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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 5, p. 1686-1691
     
    Received: Feb 7, 2006
    Published: Sept, 2006


    * Corresponding author(s): mcginns@agr.gc.ca
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doi:10.2134/jeq2006.0054

Assessment of the Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6) Tracer Technique for Measuring Enteric Methane Emissions from Cattle

  1. S. M. McGinn *a,
  2. K. A. Beauchemina,
  3. A. D. Iwaasab and
  4. T. A. McAllistera
  1. a Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, P.O. Box 3000, Lethbridge, AB, Canada T1J 4B1
    b Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Swift Current, SK, Canada S9H 3X2

Abstract

A commonly used method of measuring enteric methane (CH4) emissions from ruminants is the SF6 tracer technique that measures respired and eructated CH4 However, within the animal, a small proportion of CH4 is produced post-ruminally and some of this may escape through the rectum. The comparison of emissions using a chamber technique that measures all enteric CH4 losses, and the SF6 tracer technique, could give some insight into the magnitude of post-ruminal emission. The objective of our study was to assess the precision and accuracy of the SF6 tracer technique against a chamber technique for cattle fed a range of diets. Using a repeated-measures design, eight beef heifers were offered a high grain or high forage diet for ad libitum or restricted (65% of ad libitum) feed intake to vary the site of digestion within the gastrointestinal tract (n = 24). The SF6 tracer technique underestimated CH4 emissions on average by 4% relative to the chamber technique. This difference was not significant (P > 0.05) and suggests low post-ruminal CH4 emissions. There was a trend for greater accuracy and precision of the SF6 tracer technique when used with cattle fed a high forage diet at a restricted level of intake. The high forage diet corresponds to the conditions of cattle grazing pasture, suggesting the SF6 tracer technique is most reliable for the grazing system.

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Copyright © 2006. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA