Use of 3-nitrooxypropanol in a commercial feedlot to decrease enteric methane emissions from cattle fed a corn-based finishing diet

Citation

Alemu, A.W., Shreck, A.L., Booker, C.W., McGinn, S.M., Pekrul, L.K.D., Kindermann, M., Beauchemin, K.A. (2021). Use of 3-nitrooxypropanol in a commercial feedlot to decrease enteric methane emissions from cattle fed a corn-based finishing diet, 99(1), http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skaa394

Plain language summary

The study evaluated enteric methane production in feedlot cattle supplemented with increasing concentrations of 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP) inhibitor. Compared to control, methane yield (g/kg dry matter intake) was decreased by 52%, 76%, and 63% for low, medium, and high doses of 3-NOP, respectively. A treatment × period effect indicated that the low dose decreased in efficacy from 59% decrease in periods 1 and 2, to 37% decrease in period 3, while efficacy of the medium and high doses remained consistent over time. The study indicates that supplementation of corn-based finishing diets with 3-NOP using a medium dose is an effective methane mitigation strategy for commercial beef feedlots. Further research is needed to determine the effects of 3-NOP dose on weight gain, feed conversion efficiency, and carcass characteristics of feedlot cattle at a commercial scale.

Abstract

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 2020.The present study evaluated enteric CH4 production, dry matter (DM) intake (DMI), and rumen fermentation in feedlot cattle supplemented with increasing concentrations of 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP). A total of 100 crossbred steers (body weight, 421 ± 11 kg) was randomly assigned to one of four treatments (n = 25/treatment): control (no 3-NOP) or low (100 mg/kg DM), medium (125 mg/kg DM), and high (150 mg/kg DM) doses of 3-NOP. The study was comprised of 28 d of adaptation followed by three 28-d periods, with CH4 measured for 7 d per period and cattle remaining on their respective diets throughout the 112-d study. Each treatment group was assigned to a pen, with the cattle and diets rotated among pens weekly to allow the animals to access the GreenFeed emission monitoring (GEM) system stationed in one of the pens for CH4 measurement. Measured concentration (mg/kg DM) of 3-NOP in the total diet consumed (basal diet + GEM pellet) was 85.6 for low, 107.6 for medium, and 124.5 for high doses of 3-NOP. There was a treatment × period interaction (P < 0.001) for DMI; compared with control, the DMI was less for the low and high doses in period 1, with no differences thereafter. Compared with control (10.78 g/kg DMI), CH4 yield (g/kg DMI) was decreased (P < 0.001) by 52%, 76%, and 63% for low, medium, and high doses of 3-NOP, respectively. A treatment × period effect (P = 0.048) for CH4 yield indicated that the low dose decreased in efficacy from 59% decrease in periods 1 and 2 to 37% decrease in period 3, while the efficacy of the medium and high doses remained consistent over time. Irrespective of dose, hydrogen emissions increased by 4.9-fold (P < 0.001), and acetate:propionate ratio in rumen fluid decreased (P = 0.045) with 3-NOP supplementation, confirming that other hydrogen-utilizing pathways become more important in the CH4-inhibited rumen. The study indicates that supplementation of corn-based finishing diets with 3-NOP using a medium dose is an effective CH4 mitigation strategy for commercial beef feedlots with a 76% decrease in CH4 yield. Further research is needed to determine the effects of 3-NOP dose on weight gain, feed conversion efficiency, and carcass characteristics of feedlot cattle at a commercial scale.