May 8, 2009

Scientists work to reduce cow gas

Methane from cattle can be reduced by as much as 25 percent by balancing starch, cellulose, fat and other elements of feed, scientists in Canada said.

Cattle account for 72 percent of Canada's methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that threatens the environment, said Stephen Moore, a professor of agricultural and nutritional science at the University of Alberta.

Moore and his research team have developed a formula to cut methane from cattle by balancing elements found in their feed, including ash, fat and sugar, a release issued by the university Friday said.

That's good news for the environment, Moore said. By identifying factors such as diet or genetics that can reduce emissions, we hope to give beef farmers a way to lessen the environmental footprint of their cattle production.

The study was conducted with the universities of Guelph and Manitoba, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Austria.