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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ab.20.0739    [Accepted] Published online January 1, 2021.
Laser methane detector-based quantification of methane emissions from indoor-fed Fogera dairy cows
Nobuyuki Kobayashi1,*  , Fujiang Hou2  , Atsushi Tsunekawa1  , Tianhai Yan3  , Firew Tegegne4  , Asaminew Tassew5  , Yeshambel Mekuriaw5  , Shigdaf Mekuriaw6,7  , Beyadglign Hunegnaw7, Wondimeneh Mekonnen7  , Toshiyoshi Ichinohe8 
1Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Tottori 680-0001, Japan
2State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-ecosystems, Key Laboratory of Grassland Livestock Industry Innovation, Ministry of Agriculture, College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou, Gansu Province 730000, China
3Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Hillsborough, County Down BT26 6DR, UK
4Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
5College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
6The United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Tottori University, Tottori 680-8550, Japan
7Andassa Livestock Research Center, Amhara Region Agricultural Research Institute, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
8Faculty of Life and Environmental Science, Shimane University, Matsue 690-8504, Japan
Correspondence:  Nobuyuki Kobayashi, Tel: +81-857-23-3411, Fax: +81-857-29-6199, Email: kobayashi.nobuyuki@tottori-u.ac.jp
Received: 23 October 2020   • Revised: 9 November 2020   • Accepted: 14 December 2020
Portable laser methane detectors (LMDs) may be an economical means of estimating CH4 emissions from ruminants. We validated an LMD-based approach and then used that approach to evaluate CH4 emissions from indigenous dairy cows in a dryland area of Ethiopia.
First, we validated our LMD-based approach in Simmental crossbred beef cattle (n = 2) housed in respiration chambers and fed either a high- or low-concentrate diet. From the results of the validation, we constructed an estimation equation to determine CH4 emissions from LMD CH4 concentrations. Next, we used our validated LMD approach to examine CH4 emissions in Fogera dairy cows grazed for 8 h d−1 (GG, n = 4), fed indoors on natural-grassland hay (CG1, n = 4), or fed indoors on Napier-grass (Pennisetum purpureum) hay (CG2, n = 4). All the cows were supplemented with concentrate feed.
The exhaled CH4 concentrations measured by LMD were linearly correlated with the CH4 emissions determined by infrared-absorption-based gas analyzer (r2 = 0.55). The estimation equation used to determine CH4 emissions (y, mg min−1) from LMD CH4 concentrations (x, ppm m) was y = 0.4259x + 38.61. Daily CH4 emissions of Fogera cows estimated by using the equation did not differ among the three groups; however, a numerically greater milk yield was obtained from the CG2 cows than from the GG cows, suggesting that Napier-grass hay might be better than natural-grassland hay for indoor feeding. The CG1 cows had higher CH4 emissions per feed intake than the other groups, without significant increases in milk yield and body-weight gain, suggesting that natural-grassland hay cannot be recommended for indoor-fed cows.
These findings demonstrate the potential of using LMDs to rapidly and economically evaluate feeding regimens for dairy cows in areas under financial constraint, while taking CH4 emissions into consideration.
Keywords: Indoor Feeding; Ethiopian Dryland; Fogera Dairy Cow; Laser Methane Detector; Methane Emissions; Napier Grass
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