Global agriculture accounts for approximately 14% of anthropogenic emissions. In New Zealand, methane emissions from ruminants comprise 31.5% of the total emissions (Ministry for Environment 2009), therefore, any future mitigation of emissions could have substantial economic implications for the agricultural sector. Reducing emissions from ruminant livestock without affecting animal production against a rising demand for animal products is challenging (Clark 2009). Measurements carried out over the last 15 years have shown a common feature of individual animal variation in methane emissions (Pinares-Patiño et al. 2011b). Recently it has been shown that enteric methane emissions from sheep are both heritable and repeatable (gCH4/day 0.29 ± 0.05; repeatability 0.26 ± 0.02), whether expressed as gross emissions (g/d) or methane yield (emissions per unit of feed dry matter intake, g/kgDMI; Pinares-Patiño et al. 2013). This makes breeding an attractive mitigation strategy for the lowering of enteric emissions from ruminant livestock given animal production performance is not affected (Pinares-Patiño et al. 2011a)...

SN, Elmes, WE Bain, GJ Greer, SM Hickey, EA Young, NK Pickering, SJ Rowe, KJ Knowler, CS Pinares-Patiño, and JC McEwan

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 74, Napier, 142-144, 2014
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