08 Sep 2022

Rapeseed cake: A dietary strategy to reduce methane emissions in dairy cattle

The supplementation of rapeseed cake in dairy cow diets represents a viable alternative for reducing enteric methane emissions while maintaining milk yield and quality.

Rapeseed cake: A dietary strategy to reduce methane emissions in dairy cattle

Rapeseed cake supplementation represents a potential dietary strategy to reduce methane emissions in dairy cattle.

Finding alternative to meet the nutritional needs of the world’s growing population while reducing the environmental impacts associated with mass food production represents a big challenge.

Ruminants play a significant role in food systems due to their ability to convert feedstuffs that are unsuitable for human consumption into high-quality protein (milk and meat). However, cattle production and its high methane (CH4) emissions are a big culprit for global climate change.

Methane also represents an estimated loss of 6.0 ± 1.18% of energy intake in dairy cows (Niu et al., 2018).

agriCalendar Nutri int magazine

Although CH4 is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, it has a shorter half-life than CO2, which makes it an attractive target to instate faster global warming mitigation efforts.

High-digestible silages

Current approaches to sustainable ruminant production seek to optimize animal feeding as well as establishing efficient management practices. Various nutritional and management strategies have been reported to be effective in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions associated with ruminant production (Knapp et al., 2014; Beauchemin et al., 2020). Amongst which lipid supplementation is one of the most promising tools used to reduce CH4 production (Beauchemin et al., 2009; Bayat et al., 2018). while increasing feed efficiency (NRC, 2001) and the proportion of nutritionally desirable milk fatty acids (FA; Kliem and Shingfield, 2016; Kliem et al., 2019).

Subscribe Now!
Nutri int magazine

Rapeseed cake

Increasing attention has been given to the potential of chemical additives, such as3-nitrooxypropanol and nitrate, or plant extracts. However, many of these strategies are not feasible solutions in practice, due to availability, transient effects, or high implementation costs.

The replacement of rapeseed meal with rapeseed cake has been shown to reduce CH4 emissions, improves milk FA composition, and also may increase milk yield by providing additional oil to the diet. For such purpose researchers set a group of researchers set out to evaluate the potential benefits of fully replacing rapeseed meal with high-oil rapeseed cake. Assessing its effects on:  nutrient utilisation, enteric methane emissions, and milk production in dairy cattle.They hypothesized that the inclusion of high-oil rapeseed cake and that of dietary natural additives could reduce enteric methane emissions without impacting animal performance and nutrient utilization.

Rapeseed cake

Materials and Methods

The experiment was conducted under regional State Administrative Agency approval (Hämeenlinnan, Finland; ESAVI/34265/2019).

Rapeseed cake

The study was carried out with 8 multiparous Nordic Red dairy cows were randomly assigned to treatment sequences in a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design.



Dietary treatments were formulated on yield at a 45:55 ratio of grass silage to concentrate. The composition of such treatments was:

  1.  Control, containing 19.3% rapeseed meal on DM basis (CON).
  2.  CON with full replacement of rapeseed meal with rapeseed cake (RSC; 19.3% DM).
  3. CON supplemented with 20 g/d of yeast hydrolysate product plus 30 g/d of resin acid-based compound.
  4. CON supplemented with 20 g/d of a combination of garlic-citrus extract and essential oils.




Rapeseed cake

Source: Abstract taken and modified from “Evaluating the effects of high-oil rapeseed cake or natural additives
on methane emissions and performance of dairy cows.”

Subscribe Now!
Nutri int magazine
Relacionado con Formulation
Nutri int magazine
Subscribe Now!


Subscribe now to the technical magazine of animal nutrition


Access to articles in PDF
Stay up to date with our newsletters
Receive the magazine for free in digital version

AgriFM - Los podcast del sector ganadero en español
agriCalendar - El calendario de eventos del mundo agroganaderoagriCalendar
agrinewsCampus - Cursos de formación para el sector de la ganadería