Feeding Management Strategies to Mitigate Methane and Improve Production Efficiency in Feedlot Cattle


Mitigation of greenhouse gases and decreasing nutrient excretion have become increasingly important goals for the beef cattle industry. Because feed intake is a major driver of enteric CH4 production and nutrient excretion, feeding management systems could be important mitigation tools. Programmed feeding uses net energy equations to determine the feed required to yield a specific rate of gain, whereas restricted feeding typically involves decreasing intake relative to the expected or observed ad libitum intake. In the context of growing/finishing systems typical of those in the United States and Western Canada, experimental results with programmed and restricted feeding have often shown decreased overall feed intake and increased gain efficiency relative to ad libitum feeding, but too much restriction can negatively affect harvest weight and associated carcass quality. Slick feed bunk management is a time-based restriction that limits day-to-day variation in feed deliveries, but the effects on intake and performance are not well defined. Simulations to estimate enteric CH4 emission and nitrogen excretion indicated that programmed feeding of a high-grain diet could appreciably decrease CH4 emissions and nitrogen excretion compared with traditional growing programs based on high-forage diets. For feedlot finishing, programming gain for a portion of the feeding period will decrease CH4 emission and N excretion only if cattle perform better than expected during the programmed phase or if compensatory growth occurs when cattle are transitioned to ad libitum feeding. Optimal approaches to implement programmed or restricted feeding that will yield increased efficiency should be the subject of future research in this area.


© 2023 by the authors. cc-by


beef cattle, feeding management systems, methane prediction


Galyean, M.L., & Hales, K.E.. 2023. Feeding Management Strategies to Mitigate Methane and Improve Production Efficiency in Feedlot Cattle. Animals, 13(4). https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13040758