The agricultural sector is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Within this sector, livestock are the main source of emissions. In Australia, livestock emissions contributes 67% of all agricultural emissions and 13% of total national emissions (NGGI, 2000). There are currently few practical strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock without reducing stock numbers. The urgent need for development of emission abatement strategies for livestock has already been identified (Hegarty, 2001).
In recent years there has been interest in genetic improvement of the efficiency of feed utilisation by cattle, using residual feed intake (RFI). The existence of genetic variation in beef cattle for RFI has been confirmed in a review by Archer et al. (1999). The progeny of animals selected against RFI are expected to have reduced feed intake but similar performance to unselected progeny. This paper uses feed intake and production data from cattle divergently selected for residual feed intake (RFI) to examine the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by selection for reduced RFI.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 10, , 10.22, 2002
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