Cow of the Future
Examples of other activities that are on the agenda.
Cow of the future – USA
|Source : Innovation Center For US Dairy|
Objective: Accelerate identification and adoption of innovative practices and technologies for enteric methane reduction.
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has set a voluntary target of reducing enteric methane missions per kilogram of fluid milk from dairy cattle by 25% by 2020. Cow of the Future is one of 10 projects intended to help the dairy industry reach its goal. The Cow of the Future project is supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States indicates in its 2005 report, “Improving livestock productivity so that less methane is emitted per unit of product is the most promising and cost effective technique for reducing emissions in the U.S.” Implementation of existing technologies and management practices in the U.S. dairy industry along with continued genetic progress in milk yields is expected to result in 10 to 12% reductions of methane emissions per unit of milk over the next decade. To achieve the additional 13 to 15% reduction to reach the overall goal of 25% requires investment in research to identify and develop new strategies and technologies. Conservative estimates suggest that additional reductions of 15 to 30% can be achieved, dependent upon the development of new strategies and technologies and their adoption by the U.S. dairy industry (see Figure 1).
This research will also contribute to improvements in dairy profitability, as well as enhancing environmental stewardship and consumer acceptance of dairy products. This would be a win-win for the dairy industry, reducing methane emissions while improving net profits.
An update on U.S. Cow of the future is available on the following link.
The Path to Sustainable Development – A Strategy for Canadian Dairy Farmers
|Source : Dairy Farmers of Canada|
In July 2010, Canadian dairy farmers adopted a sustainable development strategy to solidify their commitment to ensure the environmental and economic sustainability of dairy farming in Canada.
While dairy farmers have long served as environmental stewards, this strategy will direct their efforts to further reduce the dairy farming carbon footprint in Canada. As a start, Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is partnering with government, academic institutions and the private sector to fund research on sustainable practices in dairy, including the launch of a lifecycle analysis of the dairy farm sector.
Dairy farmers’ vision for the strategy is:
“Working within the context of a strong supply management system, Canadian dairy farmers will strive to produce safe, nutritious food in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable way to the benefit of Canadian society."
Whole farm systems analysis of greenhouse gas emission abatement strategies for dairy farms - Australia
|Source : Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research, University of Tasmania|
- The interrelationship between climate change, global warming and greenhouse gas emissions is potentially on of the largest issues to face the dairy industry. There are a number of GHG abatement strategies currently available to the dairy industry and also a number of strategies that should be available in the near future.
- Education will hold the key to better inform farmers of ways that they can reduce their farm GHG emissions. Research needs to be maintained and continued into the future in areas where maximum results can be achieved, especially in better understanding and isolating the methanogens that produce methane in the rumen. Research also needs to continue to better formulate emission factors that are more location specific. Having national or state based emission factors does not account for differences in farm management practices, nor does it accurately quantify individual farm GHG emissions.
- Individual accounting of GHG emissions from dairy farms into a national accountability scheme by the adoption of a ‘one rule fits all. Scenario (such as a carbon tax per animal) will undoubtedly penalise high producing farm that have very little scope to reduce their current on-farm GHG emissions, while reducing the incentive to improve farm productivity for those farms that do.
- Abatement strategies aimed at reducing the intensity of GHG emission for dairy farm systems will not necessarily result in lowering total farm GHG emissions. If farmers are directly ‘charged’ according to their total farm GHG emissions, this could result in disadvantaging the industry by deterring farmers from expanding their businesses. In addition, a whole farm analysis of the implications of adopting strategies, not jut the GHG implications, but also aspects such as the financial and farm infrastructure implications are critical to the analysis.
Prepared by: Karen Christie, Dr Richard Rawnsley and Dr Danny Donaghy (Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research, University of Tasmania), August 2008
Climate Change Central: Canadian Dairy System
|Source : Innovation Center For US Dairy|
Efforts are being made in Alberta, Canada to take action against climate change. A non-profit organization called Climate Change Central has helped develop a provincial compliance-based carbon market, through which Albertans can take advantage of “carbon offset solutions” (http://www.climatechangecentral.com/). As part of this, protocols for GHG reduction are submitted to the Climate Change Policy Unit and are subjected to multiple rounds of reviews. If approved by Alberta Environment, they are incorporated into the Alberta Offset System as eligible project-types, which people can adopt for carbon trading purposes. The Atlantic Dairy and Forage Institute (ADFI) submitted a draft protocol “For the Certification of a Greenhouse Gas Protocol and Calculator for the Canadian Dairy Industry”, which is in the final stage before approval. This protocol quantifies scientifically-endorsed practices which can reduce CO2, CH4, and N2O from Canadian dairy farms, in units of “GHG emissions per unit of fat corrected milk (FCM) produced” (ADFI, 2009). Regardless of the carbon-trading aspect, this document represents scientist- and government-supported (almost) GHG reduction strategies. Since the Canadian dairy system is most similar to the U.S., practices recommended to them would be a good fit for our system.
‘Farming Futures’ – United Kingdom
|Source : National Farmers Union|
- Farming Futures is a communications collaboration between industry bodies, including the NFU, which aims to provide inspiration and information on how to prepare a farm business for the impacts, opportunities, risks and responsibilities posed by climate change.
- The information is available in the format of fact sheets, case studies, workshops and events.
