Effect of refined soy oil or whole soybeans on intake, methane output, and performance of young bulls.

Research paper by E E Jordan, D D Kenny, M M Hawkins, R R Malone, D K DK Lovett, F P FP O'Mara

Indexed on: 16 Aug '06Published on: 16 Aug '06Published in: Journal of animal science


An experiment was conducted to establish the effects of feeding refined soy oil (RSO) or whole soybeans (WSB) containing soy oil on DMI, animal performance, and enteric methane (CH4) emissions in young bulls. Thirty-six Charolais and Limousin cross-bred, young beef bulls (338 +/- 27 kg of BW, 218 +/- 17 d of age at the beginning of the experiment) were blocked by BW, age, and breed before being assigned in a randomized complete block design to 1 of 3 experimental treatments (n = 12). The experimental period lasted for 103 d, with enteric CH4 output recorded for 2 periods of 5 consecutive days on d 37 to 41 and d 79 to 83. The 3 dietary treatments consisted of a barley/soybean meal-based concentrate with 0 g/d of RSO; oil from WSB as 6% of DMI (WSB treatment); and oil from RSO as 6% of DMI (RSO treatment). Each diet had a 10:90 forage:concentrate ratio, using barley straw as the forage source. Diet affected DMI (P < or = 0.001) and GE intake (P < 0.05 during the CH4 measurement periods), with the WSB treatment producing the lowest values. The addition of WSB decreased ADG (P < 0.05) compared with the RSO treatment. The WSB treatment also decreased (P < 0.05) average daily carcass gain (ADCG). Both the RSO and WSB concentrates decreased (P < 0.05 to P < 0.001) daily enteric CH4 output when expressed in terms of liters per day, liters per kilogram of DMI, percentage of GE intake, liters per kilogram of ADG, and liters per kilogram of ADCG. Diet had no effect (P = 0.557) on ruminal protozoal numbers. The reductions in enteric CH4 were achieved at relatively high oil inclusion levels. Such oil levels have previously been reported to decrease DMI of high-forage diets, although no effect on DMI was noted with the low-forage diets fed in this experiment. This impact on DMI of high-forage diets may limit the range of diets for which this CH4 reduction strategy may be applicable. The inclusion level of WSB in the current experiment (27%) was beyond the palatability threshold of the bulls used and resulted in a marked decline in intake and performance. Therefore, WSB may have a role to play in ruminant diets, but only at a reduced inclusion rate.