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Methane research funded

Research projects aimed at helping producers reduce enteric methane emissions from cattle will be awarded $5 million through the next five years. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy will award the funding through the Greener Cattle Initiative.

Methane is emitted on farms through two main sources – manure degradation and enteric fermentation. Enteric fermentation is part of the normal digestive process in ruminants, with methane emissions primarily resulting from animals belching or exhaling. 

“Although mitigation of enteric methane from ruminants is not a novel field of research, many challenges remain to identify, develop and validate effective mitigation options that will also meet farmer and broad socioeconomic needs,” said Juan Tricarico, vice president for sustainability research at the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

The Greener Cattle Initiative brings together stakeholders from the dairy and beef value chains to leverage investments in the research and development of practices and technologies that reduce enteric methane emissions. The initiative is informed by producers and animal-health, genetic, feed and nutrition research organizations and companies. The initiative supports research in the areas listed.

  • Feed additives and supplements that inhibit enteric methane emissions
  • Feed ingredients that alter metabolic pathways to reduce enteric methane emissions
  • Genetic selection of cattle that emit less methane
  • Increased understanding of microbiome composition and activity in cattle
  • Technologies such as sensors, robots and artificial intelligence to monitor enteric methane emissions or related physiological indicators
  • Socioeconomic analysis of enteric methane mitigation practices and technologies

Requests for proposals will be distributed globally to identify the most promising research that impacts commercial dairy and beef production. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research is matching industry contributions to as much as $2.5 million. The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is providing cash and program-management contributions valued at about $1.2 million.

Additional founding participants are Archer Daniels Midland, the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding, Elanco, Genus PLC, the National Dairy Herd Information Association, Nestlé and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre. In addition to supporting program development, each founding participant committed $200,000 in funding to the program.

This article originally ran on Content Exchange