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J Anim Sci. 2008 Oct;86(10):2642-50. doi: 10.2527/jas.2007-0774. Epub 2008 May 9.

Methane output and diet digestibility in response to feeding dairy cows crude linseed, extruded linseed, or linseed oil.

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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, UR1213 Herbivores, F63122 Saint-Genès Champanelle, France.


This experiment studied the effect of 3 forms of presentation of linseed fatty acids (FA) on methane output using the sulfur hexafluoride tracer technique, total tract digestibility, and performance of dairy cows. Eight multiparous lactating Holstein cows (initial milk yield 23.4 +/- 2.2 kg/d) were assigned to 4 dietary treatments in a replicated 4 x 4 Latin square design: a control diet (C) consisting of corn silage (59%), grass hay (6%), and concentrate (35%) and the same diet with crude linseed (CLS), extruded linseed (ELS), or linseed oil (LSO) at the same FA level (5.7% of dietary DM). Each experimental period lasted 4 wk. All the forms of linseed FA significantly decreased daily CH(4) emissions (P < 0.001) but to different extents (-12% with CLS, -38% with ELS, -64% with LSO) compared with C. The same ranking among diets was observed for CH(4) output expressed as a percentage of energy intake (P < 0.001) or in grams per kilogram of OM intake (P < 0.001). Methane production per unit of digested NDF was similar for C, CLS, and ELS but was less for LSO (138 vs. 68 g/kg of digested NDF, respectively; P < 0.001). Measured as grams per kilogram of milk or fat-corrected milk yield, methane emission was similar for C and CLS and was less for ELS and LSO (P < 0.001), LSO being less than ELS (P < 0.01). Total tract NDF digestibility was significantly less (P < 0.001) for the 3 supplemented diets than for C (-6.8% on average; P < 0.001). Starch digestibility was similar for all diets (mean 93.5%). Compared with C, DMI was not modified with CLS (P > 0.05) but was decreased with ELS and LSO (-3.1 and -5.1 kg/d, respectively; P < 0.001). Milk yield and milk fat content were similar for LSO and ELS but less than for C and CLS (19.9 vs. 22.3 kg/d and 33.8 vs. 43.2 g/kg, on average, respectively; P < 0.01 and P < 0.001). Linseed FA offer a promising dietary means to depress ruminal methanogenesis. The form of presentation of linseed FA greatly influences methane output from dairy cows. The negative effects of linseed on milk production will need to be overcome if it is to be considered as a methane mitigation agent. Optimal conditions for the utilization of linseed FA in ruminant diets need to be determined before recommending its use for the dairy industry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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