A trial at the Dairy Campus from Wageningen Livestock Research in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, has successfully demonstrated that a novel feed additive, developed by Royal DSM, can be included in dairy cow diets to significantly reduce methane emissions.
The emission reductions vary from 27 up to 40 percent of methane per cow, depending on the diets and the amount of methane inhibitor in the feed. Methane emission from ruminants represents a significant portion of anthropogenic greenhouse gases and contributes to climate change.
The trial with the methane inhibitor Bovaer was designed and executed by a consortium from across the Dutch Dairy Chain, comprising of DSM, Wageningen University & Research, FrieslandCampina, Royal Agrifirm Group, De Heus Animal Nutrition and ForFarmers. It ran for three months at the Livestock Wageningen Research at the Dairy Campus in Leeuwarden. The Dairy Campus is an experimental dairy farm, part of Wageningen Livestock Research. The trial was supervised by a team of cattle nutrition experts for the Wageningen University & Research and supported by the Dairy Campus Innovation Fund.
The trial was designed to deliver methane reduction results for three different ratios of grass silage and maize silage in dietary roughage, typical for Dutch circumstance in different regions, with two different dosages of Bovaer. Sixty-four Holstein-Friesian cows in mid-lactation were enrolled in the study to investigate the effect of supplementation of the methane inhibitor with the different diets. The information from the trial is necessary to substantiate accreditation of Bovaer by the Carbon Footprint Monitor/Climate Module of the Dutch Kringloopwijzer (the Annual Nutrient Cycling Assessment) but is applicableacross Europe.
Methane was reduced by 27 percent when a low dose of Bovaer (60 mg/kg Dry Matter (DM)) was supplemented to a diet without maize silage in the roughage up to 35 percent when a low dose of Bovaer was supplemented to a diet containing 80% maize silage in roughage dry matter. With a medium dose of Bovaer (80 mg/kg DM), this percentage ranged from 29 to 40 percent.
The results provide farmers with insights on the effects of applying Bovaer. Furthermore, they enable governments and inventory organizations to adequately account for enteric methane reductions and they can be used to help reward and recognize every individual farmer for their sustainability contributions.
Bovaer is a feed additive for cows and other cattle and ruminants, such as sheep and, goat, researched and developed over 10 years by DSM. Just a quarter teaspoon of Bovaer per cow per day reduces enteric methane emission by approximately 30 percent. The feed additive Bovaer therefore contributes to a significant and immediate reduction of the environmental footprint of meat, milk and dairy products.
DSM has filed the novel feed ingredient for commercial registration under the trade name Bovaer in various geographies. DSM is working with partners from the dairy and beef value chain across the globe to prepare for market introduction. The activities include joint trials to confirm effectiveness in local business systems, co-development of low-carbon dairy products, and establishment of business models.