research activities between 1 January 2012 and 30 April 2012.

1 Objectives

The main objectives of this project were to:

1.1 Quantify methane emissions and methane intensity in response to feeding dairy cows starch based supplements of different degradation characteristics.

1.2 Share biological samples with other Australian researchers working in the field of methane mitigation from ruminants.


2 Deliverables

The deliverable from this project is:

2.1 Draft research paper on starch supplements and methane emissions

provided to funding body by 30/05/2012.


3 Summary of research activities

The main research activities associated with this project were:


3.1 Write experimental preschedule and submit for internal DPI review by 30/09/2011. A copy of the experimental preschedule was included in the milestone 2 report provided to the funding body in January 2012.

3.2 Write Animal Ethics Application and submit it to the DPI Animal Ethics Committee by 30/11/2011. A copy of the Animal Ethics Application was included in Milestone 2 report provided to the funding body in January 2012.

3.3 Conduct experiment (15/01/2012 – 1/04/2012). The feeding experiment including measurement of methane emissions was conducted at DPI Ellinbank between 9/01/2012 – 30/3/2012.

3.4 Submit first draft of a research paper to funding body by 30/05/2012. A draft manuscript containing experimental results is attached to this report.

3.5 Complete a research paper and submit it to DPI pubtracking by 30/12/2012.


This report describes findings from one experiment conducted at DPI Ellinbank concerning methane and production responses to feeding dairy cows on diets containing starch based supplements of different rumen degradation characteristics.

The three aims of this experiment were:

  1. To determine if slowly rumen fermented starch (cracked corn grain) is a suitable dietary supplement to feed to dairy cows in order to reduce total enteric CH4 emissions and intensity of CH4 emissions (g CH4/L milk), without adversely affecting milk production.
  2. To determine if the SF6 technique can be used in rumen cannulated cows to accurately measure CH4 emissions.
  3. To elucidate nutritional and biological mechanisms influencing enteric CH4 emissions and the influence of CH4 mitigating diets on quality attributes of milk by providing biological samples to collaborating scientists.


Title Size Date published
413.6KB 01/05/2012

This page was last updated on 25/07/2017

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