The use of rapeseed cake in the production of livestock feed cuts methane and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 13%, according to the initial results of the research carried out by Neiker-Tecnalia within the framework of the Life-Seed Capital project. Specifically, the incorporation of this oilseed plant into animal food cuts methane emissions by between 6% and 13% and carbon dioxide emissions by between 6.8% and 13.6%.
The introduction of this oilseed preparation into the diet of ruminants also improves efficiency in the use of digestible organic matter by between 4.4% and 10.1% and cuts the fermentation of the diet by between 6.2% and 11.8%, without adversely affecting its digestibility for this reason. Rapeseed cake, also known as 'oil cake', is a by-product obtained after pressing the plant to extract its oil.
The Life-Seed Capital project is being funded by the European Union through its Life+ programme and is being led by the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, Neiker-Tecnalia, and by the Multidisciplinary Centre for Industry Technologies CEMITEC. The project seeks to take advantage of rapeseed crops to improve agricultural productivity and, at the same time, to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The advantages of using this plant start from its use as a rotation crop, because it is capable of increasing cereal productivity and improving soil structure. Once it has been harvested, rapeseed can be used as a biofuel and added to diesel in varying proportions after simple cold pressing. A waste product in this process is used at the same time to produce animal feed with the resulting cost-cutting for farmers and greater efficiency in the emission of greenhouse gases.
A million-euro budget
The Neiker-Tecnalia project has been selected for the European LIFE+ programme from among over 1,150 initiatives received in the 2012 call. It has a budget of €1,024,000 of which €512,000 comes from the European Union and the rest from the Government of the Basque Autonomous Community and CEMITEC, which is acting as Neiker-Tecnalia's partner in the project.
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