Daffodils could be the key to cutting livestock methane by 30%

Feeding daffodil extract to cows could be the key in reducing methane production in the ongoing hunt for more sustainable livestock farming, according to new research.

Half of the methane emissions produced in the UK come from cows, according to BBC’s Countryfile – while they account for 14% or all emissions worldwide, making them a significant contributor to climate change.

Researchers at Scotland’s Rural College found that adding an extract from daffodils to livestock feed reduced methane in artificial cow stomachs by 96%. A four-year programme of trials is now beginning at farms around the UK.

It is believed that trialling the extract in real cows could reduce methane emissions by at least 30%.

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Farming union NFU Cymru deputy president Abi Reader said that livestock farmers are “definitely up for looking for different alternatives for reducing methane emissions.”

“We need to make sure it’s safe for them to eat, we need to make sure it’s economical and we need to make sure what it is going to do and reduce that methane,” she added.

Professor Jamie Newbold, professor of animal science at Scotland’s Rural College said the project has “three main stages”.

“First developing a supply chain of daffodils and extracting the chemicals,” he explained.

“Secondly, testing that the additive is safe to both animals and humans, and finally, working with our farmer partners across England and Wales to prove the additive is effective in reducing methane production and feed costs for dairy cattle.

“This is vital because greenhouse gases and global warming is a major global challenge, and we hope our project will be part of the solution of reducing the role of ruminants in methane production.”

Food and farmingNature and the environmentNews

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