Cows on corn silage diet emit up to 50% less enteric methane with Bovaer mixed in

Cows on corn silage diet emit up to 50% less enteric methane with Bovaer mixed in

Corn is a traditional part of Italian animal feed and the main forage fed to dairy cows in the Mediterranean country. It has low neutral detergent fiber content (NDF), meaning it’s highly digestible and has higher energy content than other fodder crops. An academic study recently confirmed another benefit – the diet supports the efficacy of methane-suppressing additive, Bovaer (formerly known as 3-NOP).

Two recently-completed on-farm trials carried out by the University of Cattolica in collaboration with dsm-firmenich and dairy giant Parmalat (part of Lactalis Group) showed that when Bovaer was fed to dairy cows at the recommended minimum dose of 60ppm, the additive reduced enteric methane emissions between 44% to 50%.

At the same time, milk composition and production levels were maintained, as were the milk fatty acids profile, animal health and welfare levels, and feed efficiency.

DairyReporter asked dsm-firmenich how these results compared to existing trial data. Dennis Rijnders, regional commercial director for Bovaer at dsm-firmenich, told us these were not the highest reductions ever recorded – some of the beef finishing trials had yielded even higher enteric methane reductions.

“But on the dairy side, this is one of the trials with the highest levels of reduction, given the use of the minimum dosage,” Rijnders told us.

The trials, which were the first to test the effects of Bovaer in Italy, were carried out at Universitá Cattolica’s dairy farm over 12 weeks, taking place in the summer and in winter. A two-week adaptation phase was followed by a nine-week trial period and a two-week post-application stage. The cows were either fed a corn silage-based diet or a diet with a quarter teaspoon of Bovaer added in, or were assigned to a control group.

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