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Japan's Low Methane Emission Cattle

12 March 2008

JAPAN - Japanese scientists claim to have developed a new solution to prevent cows from releasing environmentally damaging methane into the atmosphere.

They believe they can curb the amount of methane produced by cows; all 1.5bn or so of them around the world. This is more sensible as it seems as recent studies have shown that cows produce 5pc of all greenhouse gas emissions.

That's because in breaking down plant fibres they produce enormous quantities of gas, mostly methane, as bacteria process the food in their stomachs. Methane captures about 22 times more atmospheric heat than carbon dioxide.

According to a story from The Independent, a group of Japanese experts fell across what they believe is the solution purely by accident.

Only I don't think any of them was raised on a farm. That's because their 'solution' would involve feeding cows special additives, costing around 75c a day.

That's an extra cost - probably not a major management problem with dairy herds, but what about sucklers, etc?

The formula was discovered, it appears, by accident during an investigation of mass cattle poisoning.

  • View the The Independent story by clicking here.
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