Farms, Farming and Food

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Cutting cattle methane emissions

  • May
  • 11

10:11 am agriculture

Researchers from the University of Alberta, the Guelph University and the University of Manitoba have found a way to cut cattle methane by up to 25 percent.

Feed is key

By adjusting feed’s chemical balance, researchers were able to greatly reduce methane production in cattle. Specifically they examined the balance of starch, sugar, cellulose, ash, fat and “other elements”.

Other factors at play

The research team as well as other researchers around the world have also examined other solutions for reducing the methane production of dairy cows and cattle including using genetics to selectively breed lower methane producing cattle and introducing specially formulated additives including enzymes or fish oil in feed to reduce the production of methane. Other factors which impact the total methane production include the productivity of the dairy cows (ie: more milk produced per cows means less cows needed).

Less methane good for environment

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas being 20 times more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Luckily, methane emissions are at much lower volume than carbon dioxide but even the Kyoto protocol which seeks to control greenhouse gas emissions attempts to regulate the amount of methane being produced in each country.

It has been shown that approximately 16% of methane emissions are due to cattle belch while the entire livestock sector (including chickens, pigs and cattle) produce 37% of human induced methane emissions.

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