DairyCast Industry

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.

US Milk Production Up Year Over Year

The USDA reports that milk production data on 23 selected states is up over last year, to 14.4 billion pounds from 13.9 billion pounds in 2009.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major states was 8.37 million head, 57,000 head more than November 2009, but unchanged from October 2010. Wisconsin was milking about 1.26 million head of dairy cattle during the month, with total production averaging 1,630 pounds per cow for the month--which was about the same as last year's average for November. The national per-cow average was up 41 pound at 1,722 pounds per animal.

Additional information and data from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Milk Production web page.

Global Food Prices Expected To Increase In 2011

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) food prices in 2011 are expected to increase.

In the latest edition of its Food Outlook report, the agency also issued a warning to the international community to prepare for harder times ahead unless production of major food crops increases significantly in 2011.

The report, at 119 pages, covers many aspects of global agriculture, with data on all the main agricultural products and statistics on key countries.

The increase in international prices of food commodities, all of which accruing in the second half of 2010, is boosting the overall food import bill in 2010 closer to the peak reached in 2008.

“Given the expectation of falling global inventories, the size of next year’s crops will be critical in setting the tone for stability in international markets,” FAO said. “For major cereals, production must expand substantially to meet utilization and to reconstitute world reserves, and farmers are likely to respond to the prevailing prices by expanding plantings.