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Predicting CO2 production of lactating dairy cows from animal, dietary, and production traits using an international dataset

Kjeldsen, M. H., Johansen, M., Weisbjerg, M. R., Hellwing, A. L. F., Bannink, A., Colombini, S., Crompton, L., Dijkstra, J., Eugène, M., Guinguina, A., Hristov, A. N., Huhtanen, P., Jonker, A., Kreuzer, M., Kuhla, B., Martin, C., Moate, P. J., Niu, P., Peiren, N., Reynolds, C. ORCID: , Williams, S. R. O. and Lund, P. (2024) Predicting CO2 production of lactating dairy cows from animal, dietary, and production traits using an international dataset. Journal of Dairy Science. ISSN 1525-3198 (In Press)

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Automated measurements of the ratio of concentrations of methane and carbon dioxide, [CH4]:[CO2], in breath from individual animals (the so-called “Sniffer-technique”) and estimated CO2 production can be used to estimate CH4 production, provided that CO2 production can be reliably calculated. This would allow CH4 production from individual cows to be estimated in large cohorts of cows, whereby ranking of cows according to their CH4 production might become possible and their values could be used for breeding of low CH4 emitting animals. Estimates of CO2 production are typically based on predictions of heat production, which can be calculated from body weight (BW), energy-corrected milk yield, and days of pregnancy. The objectives of the present study were to develop predictions of CO2 production directly from milk production, dietary, and animal variables, and furthermore develop different models to be used for different scenarios, depending on available data. An international dataset with 2,244 records from individual lactating cows including CO2 production and associated traits, as dry matter intake (DMI), diet composition, BW, milk production and composition, days in milk and days pregnant, was compiled to constitute the training dataset. Research location and experiment nested within research location were included as random intercepts. The method of CO2 production measurement (respiration chamber (RC) or GreenFeed (GF)) was confounded with research location, and therefore excluded from the model. In total, 3 models were developed based on the current training dataset: Model 1 (“Best Model”), where all significant traits were included, Model 2 (“On-Farm Model”), where DMI was excluded, and Model 3 (“Reduced On-Farm Model”), where both DMI and BW were excluded. Evaluation on test datasets either with RC data (n = 103), GF data without additives (n = 478) or GF data only including observations where nitrate, 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP), or a combination of nitrate and 3-NOP were fed to the cows (GF+: n = 295), showed good precision of the 3 models, illustrated by low slope bias both in absolute values (-0.22 to 0.097) and in percentage (0.049 to 4.89) of mean square error (MSE). However, the mean bias (MB) indicated systematic over-prediction and under-prediction of CO2 production when the models were evaluated on the GF and the RC test dataset, respectively. To address this bias, the 3 models were evaluated on a modified test dataset, where the CO2 production (g/d) was adjusted by subtracting (where measurements were obtained by RC) or adding absolute MB (where measurements were obtained by GF) from evaluation of the specific model on RC, GF, and GF+ test datasets. By this modification, the absolute values of MB and MB as percentage of MSE became negligible. In conclusion, the 3 models were precise in predicting CO2 production from lactating dairy cows.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Animal Sciences
ID Code:116197

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