Predicting metabolizable energy from digestible energy for growing and finishing beef cattle and relationships to the prediction of methane. Academic Article uri icon


  • Reliable predictions of metabolizable energy (ME) from digestible energy (DE) are necessary to prescribe nutrient requirements of beef cattle accurately. A previously developed database that included 87 treatment means from 23 respiration calorimetry studies has been updated to evaluate the efficiency of converting DE to ME by adding 47 treatment means from 11 additional studies. Diets were fed to growing-finishing cattle under individual feeding conditions. A citation-adjusted linear regression equation was developed where dietary ME concentration (Mcal/kg of dry matter [DM]) was the dependent variable and dietary DE concentration (Mcal/kg) was the independent variable: ME = 1.0001 DE - 0.3926; r2 = 0.99, root mean square prediction error [RMSPE] = 0.04, and P < 0.01 for the intercept and slope. The slope did not differ from unity (95% CI = 0.936 to 1.065); therefore, the intercept (95% CI = -0.567 to -0.218) defines the value of ME predicted from DE. For practical use, we recommend ME = DE - 0.39. Based on the relationship between DE and ME, we calculated the citation-adjusted loss of methane, which yielded a value of 0.2433 Mcal/kg of dry matter intake (DMI; SE = 0.0134). This value was also adjusted for the effects of DMI above maintenance, yielding a citation-adjusted relationship: CH4, Mcal/kg = 0.3344 - 0.05639 multiple of maintenance; r2 = 0.536, RMSPE = 0.0245, and P < 0.01 for the intercept and slope. Both the 0.2433 value and the result of the intake-adjusted equation can be multiplied by DMI to yield an estimate of methane production. These two approaches were evaluated using a second, independent database comprising 129 data points from 29 published studies. Four equations in the literature that used DMI or intake energy to predict methane production also were evaluated with the second database. The mean bias was substantially greater for the two new equations, but slope bias was substantially less than noted for the other DMI-based equations. Our results suggest that ME for growing and finishing cattle can be predicted from DE across a wide range of diets, cattle types, and intake levels by simply subtracting a constant from DE. Mean bias associated with our two new methane emission equations suggests that further research is needed to determine whether coefficients to predict methane from DMI could be developed for specific diet types, levels of DMI relative to body weight, or other variables that affect the emission of methane.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Hales, K. E., Coppin, C. A., Smith, Z. K., McDaniel, Z. S., Tedeschi, L. O., Cole, N. A., & Galyean, M. L.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Hales, Kristin E||Coppin, Carley A||Smith, Zachary K||McDaniel, Zach S||Tedeschi, Luis O||Cole, N Andy||Galyean, Michael L

publication date

  • March 2022