New diet for cows could cut emissions - report

2011-04-02 10:03

London - New diets for cows and sheep could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, research funded by the British government's department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) shows.

Feeding the animals maize silage, naked oats and higher sugar grasses could reduce the amount of methane they produce, the study by Reading University and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences showed.

Agriculture accounts for about 9% of all British greenhouse gas emissions. Most of this comes from sheep, cows and goats.

Farming accounts for 41% of Britain's overall methane emissions, which are harmful to the environment.

A trial showed that high-sugar grasses could reduce an animal's methane emissions by 20% for every kilogramme of weight gain and naked oats could reduce methane emissions from sheep by 33%.

"In the longer term the benefits gained by changing animals' diets will need to be considered against other environmental impacts as well as how practical or costly they are for the farming industry to implement," Defra said in a statement.

  • Vaal Donkie - 2011-04-02 13:18

    I wonder if, 200 years from now, our descendents will laugh at our obsession with cow farts.

  • Zion - 2011-04-02 14:13

    This is going to cost the farmer more than just his farm: Oats, maize silage and high sugar grass must be planted to feed the stock. When calculated to feed the stock for a year a huge amount of these new fangled dietry elements will be required. The farmer may have to plant it himself which eventually will reach a point where it is cheaper to shoot the stock and produce for another farmer.

  • horst.o.muller - 2011-04-02 16:24

    And what about people farting? That surely also contributes to the greenhouse gas. So stop eating beans and cabbage, otherwise we are doomed.

  • RAYSEMBE - 2011-04-02 21:36

    So this means over population is also a contributing factor,guys birth control is needed seriously

  • Peter - 2011-04-03 07:11

    The manufacturing industry (especially modern jet air travel) contributes more to the green-house effect than all the private households and farms put together.

  • pages:
  • 1