The effect of silage type on animal performance, energy utilisation and enteric methane emission in lactating dairy cows

Guenal M., McCourt A., Zhao Y., Yan Z. G. , Yan T.

ANIMAL PRODUCTION SCIENCE, vol.59, no.3, pp.499-505, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 59 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1071/an16435
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.499-505


The present study aimed to investigate the effect of silage type on dry matter (DM) intake, nutrient digestibility, energy utilisation and methane (CH4) emission. Six late lactating Holstein dairy cows were used in a replicated 3 x 3 Latin square design study with three treatments (grass silage (GS), maize silage (MS) and whole-crop wheat silage (WCWS)) and three periods (3 weeks/period). All animals were offered forage ad libitum and 5.55 kg/day of a concentrate supplement, which contained (DM basis) 66.0% rapeseed meal, 28.3% soyabean meal and 5.7% a mineral/vitamin supplement. During each period, animals were subject to digestibility, CH4 and heat production measurements during the final 6 days using calorimeter chambers. The results demonstrated that total DM intake for MS and WCWS diets were higher (P < 0.001) than for the GS diet. Faecal energy and heat production loss for the GS diet were lower (P < 0.01) than for MS and WCWS diets. In contrast, cows fed the GS diet had higher (P < 0.05) urine energy loss compared with MS and WCWS diets. In comparison with the GS and MS diets, WCWS diet produced a lower CH4 loss per kg DM and organic matter intake (P < 0.01), and CH4 energy output as a proportion of gross energy and metabolisable energy intake (P < 0.05). The present study demonstrates that choice of forage types affects energy utilisation and CH4 emission in dairy cows.