Wisconsin Ag News Headlines
Cattle Industry Consortium Funds Research Aimed at Reducing Enteric Methane Emissions
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 09/18/2023

Today, the Greener Cattle Initiative (GCI), a multi-partner international consortium investing in research mitigating enteric methane, awarded additional grants to reduce enteric methane emissions from cattle. The grants aim to understand how mitigating methane emissions impacts cows’ biology, performance and health and if selective breeding can result in cows that produce less enteric methane.

Cows and other ruminant animals produce enteric methane as part of their natural digestive process. This methane is the single largest source of direct greenhouse gases in the beef and dairy sectors. As the global demand for animal products, such as milk and meat, is expected to increase by more than 60% in the coming decades, livestock production will need to expand as well, further increasing enteric methane emissions. Reducing these emissions is critical to slowing the effects of climate change while also helping the dairy and beef sectors meet their sustainability goals. However, more research is needed to determine how to safely, sustainably and productively reduce the amount of methane cows produce.

Microorganisms in the rumen, the large fermentation vat that serves as the first compartment of the ruminant stomach, use hydrogen and carbon dioxide to produce large volumes of methane. Dr. Roderick Mackie, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (University of Illinois), received $2,494,394 to lead an international research study on how diets and different additives affect hydrogen production and utilization in the rumen of both beef and dairy cattle and how these changes in hydrogen dynamics affect the amount of enteric methane produced. The University of Illinois is contributing additional funding for a total $3,221,254 investment.


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