Friday, April 12, 2024

Gas trial gets A+ from researcher

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Bovaer study shows efficacy of methane mitigator, albeit mainly on a dairy feedlot diet.
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Research studying the effect of the methane mitigator Bovaer on dairy cows has been given the thumbs-up by New Zealand’s head of gas research.

In research published in the Journal of Dairy Science, scientists at Wageningen University in the Netherlands studied the impact of feeding 3-NOP, trade name Bovaer, to Friesian dairy cows over the course of their lactation for one year.

The research found Bovaer had no effect on the cows’ body condition score, weight, or food intake, but they had a 6.5% increase in milk yields, milk fat and protein.

Bovaer was developed by giant Dutch nutrient company DSM as a methane mitigation treatment to be administered in cows’ daily ration. 

Since commercialising it is now approved for use in 40-plus countries and territories including the European Union, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Chile, and Turkey. 

In the critical area of methane reduction, Bovaer also demonstrated the expected positive results over the length of lactation with reductions of 21% in methane emissions per cow per day, 20% reduction per kg of dry matter fed, and 27% in methane intensity per kg of milk production. 

The level of methane reduction also varied significantly over the lactation period. It ranged from a 16% reduction in methane per kg of feed at the dry period to 20%-16% reduction through mid-lactation, and spiking at 26% reduction in late lactation. 

Dr Harry Clark, director of the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre, said the trial work was valuable on grounds of its robust design and the length of time the scientists had plotted the impact of Bovaer in the cows’ diets.

“It has tried to look at the whole long-term impact, and it also highlighted how the actual reduction in methane is quite dependent upon the type of diet the cows are on.”

The cows were fed a conventional dairy feedlot diet, comprising meal and grass-corn silage, but the proportion of fibre within the diet altered depending upon the lactation period. The researchers noted that dietary composition had a large effect on 3-NOP’s effectiveness.

“It is a credit to DSM. As a company they wanted to be very comprehensive about how they have tested their product, compared to short term claims that some products may make.”

He noted it was also a positive that using Bovaer may increase milk production, although the amount detected was relatively small at 6.5% increase.

He said the work indicated the reductions in methane output for New Zealand cows fed Bovaer may be at the smaller end, given the higher fibre content in their diet compared to feedlot Dutch cows. 

The research indicated there was an inverse relationship between increasing fibre content and the amount of methane reduction achieved.

“It is great to see a long-term experiment that has been done well.”

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