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Forage grass growth under future climate change scenarios affects fermentation and ruminant efficiency

Hart, Elizabeth H., Christofides, Sarah R., Davies, Teri E., Rees Stevens, Pauline, Creevey, Christopher J., Muller, Carsten T. ORCID:, Rogers, Hilary J. ORCID: and Kingston-Smith, Alison H. 2022. Forage grass growth under future climate change scenarios affects fermentation and ruminant efficiency. Scientific Reports 12 , 4454. 10.1038/s41598-022-08309-7

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With an increasing human population access to ruminant products is an important factor in global food supply. While ruminants contribute to climate change, climate change could also affect ruminant production. Here we investigated how the plant response to climate change affects forage quality and subsequent rumen fermentation. Models of near future climate change (2050) predict increases in temperature, CO2, precipitation and altered weather systems which will produce stress responses in field crops. We hypothesised that pre-exposure to altered climate conditions causes compositional changes and also primes plant cells such that their post-ingestion metabolic response to the rumen is altered. This “stress memory” effect was investigated by screening ten forage grass varieties in five differing climate scenarios, including current climate (2020), future climate (2050), or future climate plus flooding, drought or heat shock. While varietal differences in fermentation were detected in terms of gas production, there was little effect of elevated temperature or CO2 compared with controls (2020). All varieties consistently showed decreased digestibility linked to decreased methane production as a result of drought or an acute flood treatment. These results indicate that efforts to breed future forage varieties should target tolerance of acute stress rather than long term climate.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Additional Information: Correction to: Scientifc Reports, published online 15 March 2022 This Article contained errors in Table 1, where the “Type” values of the “Forage grass” were incorrect for “AberDart”, “AberEcho” and “AberGlyn”, “AberNiche”, “AberRoot”, “Barolex” and “Davinci”. The correct and incorrect values appear at
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 2045-2322
Related URLs:
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 May 2022
Date of Acceptance: 21 February 2022
Last Modified: 23 May 2023 23:04

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