Greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen efficiency of dairy cows of divergent economic breeding index under seasonal pasture-based management
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CitationB. Lahart, L. Shalloo, J. Herron, D. O'Brien, R. Fitzgerald, T.M. Boland, F. Buckley, Greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen efficiency of dairy cows of divergent economic breeding index under seasonal pasture-based management, Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 104, Issue 7, 2021, Pages 8039-8049, ISSN 0022-0302, https://doi.org/10.3168/jds.2020-19618.
AbstractGreenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and nitrogen (N) efficiencies were modeled for 2 genetic groups (GG) of Holstein-Friesian cows across 3 contrasting feeding treatments (FT). The 2 GG were (1) high economic breeding index (EBI) animals representative of the top 5% of cows nationally (elite) and (2) EBI representative of the national average (NA). The FT represented (1) generous feeding of pasture, (2) a slight restriction in pasture allowance, and (3) a high-concentrate feeding system with adequate pasture allowance. Greenhouse gas and N balance models were parameterized using outputs generated from the Moorepark Dairy Systems model, a stochastic budgetary simulation model, having integrated biological data pertaining to the 6 scenarios (2 GG × 3 FT) obtained from a 4-yr experiment conducted between 2013 and 2016. On a per hectare basis, total system GHG emissions were similar for both elite and NA across the 3 FT. Per unit of product, however, the elite group had 10% and 11% lower GHG emissions per kilogram of fat- and protein-corrected milk and per kilogram of milk solids (MSO; fat + protein kg), respectively, compared with the NA across the 3 FT. The FT incorporating high concentrate supplementation had greater absolute GHG emissions per hectare as well as GHG per kilogram of fat- and protein-corrected milk and MSO. The elite group had a slightly superior N use efficiency (N output/N input) and lower N surplus (N input – N output) compared with the NA group. The high concentrate FT had an inferior N use efficiency and a higher N surplus. The results of the current study demonstrate that breeding for increased EBI will lead to a general improvement in GHG emissions per unit of product as well as improved N efficiency. The results also illustrate that reducing concentrate supplementation will reduce GHG emissions, GHG emissions intensity, while improving N efficiency in the context of pasture-based dairy production.
FunderScience Foundation IReland; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Grant Number16/RC/3835 (VistaMilk)
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