Methane Emissions from Beef and Dairy Cattle

At UC Davis Dr. Ermias Kebreab, and P.D. Student Mutian Niu, and former, Ph.D. graduate student Kristina Weber are exploring the use of GreenFeed in research to measure ruminant emissions in Beef and Dairy cattle. Dr. Kebreab‘s primary research focus is the development of energy and nutrient utilization models for ruminants. Dr. Van Eenennaam’s work focuses on exploring links among DNA–based tools and the production and heritability of ruminant methane.

The UC Davis team used GreenFeed to sample CH4 and CO2 emissions from Beef Steers finishing in tie‐stalls where feed intake was continuously measured to determine RFI. The layout of the tie‐stalls did not permit the typical use of GreenFeed which is to sample 3‐6 times daily for five minutes for each animal, repeating measurements over  a period of weeks. Instead, the team developed a new sampling protocol that involved placing GreenFeed  inside the tie‐stalls with one individual animal each day, and providing all the regular daily feed ration through GreenFeed.  This allowed the team to gather many intensive GreenFeed measurements from one animal each day. The GreenFeed measurements  were repeated for three to four days per animal, on a rotating basis.

The UC Davis team has also used GreenFeed to measure CH4 emissions and changes in emissions from varied diets with lactating dairy cattle in a Latin-square design in combination with Calan gates. In the future, the team is planning to use GreenFeed for further analysis of dietary impacts on CH4 and CO2 emissions.


Weber, K.L., J.A. Rendon, C. Antwi, A.L. Ven Eenennaam, E. Krebreab. 2013. Methane production is not associated with sire groups or residual feed intake in feedlot Angus cattle. Adv. Anim. Biosci. 4:518. View Here.