Murciano-granadina goat performance and methane emission after replacing barley grain with fibrous by-products
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The aim of this experiment was to study the effects of substituting dietary barley grain with orange pulp or soybean hulls on energy, nitrogen and carbon balance, methane emission and milk performance in dairy goats. Twelve Murciano-Granadina dairy goats in midlactation were selected and divided into three groups based on similar body weight (42.1 ± 1.2 kg) and milk yield (2.16 ± 0.060 kg/goat/day). The experiment was conducted in an incomplete crossover design where one group of four goats was fed a mixed ration of barley grain (BRL), another group of four goats replaced barley grain with orange pulp (OP) and the last group of four goats with soybean hulls (SH). After adaptation to diets, the goats were allocated to individual metabolism cages and intake, faeces, urine and milk were recorded and analysed. Then, gas exchange measurements were recorded by a mobile open-circuit indirect calorimetry system using a head box. Dry matter intake was similar for all three groups (2.03 kg/d, on average). No influence of the diet was observed for energy balance and the efficiency of use of metabolizable energy for milk production was 0.61. The OP and SH diets showed greater (P < 0.05) fat mobilization (-42.8 kJ/kg of BW0.75, on average) than BRL (19.2 kJ/kg of BW0.75). Pentadecanoic acid (15:0) and heptadecanoic acid (17:0) were potential biomarkers of rumen function because the higher contents found in the milk of OP and SH goats than BRL suggest a negative impact of these diets on rumen bacterial metabolism; probably linked to the lower nitrogen supply of diet OP to synthesize microbial protein and greater content of fat in diet SH. Replacement of cereal grain with fibrous by-products did not increased enteric methane emissions (54.7 L/goat per day, on average). Therefore, lactating goats could utilize dry orange pulp and soybean hulls diets with no detrimental effect on milk performance.