3-NOP for Cows

3-NOP for Cows

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
A 2-year large-scale trial in beef cattle in Alberta, Canada has successfully demonstrated that a novel feed ingredient, developed by Royal DSM, can be included in commercial feedlot diets to reduce methane emissions by up to 80%, without negative effects on animal health and performance parameters and carcass characteristics. This was the largest and longest trial for methane reduction in beef to date. The trial alone already reduced Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 1,473 tonnes CO2e. This is comparable to taking 500 cars off the road for a year.

The trial was conducted by a Canadian Research Consortium consisting of Agriculture and Agrifood Canada, Feedlot Health Management Services, Viresco Solutions, and DSM Nutritional Products, and with support from the Alberta Cattle Feeders Association. Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) committed $1.5 million to this $3 million project through its Methane Challenge. The project was recognized for having positive implications for the province due to the fact 70% of Canada’s cattle production happens in Alberta. With ~15,000 heads of beef included in the trial, it represents the largest single trial conducted on methane reduction technologies for ruminants.

Methane emission from ruminants represents a significant portion of anthropogenic greenhouse gases and contributes to climate change.

Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and sustainable living, has developed a feed ingredient to reduce enteric methane formation in ruminants by over 30% on average. The ingredient is scientifically called 3-NOP and is considered a breakthrough technology that inhibits methane formation in the rumen of cattle.

The trial demonstrated the commercial viability of feeding 3-NOP in backgrounding and finishing operations in Alberta’s beef cattle industry in a large-scale field trial. The project;

evaluated the relative effects of feeding the product on methane reduction and feedlot performance, health and carcass quality outcomes in feedlot cattle fed typical North American finishing diets (corn and barley grain based diets) as well as in a high forage, backgrounding diet.

evaluated direct measurement techniques for methane emissions in a commercial beef feedlot where the product was used, and

demonstrated the use of the product in day-to-day practicalities of commercial feedlots.

Measurements indicated that on average 70% enteric methane emission reduction was found when the feed ingredient was provided in steam-flaked or dry-rolled barley finishing diets at 125 mg/kg of feed dry matter. In steam-flaked corn-based finishing diets, a reduction in the range of 31% - 80% at the 125 mg/kg dosage of the feed ingredient was observed. Lastly, in backgrounding diets, increasing the dose of the feed ingredient stepwise from 150 to 200 mg/kg decreased the yield of methane by 17%-26% compared with control animals. The trial successfully demonstrated that  the ingredient can be included in commercial feedlot diets to reduce methane emissions, without negative effects on animal health and performance parameters and carcass characteristics.

The inclusion of the feed ingredient in the diets of cattle has resulted in real, permanent and quantifiable reductions of methane emissions and has broad applications across Alberta’s beef and dairy sector, and in feedlots globally.

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