Reducing Milk's Carbon Footprint Through Feeding Strategies


Greenhouse gas emissions related to milk production have also decreased when comparing 1944 to 2007, with a 43 percent drop in methane and a 56 percent drop in nitrous oxide per pound of milk.  The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has set forth industry initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of producing milk by 25 percent by 2020, largely focusing on methane emissions. Why should the dairy industry care about methane emissions from cattle?

Reducing methane emissions can be financially advantageous, as it can result in improved milk production and efficiency. Reducing carbon emissions by nutritional strategies should focus on feeding high-quality, digestible forages and other concentrates. This strategy reduces the carbon footprint by changing rumen fermentation patterns and how the rumen microbes extract energy from feed.

Dietary changes aimed at reducing methane emissions from cattle must be ones that do not negatively impact rumen fermentation, digestibility or milk production. Consult with your nutritionist to decide what are the right feed addtives for your herd. To read the full article on the number of compounds that have been found to reduce methane, click here.

Tags: Feeding Strategies