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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Effect of grassland cutting frequency, species mixture, wilting and fermentation pattern of grass silages on in vitro methane yield

Weiby, Kim Viggo; Krizsan, Sophie J.; Donnem, Ingjerd; ostrem, Liv; Eknaes, Margrete; Steinshamn, Havard


Mitigating enteric methane (CH4) emissions is crucial as ruminants account for 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. We hypothesised that less frequent harvesting, use of crops with lower WSC concentration, ensiling at low crop dry matter (DM) and extensive lactic acid fermentation would reduce in vitro CH4 production. Timothy (T), timothy + red clover mixture (T + RC) or perennial ryegrass (RG), cut either two or three times per season, was wilted to 22.5% or 37.5% DM and ensiled with or without formic acid-based additive. Silages were analysed for chemical composition and fermentation products. In vitro CH4 production was measured using an automated gas in vitro system. Methane production was, on average, 2.8 mL/g OM lower in the two-cut system than in the three-cut system (P < 0.001), and 1.9 mL/g OM lower in T than in RG (P < 0.001). Silage DM did not affect CH4 production (P = 0.235), but formic acid increased CH4 production by 1.2 mL/g OM compared to the untreated silage (P = 0.003). In conclusion, less frequent harvesting and extensive silage fermentation reduce in vitro CH4 production, while RG in comparison to T resulted in higher production of CH4.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2023, Volume: 13, number: 1, article number: 4806

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    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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