The effect of varying levels of coconut oil on intake, digestibility and methane output from continental cross beef heifers Academic Article uri icon


  • This experiment sought to establish the response to increasing levels of coconut oil (CO) supplementation with a fixed 050:050 forage:concentrate diet on intake, digestibility and methane (CH4) emissions. Sixteen continental cross beef heifers (mean starting weight 48136 kg) were assigned randomly to one of four levels of CO; 0 g/day, 125 g/day, 250 g/day or 375 g/day in an incomplete (three periods) multiple (no. =4) Latin-square design experiment (no. =12 per treatment). A linear reduction in CH4 output occurred as the level of CO in the diet increased ( P<0001) with the greatest reduction at the 375 g/day level (394, 341, 314 and 240 l/day for animals fed 0, 125, 250 and 375 g/day CO, respectively). As the level of CO increased dry-matter (DM) intake (DMI) decreased, however these differences were only statistically significant at the 375 g/day level ( P <0001). The proportional reduction in CH4 output was greater than the proportional reduction in DMI and hence CH4 l/kg DMI decreased from 398 l/kg when no CO was given to 297 l/kg when 375 g/day CO was given. The addition of CO to the diet resulted in a significant decline in dry-matter digestibility (DMD) at the 375 g/day level (P<005). These data demonstrate that the inclusion of CO at levels from 0013 to 0045 of the dietary DM within a 050:050 silage and concentrate ration reduces CH4 production with no adverse effect on DMI or DMD up to the 250 g/day level (0027 of dietary DM).

published proceedings

  • Animal Science

author list (cited authors)

  • Jordan, E., Lovett, D. K., Hawkins, M., Callan, J. J., & O'Mara, F. P.

citation count

  • 35

publication date

  • January 2006