Almond hulls and citrus pulp have been fed to dairy cows with variable responses for milk production, but no information exists on their effect on enteric methane emissions. This experiment examined the effects of dietary supplementation with either almond hulls or ensiled citrus pulp on the milk yield, milk composition, and enteric methane emissions of dairy cows. Thirty-two Holstein dairy cows in mid lactation were offered 1 of 3 diets over a 28-d experiment. Twelve cows received a control (CON) diet, 10 cows a diet containing almond hulls (ALH), and 10 cows a diet containing ensiled citrus pulp (CIT). All cows were offered 6.0 kg of dry matter (DM)/d of crushed corn, 2.0 kg of DM/d of cold-pressed canola, and 0.2 kg of DM/d of a mineral mix. In addition, cows fed the CON diet were offered 14.5 kg of DM/d of alfalfa cubes; cows fed the ALH diet were offered 10.5 kg of DM/d of alfalfa cubes and 4.0 kg of DM/d of almond hulls; and cows on the CIT diet were offered 11.5 kg of DM/d of alfalfa cubes and 3.0 kg of DM/d of ensiled citrus pulp. Milk yield was measured daily and milk composition was measured on 4 d of each week. Individual cow methane emissions were measured by a sulfur hexafluoride tracer technique on d 24 to 28 of the experiment. The mean milk yield of cows fed the CON diet (27.4 kg/d) was greater than the mean milk yield of cows fed the ALH diet (24.6 kg/cow per day), whereas the mean milk yield of cows fed the CIT diet (26.2 kg/cow per day) was not different from the mean milk yield from cows fed the other 2 diets. Dietary treatment did not influence the concentrations of milk fat, protein, and lactose or fat yields, but the mean protein yield from cows fed the CON diet (0.87 kg/d) was greater than that from cows fed the ALH diet (0.78 kg/d) but not different to those fed the CIT diet (0.85 kg/d). In general, we found no differences in the proportion of individual fatty acids in milk. The mean pH of ruminal fluid from cows offered the CON diet was not different to the pH in the ruminal fluids of cows offered the ALH or the CIT diets. The mean methane emissions (g/d) and yields (g/kg of DM intake) were not influenced by dietary treatment. These findings indicate that, although almond hulls and ensiled citrus pulp can be used as a low-cost feed supplement, almond hulls did negatively affect milk production and neither inhibited enteric methane emissions.
Keywords: cattle; methane yield; sulfur hexafluoride.
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