Beer may give you gas, but the grains used to produce beer, when fed to cows, reduces methane output of by cows up to 20%.
Julie Gaglia from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said the Reducing Emissions from Livestock Research Program was part of the Australian Government’s Climate Change Research Program, which is aimed at making research outcomes useful and applicable to industry.
“The Australian Government is working with researchers, industry and farmers to ensure the science addresses the effects of a changing climate in a way that will help land managers improve their management practices and remain profitable and sustainable,” Ms Gaglia said.
Associate Professor Richard Eckard, Director, Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre at the University of Melbourne said the project aims to develop practical feeding strategies that dairy farmers can implement to curb methane emissions and maintain profitability.
“Methane is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. And each grazing dairy cow can burp up to 600 grams of the gas per day,” Associate Professor Eckard said.
The project has investigated several waste products that are high in oil including whole cottonseed meal, cold-pressed canola meal, brewers’ grains and hominy meal as feed additives for dairy herds.
“For every one per cent of oil added to a ruminant’s diet it translates to a three-and-a-half per cent reduction in methane emissions,” Associate Professor Eckard said.
“In the case of whole cottonseed, it not only significantly reduced methane emissions but also increased milk production by 16 per cent, milk fat by 19 per cent and milk protein by 12 per cent.”
The results show that the most valuable time for the oil to be added is when pasture is limited in quantity and has a low nutritional value.