July 2023


The aim of this trial was to determine the effect of a garlic and citrus extract supplement (GCE) on the performance, rumen fermentation, methane emissions, and rumen microbiome of dairy cows. Fourteen multiparous Nordic Red cows in mid-lactation from the research herd of Luke (Jokioinen, Finland) were allocated to 7 blocks in a complete randomized block design based on body weight, days in milk, dry matter intake (DMI), and milk yield. Animals within each block were randomly allocated to a diet with or without GCE. The experimental period for each block of cows (one for each of the control and GCE groups) consisted of 14 d of adaptation followed by 4 d of methane measurements inside the open circuit respiration chambers, with the first day being considered as acclimatization. Data were analyzed using the GLM procedure of SAS (SAS Institute Inc.). Methane production (g/d) and methane intensity (g/kg of energy-corrected milk) were lower by 10.3 and 11.7%, respectively, and methane yield (g/kg of DMI) tended to be lower by 9.7% in cows fed GCE compared with the control. Dry matter intake, milk production, and milk composition were similar between treatments. Rumen pH and total volatile fatty acid concentrations in rumen fluid were similar, whereas GCE tended to increase molar propionate concentration and decrease the molar ratio of acetate to propionate. Supplementation with GCE resulted in greater abundance of Succinivibrionaceae, which was associated with reduced methane. The relative abundance of the strict anaerobic Methanobrevibacter genus was reduced by GCE. The change in microbial community and rumen propionate proportion may explain the decrease in enteric methane emissions. In conclusion, feeding GCE to dairy cows for 18 d modified rumen fermentation and microbiota, leading to reduced methane production and intensity without compromising DMI or milk production in dairy cows. This could be an effective strategy for enteric methane mitigation of dairy cows.

Ruchita Khurana, Tassilo Brand, Ilma Tapio, Ali-Reza Bayat