09.04.2020

Feed innovations to reduce methane emissions in dairy

Juhani Vuorenmaa, R&D Director

The Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) has announced a new research project to find novel means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy production by feeding strategies. The project involves also private companies – Arla Finland, a Swiss agritech company Mootral SA, and Hankkija.

Among the solutions to be tested are Hankkija’s feed innovations Progut® and Progres®. “Enhancement of the sustainability of animal production is one of the development targets for Hankkija’s feeds. We hope to get new means to fulfill this target from the ongoing project”, says Juhani Vuorenmaa.

Milk production is a very important part of Finnish agriculture. Although greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from dairy comprise less than 4% of Finnish GHG emissions, researchers still strive to cut this number. Using innovative feeding solutions might be a way to reduce 80% of total Finnish GHG emissions by 2050, in accordance with EU’s long-term climate measures.

The project is ongoing in Luke’s experimental barn in Jokioinen, where 8 cows in mid-lactation participate in an experiment testing three different feed additives composed of natural ingredients, with beneficial effects either on performance, enteric methane, gut health or milk quality. Methane production is measured in respiratory chambers, and the feed intake, milk production and composition, metabolism and health of the cows are monitored.

Luke has studied nutritional approaches on mitigation of enteric methane emissions since 2009 and has been collaborating with national and international partners to improve the sustainability of dairy production. The new project will evaluate the effects of different feeding strategies on reducing methane emissions of high producing dairy cows without compromising (or even improving) their performance and product quality in collaboration with Mootral SA, Hankkija and Arla Finland.