Enteric methane (CH4) emission is a major contributor to Canadian greenhouse gas emissions, and also a loss of feed energy during production. The objective of this paper is to provide an update on current management practices and new dietary strategies recently proposed to reduce CH4 emissions from ruminants. Existing mitigation strategies for dairy, e.g., the addition of ionophores, fats, use of high-quality forages, and increased use of grains, have been well researched and applied. These nutritional changes reduce CH4 emissions by manipulating ruminal fermentation, directly inhibiting methanogens and protozoa, or by diverting hydrogen ions away from methanogens. Current literature has identified new CH4 mitigation options. These include the addition of probiotics, acetogens, bacteriocins, archaeal viruses, organic acids, plant extracts (e.g., essential oils) to the diet, as well as immunization, and genetic selection of cows. These new strategies are promising, but more research is needed to validate these approaches and to assess in vivo their effectiveness in reducing CH4 production by dairy cows. It is also important to evaluate CH4 mitigation strategies in terms of the total greenhouse gas budget and to consider the cost associated with the various strategies. More basic understanding of the natural differences in digestion efficiencies among animals as well as a better knowledge of methanogens and their interaction with other organisms in the rumen would enable us to exploit the potential of some of the new CH4 mitigation strategies for dairy cattle production.
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