Stonyfield Farm says it has found a way to cut down on methane emissions from cows and improve the nutrient content of milk to boot.
“By changing the feed we give our cows, we can simultaneously reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and improve milk's nutritional content in a way that may help reduce cardiovascular disease and obesity,” Gary Hirshberg, company president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
The Stonyfield Greener Cow pilot program (with 15 Vermont Organic Valley Farms) works by feeding cows a diet high in natural omega-3 sources, such as alfalfa, flax and grasses. This results in an increase in the milk's omega-3 content and decrease in the levels of saturated fats. Through intensive, ongoing analysis of the feed and the cow's milk, the pilot program re-balances the cow's rumen. This results in a reduction of the waste by-product methane, a greenhouse gas, which the cows emit primarily through burping. Cows in the program have reportedly reduced methane emissions via burping by as much as 18 percent, with an average reduction of 12 percent.
It is positive news as society focuses more on global-warming and possible solutions. This past Sunday on the Fox & Friends TV show, a guest known as “Bill Nye the Science Guy” mentioned omega-3s as a way to cut down on cow emissions. And, recently, a group of Irish researchers found that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can cut down on emissions from beef cows.
Read a recent item in Dairy Herd Management’s Nutritionist e-Network titled, "Fish oil reduces methane emissions."
Source: Cattle Network and Nutritionist e-Network