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Substituting ryegrass-based pasture with graded levels of forage rape in the diet of lambs decreases methane emissions and increases propionate, succinate, and primary alcohols in the rumen
Journal of Animal Science  (IF3.338),  Pub Date : 2022-06-20, DOI: 10.1093/jas/skac223
Maria M Della Rosa, Edgar Sandoval, Peter Reid, Dongwen Luo, David Pacheco, Peter H Janssen, Arjan Jonker

Feeding 100% forage rape to sheep consistently lowers methane emissions per unit of intake (CH4/DMI) compared to those fed 100% ryegrass pasture. However, forage rape is usually supplemented with other feeds, which might impact the mitigation potential provided by forage rape. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of substituting ryegrass with graded levels of forage rape in the diet of lambs on methane emissions and rumen fermentation characteristics. Seventy wether lambs (n=14/treatment) were fed a ryegrass-based pasture substituted with 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100% of forage rape (Brassica napus; FR0, FR25, FR50, FR75, FR100, respectively) on a dry matter basis. Methane emissions and dry matter intake were measured for 48 h in respiration chambers and a rumen fluid sample was collected. CH4/DMI decreased (P < 0.01) with increasing forage rape inclusion in the diet, so that sheep fed FR100 and FR75 emitted 34 % and 11% less, respectively, than those fed FR0. CH4/DMI differences for lambs fed FR25 and FR50 were much smaller (< 6%) relative to FR0. The pH of rumen fluid decreased (P < 0.01) at higher levels of forage rape inclusion in the diet (FR75 and FR100) compared to low levels of inclusion (FR0, F25 and F50). The proportion of ruminal acetate was least in FR100 (30%) followed by FR75 (10%), FR50 (8%) and FR25 (4%) compared with FR0 (P < 0.001). The proportion of propionate plus succinate was greater for FR100 (+40%), FR75 (+28%) and FR50 (+29%) compared with FR0, with FR25 intermediate (P < 0.001). The methanol concentration, and ethanol and propanol proportions in rumen fluid were greater for FR100 compared with any other treatment (P < 0.001). In conclusion, CH4/DMI decreased at high levels of forage rape inclusion in the diet and especially feeding FR100 was associated with a pronounced shift in rumen fermentation profile, with significant presence of succinate, ethanol, propanol, methanol, valerate and caproate.