Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Low Emissions Cow - less Methane = better productivity

This is the link to a recent article in Devex, with a focus on work now commencing with a degree of urgency to find and breed from low emissions cows, especially in the developing world.

While some progress has been made in a number of countries incl NZ and Australia, the search is on for easy to use techniques to identify the genetics behind lower emissions in livestock.

Feed is also a critical issue with higher proportions of legume feed in the diet reducing methane emissons.  Development of tropical pastures had focussed on introducing legumes into the pasture planted and consumed by stock, but often maintaining the legumes is a problem, with grass often coming to dominate the pasture.  

A way forward can include growing and feeding fodder legume trees and shrubs with leucaena often a prime choice, although it cannot be grown everywhere.  Interestingly, more legume in the diet, can both reduce emissions and improve animal productivity due to higher protein in the legume feed consumed.  Or having a fodder legume in the herbaceous feed grown in the paddock.

This is one option, yet the real big need is to select naturally lower emitting animals.  Could it be these are naturally selecting better feed with higher legume composition confounding actual low emissions due to genetics?

This article fails to discuss feed composition as a major factor in managing emissions.

Consuming more livestock protein is a developing trend and is unlikely to change........there is a real need to ensure that protein is grown with lower emission livestock.  And remember that higher productivity reduces the influence of emissions per unit of food available / produced, whether milk or meat.

1 comment:

Olive said...

Agree with you. consuming more livestock protein is the trend.