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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Research Project #446277

Research Project: Enteric Methane Monitoring - Midwest Area Madison WI

Location: Dairy Forage Research

Project Number: 5090-31000-027-033-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Apr 26, 2024
End Date: Aug 31, 2028

1. Develop a research and monitoring network to collect and synthesize multi-scale data on nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) emissions from livestock production systems that represent major agricultural sources of these two gases. Prioritizing which systems to monitor is a function of which data are most useful for other Action Areas to evaluate practices that can reduce emissions and improve models, including for conservation program outcomes, exploring model comparisons, and supporting the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (the National GHG Inventory). 2. Coordinate with other USDA agencies and IRA GHG Quantification Action Areas to maximize data utility, including AA#1 to integrate GHG data collection with soil carbon and perennial biomass data collection as much as possible; AA#3 for data management; AA#5 to support NRCS conservation practice standards and implementation; AA#6 for conservation activity data collection and synthesis; and AA#4 and AA#7 to improve models.

Measure enteric CH4 emission directly from beef and dairy cattle to address the Objectives and Goals for Action Area Data Use. The team will focus on the major production enterprises in the industry, which are beef cattle emissions from both feedlots and grazing production, and dairy cattle emission from both confined housing and grazing production. While ARS conducts significant research on improving the productivity and efficiency of cattle production, which can ultimately reduce enteric CH4 emission per unit of meat and milk product, the management interventions represent practices more directly targeted to reduce enteric CH4. Also, cattle production in confined production offers a range of existing management interventions, like diet formulations and feed additives that may impact GHG emissions but are not adequately accounted for, in addition to some new promising interventions. Gaps in the data around forage quality, intake, nutrient composition/digestibility, and grain processing are research areas within the work plan to be used to move models from Tier 2 to Tier 3. Research will improve validation of current models and correction factors for emissions estimates. Grazing cattle production is not as conducive to these interventions, so practices proposed below focus more on cattle and pasture management to get cattle to eat as high quality of forage as possible and to genetically select for cattle with lower emission rates. Equipment acquired for data collection in the workplan will move modeling estimates for enteric emissions from grazing animals from Tier 2 to Tier 3. Additional investments will improve individual intake estimates from grazing cattle.