Feed costs are the largest expense for producers and input costs continue to rise on the dairy farm. More feed efficient cows can produce more milk with fewer inputs, while also producing less methane and less manure. Selecting for cows with improved feed efficiency will benefit producers through more efficient production and reduced feed costs.
Selecting for reduced methane emissions will decrease the environmental footprint of the dairy industry. There is increased awareness of the role of agriculture in greenhouse gas emissions of which methane is a significant contributor.
Preliminary estimates show that breeding animals with increased feed efficiency and reduced methane emissions can reduce feed costs by $108/cow/year and decrease methane emissions by an estimated 11-26%!!
The benefit of selecting for these two traits for the Canadian dairy industry is estimated to be $108 million per year!