A feeding trial using 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP) reduced enteric methane emissions in dairy cows 22 to 40 percent in a short-term study done at Pennsylvania State University. The average level of methane reduction was 31 percent.
Forty-nine mid-lactation Holsteins were used in the trial, with 7 blocks of cattle on a control group and one of 6 doses of 3-NOP for 17 days. Cows in the trial averaged more than 95 lb of milk per day. Dry matter intake and milk production was unaffected by the treatments, though butterfat levels and yield rose linearly with increasing levels of 3-NOP. Treatments ranged from 40 to 200 mg/kg of feed dry matter.
“Maximum mitigation effect of 3-NOP was achieved with 150 mg/kg, but no statistical difference was observed among the 3 highest doses (100, 150 and 200 mg/kg),” says lead researcher Alexander Hristov, an animal scientist with Penn State.
He also notes that lowering methane emissions would also increase the availability of digestible energy, which in theory would provide additional energy for lactation and improve feed efficiency.
“These results suggest that 3-NOP is a promising feed additive for reducing enteric methane emissions, while maintaining lactational performance in dairy cows and potentially increasing milk fat yield,” says Hristov.
You can read the abstract of the study, which appeared in the July issue of the Journal of Dairy Science, here.