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The effect of a condensed tannin-containing forage on methane emission by goats

R. Puchala, B. R. Min, A. L. Goetsch, and T. Sahlu

E (Kika) de la Garza American Institute for Goat Research, Langston University, OK

The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of dietary condensed tannins from Sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata; 6% condensed tannins; SL) on methane emission by goats. The experiment was conducted with Angora does that had grazed SL (n = 6; 43 ± 2.7 kg BW) or crabgrass/tall fescue forage (CF; n = 6; 40 ± 2.7 kg BW) for approximately 4 months. After 5 d of adaptation to metabolism crates, gas exchange was measured for 24 h in an open circuit-calorimetry respiration system with four head boxes (Sable Systems; Henderson, NV). Heart rate (HR) was monitored using Polar S610 heart rate monitors (Polar Electro, Woodbury, NY). Goats began adaptation periods sequentially in three sets, with two SL and two CF does in each set. During adaptation and measurement periods, freshly cut forages were fed three times daily. Concentrations of CP were 10.3 and 13.0% DM and in vitro DM digestibility (with NDF as the end-point measure) was 64.5 and 75.3% for SL and CF, respectively. Dry matter intake (1.29 vs 0.68 kg/d) and digestible DMI (0.84 vs 0.51 kg/d) were greater (P < 0.01) for SL vs CF. Daily energy expenditure (432 vs 439 kJ/kg BW0.75) and methane emission (12.4 vs 10.9 L/d for SL and CF, respectively) were similar between treatments. However, daily methane emission relative to DMI (8.5 vs 18.8 L/kg) and digestible DMI (13.2 vs 25.0 L/kg) were considerably lower (P < 0.01) for SL than for CF. Treatment had no effect on HR (75.5 vs 74.7) or the ratio of daily EE to average HR per minute (5.73 vs 5.88 kJ/kg BW0.75 for SL and CF, respectively). In summary, condensed tannins in forages such as SL may provide a means of decreasing methane emission by ruminants.


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