Effects of Different Feeding Systems on Ruminal Fermentation, Digestibility, Methane Emissions, and Microbiota of Hanwoo Steers
This study evaluates how different feeding systems impact ruminal fermentation, methane production, and microbiota of Hanwoo steers native to Korea. In a replicated 2 × 2 crossover design over 29 days per period, eight Hanwoo steers (507.1 ± 67.4 kg) were fed twice daily using a separate feeding (SF) system comprising separate concentrate mix and forage or total mixed rations (TMR) in a 15:85 ratio. The TMR-feeding group exhibited a considerable neutral detergent fiber digestibility increase than the SF group. However, ruminal fermentation parameters and methane production did not differ between two feeding strategies. In addition, TMR-fed steers expressed elevated Prevotellaceae family, Christensenellaceae R-7 group, and an unidentified Veillonellaceae family genus abundance in their rumen, whereas SF-fed steers were rich in the Rikenellaceae RC9 gut group, Erysipelotrichaceae UCG-004, and <italic>Succinivibrio</italic>. Through linear regression modeling, positive correlations were observed between the Shannon Diversity Index and the SF group’s dry matter intake and methane production. Although feeding systems do not affect methane production, they can alter ruminal microbes. These results may guide future feeding system investigations or ruminal microbiota manipulations as a methane-mitigation practice examining different feed ingredients.