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FRIBIO2-FRIPRO forskerprosjekt, biologi

Sustainable ruminant production: Feed, microbiome and immune efficiency in low and high methane emitting dairy cows

Alternative title: Bærekraftig drøvtyggeproduksjon: Fôr, mikrobiom og immuneffektivitet i melkekyr med lav og høy metanutslipp

Awarded: NOK 12.0 mill.

The ViableCow project will provide potential solutions for more sustainable ruminant production. What is needed to make cattle and sheep farming more sustainable? The digital revolution and sustainability requirements are changing the way livestock farming is organized. The ViableCow project will improve our understanding of the interactions between feed, microorganisms, immune response and greenhouse gas emissions of ruminants. First, we aim to predict the conversion efficiency of feed to milk based on the methane and carbon dioxide exhaled by the animals. This would improve farm accounting tools, national inventory methodology and breeding programs. Second, we aim to understand the digestion and immune efficiency of cows with low greenhouse gas emissions. This is relevant to breeding programs. Third, our goal is to determine if the microbiome and methane emission are heritable. For this, we will exchange the gut content. Fourth, we will test novel combinations of feed additives to reduce methane emissions. The potential solutions identified by our ViableCow project are effective in both the short term (nutritional strategy, digitalization, national inventory methodology) and the longer term (breeding strategy, ruminant health).

The digital revolution and sustainability requirements are changing the way livestock farming is organized. What is needed to make ruminant production more sustainable? The ViableCow project will apply a progressive interdisciplinary approach to delineate interactions between feed, microorganisms, immune response and greenhouse gas emissions to feed efficiency in ruminants. The visions of achievement are (1) to develop a model for predicting feed efficiency from methane and carbon dioxide emission data that can be incorporated into farm accounting tools, national inventory methodology and breeding programs; (2) to quantify the resources (immune efficiency, exploitation of the microbial potential, digestion efficiency) available to efficient cows and to low methane emitting cows (relevant for breeding program); (3) to elucidate whether the microbiome and methane emission are heritable and to what extent they can be modified by rumen manipulation (exchange of rumen content) and nutrition (novel combination of feed additives). The combination of feed additives to effectively reduce the environmental impact of ruminant livestock is likely to become more widely used. ViableCow will provide potential solutions for more sustainable ruminant production in the short term (nutritional strategy, digitalization, national inventory methodology) and in the longer term (breeding strategy, ruminant health).

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FRIBIO2-FRIPRO forskerprosjekt, biologi