Cow + Feed=Lots Of Gas


Cows are considered the largest producer of methane globally, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has reports stating "The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in [carbon dioxide] equivalent."

Reduction of methane produced by cows has long been thought to be a key green house gas reduction activity. Recently, Wageningen University researcher Van Zijderveld discovered that nitrate and sulphate additives in feed help reduce methane production in cow stomachs.

If their feed contains a small percentage of these substances the amount of this powerful greenhouse gas produced by sheep is halved, research by Sander van Zijderveld has shown.

While the research is in its early stages, there is potential to reduce methane production 16 to 30 percent.

But however much methane is produced, it remains difficult for Provimi [animal feed producer] to launch these feed additives on the market. 'Nitrate and sulphate do not raise milk production, so adding them has no economic added value for the farmer', says Van Zijderveld.