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1 September 2011 Condensed Tannin in Drinking Water Reduces Greenhouse Gas Precursor Urea in Sheep and Cattle Urine
Scott L. Kronberg, Mark A. Liebig
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Abstract

Ingestion of small amounts of condensed tannin (CT) by ruminants may provide benefits including reduction of ammonia and nitrous oxide emissions by reducing urine urea excretion. However, providing grazing ruminants with sufficient amounts of CT-containing forages is difficult, and an alternative may be to provide CT in their drinking water. We conducted three trials to determine if urine urea levels in sheep and cattle decrease after they drink water containing CT. In two initial trials, blood serum urea was measured as a surrogate for urine urea when lambs or steers drank tap water containing low to higher amounts of quebracho tannin (QT). Serum urea concentration was measured after lambs drank the treatments for 7 d or steers for 4–6 d. Lambs consumed pellets (16% crude protein [CP] as fed) at 3.5% of body weight, and steers were fed cubes (15% CP as fed) at 3% of body weight. Mean serum urea concentration in sheep was reduced when they consumed water with QT (P  =  0.03) and was also reduced for cattle (P < 0.001). In a third trial with a Latin-square design, four wethers were fed pellets (22% CP, DM basis) and given tap water or tap water with low, medium, or high amounts of QT, and their urine urea excretion was measured. There was a linear effect of QT intake on daily urine urea excretion as a percentage of nitrogen intake (P  =  0.03). Reductions in daily urea excretion as a percentage of nitrogen intake were 3.5%, 6.6%, and 12.6%, respectively, for the low, medium, and high QT intake. Small amounts of QT in the drinking water of grazing ruminants can reduce their urine urea excretion.

Society for Range Management
Scott L. Kronberg and Mark A. Liebig "Condensed Tannin in Drinking Water Reduces Greenhouse Gas Precursor Urea in Sheep and Cattle Urine," Rangeland Ecology and Management 64(5), 543-547, (1 September 2011). https://doi.org/10.2111/REM-D-10-00165.1
Received: 29 October 2010; Accepted: 1 May 2011; Published: 1 September 2011
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KEYWORDS
ammonia
greenhouse gas reduction
nitrous oxide
ruminants
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