Contribution of barley in the bovine methane production in feedlots: What is considered to be true and what is a myth?

Cristina Castillo, Ángel Abuelo, Joaquín Hernández

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The world population of ruminants contributes approximately 12-15% of the total atmospheric methane emission (Moss et al., 1995, 2000). Methane is one of the most important greenhouse gases, second position going to carbon dioxide in its contribution to global warming, and is considered to be one of the eminent greenhouse gases needing to be controlled. However, barley grain is one of the energetically more efficient materials in producing feedlots. It is well-known that barley-based diets have resulted in the carcasses with firmer, and with whiter fat than the carcasses of animal fed with corn-based diets, although theses diets give a higher risk of ruminal disturbances compared to those with other cereals (Castillo et al., 2012). It is clear that we are facing two opposite aspects: the economic benefits required in intensive farms and its balance to the environmental effect. Studies on barley based diets about the production of methane came from several decades ago. One of the first reports (Moe and Tyrrell, 1979) concluded that the methane production by adult cattle could be predicted adequately from dry matter or totally digestible carbohydrate, and other recent studies (Murray et al., 2007) focus on grazing ruminants, considering interactions between soil, plants and animals.The main purpose of our study is to focus on barley and its connection with methane emission in feedlots; for the purpose of reviewing our experience in relation to the effect of barley on animal health and the results of animal performance, which will influence the feedlots on the emission of green-house gases that were mentioned previously, and finally we will present alternative methods to control or minimize emission of methane.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBarley
Subtitle of host publicationPhysical properties, genetic factors and environmental impacts on growth
EditorsKohji Hasunuma
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Number of pages44
ISBN (Electronic)9781629489070
ISBN (Print)9781629489049
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2014

Publication series

NameAgricultural research updates
PublisherNova Science


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