Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Beef cattle could be bred to produce less methane

Cattle can be bred to emit less methane and reduce the contribution of beef production to climate change, said an Australian researcher who spent two years measuring cattle burps.

Worldwide, cattle are a major source of greenhouse gases, belching two gigatonnes each year. Grazing beef cattle are responsible for 6.4% of Australia’s overall greenhouse gas emissions – and methane, the main component of their gas, is 20 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Kath Donoghue and her team at the New South Wales Department of Primary Industry measured the emissions of 339 Angus cattle to find that the “lowest-emitting” bulls sired progeny that emitted an average of 24% less methane than the calves born to “highest-emitting” bulls.

Read the entire article online at COSMOS magazine.