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Breeding Animals for Reduced Environmental Impact

With increasing concerns with Nitrogen leaching, Lincoln University students are evaluating solutions.

C.J. Marshall, M.R. Beck & P. Gregorini, Lincoln University

In this trial undertaken at Ashley Dene Research and Development Station, evaluation of the milk urea nitrogen parameter was selected as a measurement of urea concentration in milk and as a heritable trait.


  • Low MUN animals reduced urinary urea N
  • Low MUN animals increase nutrient use efficiency
  • There is an interaction between Diet and Milk Urea Nitrogen Breeding Value (MUNBV)

Results demonstrated:

  • Urinary N increases with MUN
  • As MUNBV increases, so does concentration of N in urine

The researchers were unsure as to the correlations presented, but hypothesised the results may be linked to improved efficiency of the rumen microbiome and / or differences in metabolic pathways.

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