News last update:6 Aug 2012

Defra aims at cutting methane emissions

A new £750,000 (approx. €1.1 million) project from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is aimed at finding better cow types or high-sugar grass varieties that lead to lower emissions of greenhouse gases, mostly methane.

According to a Defra spokesman, these emissions from livestock accounted for about 7% of the total greenhouse gas emissions for the UK and double that worldwide. Cars are reckoned to account for about 6%.

The Defra strategy will also be focusing on the development of anaerobic digesters to deal with cattle slurry, and produce useable energy, a technology that has developed rapidly in Germany with the aid of substantial subsidies.

Better use of feed
A 20-25% reduction in methane produced by cows would be possible simply by bringing in more efficient feeding regimes, according to Keenan, from an Irish animal feed-machine manufacturing firm that is one of the likely candidates to carry out the project.
Unveiling the results of Keenan's latest farm research at Harper Adams University College in Shropshire, David Beever, the company's international nutrition director, said: "What we are offering is a better use of feed, like a better burn of fuel in cars. "This means that more carbon, which is really energy, goes into the product while less goes to waste."

Which company will carry out the project will be announced soon by Defra.

Related links:
Harper Adams University College

Related article:
Plant extracts for sustainable livestock production

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