Characterizing and Quantifying a Flaxseed Product in Reducing Methane Emissions

Field Testing

RESEARCHER: Ermias Kebreab, UC Davis

TIMELINE: 1 Year, January – December 2023

BACKGROUND: Flaxseed is one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids and is also rich in lignans. It is also a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. A recent study at Penn State University has shown that a flaxseed-based product increased energy density in the diet and reduced negative energy balance, increasing fertility and milk production of dairy cows.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the potential of a flaxseed-based product to reduce methane emissions and positive modulation of the gut microbiota with potential benefits for human health through higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in milk. Milk production, milk quality (including fatty acid profile), feed intake and methane emissions will be measured.

INDUSTRY BENEFIT: Use of flaxseed in dairy diets could benefit California dairy in two ways: 1) reducing methane emission could help in meeting the 40% reduction mandated by the state and, 2) changes in milk omega-3 fatty acid composition in milk may benefit human health.