Project title:

Evaluation of prediction accuracy of milk mid-infrared spectroscopy technique for feeding efficiency and methane emissions from dairy cows using AFBI calorimeter data

Project team:

 Tianhai Yan and David Wills

 

 Duration:- Three Years  

 

Background to proposal:   

 This proposal is to support AFBI’s participation in a Genome Canada project entitled: improving feed efficiency and reducing methane emissions from dairy cows using milk mid-infrared spectroscopy. The overall objective of this Genome Canada project is to develop a cost-effective tool for breeding programmes to select effective dairy cows with high production efficiency and low methane emissions using the milk mid-infrared spectroscopy (MIR) technique. AFBI’s responsibility is to evaluate the prediction accuracy of milk mid-infrared spectroscopy technique for feeding efficiency and methane emissions from dairy cows using AFBI calorimeter data.

 Mid-infrared spectra can be routinely obtained from milk and has great potential as an indicator of efficiency in dairy cows. The MIR result from the interaction between matter and electromagnetic waves in the 900 – 5000 cm-1 region of the spectrum and is the method used globally to routinely determine the fat, protein, and lactose concentration of milk. It is a rapid and cost-effective tool for recording phenotypes such as energy status, fatty acids and most recently methane emissions at the population level with varying levels of success (Soyeurt et al., 2011; Dehareng et al., 2012; McParland et al., 2014). Milk MIR has been reported as a potential indicator to predict production efficiency (e.g., residual feed intake) (McParland et al., 2014a) and methane emission (Dehareng et al., 2012). This is partially due to the fact that the milk spectrum reflects the milk composition, which is connected to residual feed intake and methane, because they all associated with rumen fermentation.

 AFBI Hillsborough plans to develop the milk MIR technique for local dairy production industries. The objective is to help local industry improve feeding efficiency and reduce methane emissions from dairy cows for development of more sustainable dairy production system. The participation of this Genome Canada project will enable us to gain knowledge on the MIR technique which will help to develop our own system to benefit NI dairy farmers.

 

Collaborative research: (Will there be any work with other research institutes)

 This Genome Canada project brings together an international consortium with research partners from University of Alberta, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, University of Liege (Belgium), Walloon Agricultural Research Centre (Belgium) and AFBI.

 

Proposed programme:

 

Task 1. Collation of calorimeter chamber data of dairy cows undertaken in metabolism studies at AFBI Hillsborough since 1992;

 

Task 2. Evaluation of results (e.g., feed intake, energy status, production efficiency and methane emissions) predicted by milk MIR techniques by research partners in Canada and Belgium, using AFBI calorimeter chamber data;

 

Task 3. Knowledge transfer – using results obtained in this project to develop our own milk MIR technique suitable for use by NI dairy production industry to improve feeding efficiency and reduce methane emissions from dairy cows.

 

Milestones with proposed dates: (commencement, end of project etc.)

 

Milestone 1. Completion of collation of AFBI Hillsborough calorimeter data by the end of February 2016;

 

Milestone 2. Completion of evaluation of MIR results obtained in this Genome Canada project using our calorimeter chamber data by the end of December 2017;

 

Milestone 3. Knowledge transfer to NI dairy production industry and presentation in scientific conferences by the end of May 2018;