Relationship between residual feed intake and enteric methane emission in Nellore cattle


Feed intake and average daily gain (ADG) in Nellore cattle were determined to calculate residual feed intake in two performance tests: first during the growth phase (RFIgrowth) and then during a measurement of the methane emission phase (RFImet). During the RFIgrowth test, 62 males and 56 females were classified as low-, medium-, and high-RFI. Enteric methane emission was measured in 46 animals; 23 males used for RFImet measurement plus 23 females (22 low-RFIgrowth and 24 high-RFIgrowth). Diet consisted of Brachiaria brizantha cv. Marandu hay (445 g/kg DM) and concentrate (555 g/kg DM). During the RFIgrowth and RFImet phases, DMI was lower in the animals with low RFI, with no difference in ADG. Residual feed intake was -0.359 and 0.367 kg DM/d for low- and high-RFI animals. Enteric methane emission (g/d, g/kg BW0.75 and g/kg ADG) did not differ between RFIgrowth classes. Enteric methane emission (g/d) was higher in high RFImet and lower in low RFImet males. Spearman correlations among traits obtained during both tests, which were high between metabolic BW (r = 0.959) and between DMI (r = 0.718), and zero between ADG (r = -0.062), resulted in moderate correlation between RFIgrowth and RFImet (r = 0.412). However, it is not possible to confirm that high-efficiency animals release less enteric methane, since different results were obtained when enteric methane was compared between the RFIgrowth and RFImet classes.



beef cattle, enteric methane production, feed efficiency, performance, sulfur hexafluoride