- With a Farming Futures survey finding that over half the farmers in England believed their farms were already affected by climate change, the need for such a service is clear.
Projects in the national Reducing Emissions from Livestock Research Program - Australia
|Source : Livestock Research Program|
Many of these projects will develop knowledge that will assist with dairy methane mitigation.
Project Title: Metagenomic analyses of feed utilization and hydrogen balance in Australian livestock for lower methane emissions
Objective: To construct the metagenomic blueprint of the rumen microbiome in North Australian cattle and identify the enzymatic and (or) ecological step(s) central to hydrogen transactions
To use this knowledge of the structure and function of the rumen microbiome in northern cattle to formulate agonistic and antagonistic approaches to alter ruminal microbiology and redirect ruminal fermentation
Project Title: Archaeaphage Therapy to control Rumen Methanogens
Objective: To establish a collection of archaeal viruses that infect the spectrum of rumen methanogens known to be dominant in cattle and sheep on typical feed types through Australia, and establish “proof of concept” evidence that archaeaphage therapy has viable potential to reduce methane emissions from ruminal fermentation
Project Title: Rumen Microbial Profiling – A tool to investigate methane mitigation strategies
Objective: To develop and provide molecular techniques for use in collaborative research projects to evaluate feeding, breeding and management strategies to reduce methane production in ruminant systems.
Project Title: Novel strategies for enteric methane abatement
Objective: To determine the impact of defaunation on methane production and productivity of cattle, evaluate a suite of anti-protozoal chemicals for potential for commercial development for application to reduce methane production from livestock
To evaluate the dose response of methane production inhibition with dietary nitrate and make recommendations on delivery systems, acclimation, safe feeding levels and expected methane inhibition.
The cow of the future: Australian research
The Greenhouse in Agriculture program
- Research, develop and communicate cost-effective (win-win) options for the abatement of methane and nitrous oxide from dairy production
- Less methane, less urinary N excretion
Dietary Supplements to increase productivity and reduce methane in dairy cattle
- To provide the key ruminant livestock industries in SE Australia provided with quantified dietary supplement and forage options for the abatement of enteric methane, in preparation for an emissions constrained future, while maintaining profitable and viable production systems, and to provide government and industry with confidence in the measurement methods used to quantify enteric methane emissions from ruminants.
The potential of inhibitors for the mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions from animal production systems in south-eastern Australia
- To demonstrate and quantify the mitigation potential of inhibitors to reduce direct nitrous oxide emissions from urinary deposition.
- To define of the mitigation potential and timing of inhibitor applications required to optimise efficacy.
- To define of the impact on pasture DM production and nutritive characteristics through the use of inhibitors
Attribution: The University of Melbourne and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (Richard Eckard is an Associate Professor with the Melbourne School of Land and Environment, the University of Melbourne and leads a number of research programs for the Victorian Department of Primary Industries)
Dairy Futures CRC - Australia
The Dairy Futures CRC is a $130 million investment over 7 years led by DPI Vic and Dairy Australia with $28 million of Commonwealth funding. It is unique in having integrated pasture and animal programs with a focus on genetic innovations
Future Dairy - Australia
|Source : University of Sydney|
From Future Dairy’s perspective there are 3 important lines of action re reduction of C emissions in the future:
- Looking for ways to actually modify CH4 production at the biological/biochemical level ( basically the NZ approach that you have in your slides). This may include all the efforts in terms of GM plants and animals etc.
- Looking at increasing the efficiency of the whole system rather than just the ‘cow’. In practice this means to reduce the times animals are unproductive (younger, dry cows etc), which is a real ‘killing factor’ in terms of C emissions.
- Looking at the amount of C emitted per unit of animal product ! this is based on the fact that we will keep needing food in the future! So at the end of the day, what will be important is the emission per unit of product. This is what we look at in FutureDairy. To exemplify this, the table below (by Santiago Farina, PhD student and FutureDairy research staff) shows clearly how our more intensive system (either pasture-based o a mixture of pastures and crops [complementary forage sytems], have a much lower emission of C per unit of milk. So if the whole 9.2 billion L of milk in Australia were produced through our CFS system (last column), the whole Australian dairy industry would reduced CO2 emission by nearly half...
Associate Professor Yani Garcia, Future Dairy Project Leader and Director, Dairy Research Foundation, The University of Sydney
The Israeli Dairy Cow
|Source : State of Israel|
- The Israeli dairy cow is known for its high milk yield
- The annual milk yield per cow for 2008, reached near 11,500 kilograms, up by nearly 2,000 kilograms in the last twenty years
- The Israeli "production philosophy," strives to attain a high yield per cow, considering the fact that the higher the yield per cow, the greater the production efficiency, particularly in the feeding segment
- Greater production efficiency in the feeding segment is expressed by the smaller quantity of food and the smaller financial investment needed to produce each liter of milk
- This is largely attributed to the fact that the feeding costs for cow body maintenance are virtually the same for cows of varying production levels, and thus maintenance costs for the high-yield cow are spread over more liters
Israel Flamenbaum, Ph.D; State of Israel, Ministry of Agriculture, Extension service
New Zealand Research Objective: decrease total agricultural emissions of greenhouse gases by 10% per unit of output in 2013 relative to 2004
|Source : Fonterra|
Mark Aspin, New Zealand Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium Manager “We are charged with developing solutions to reduce methane and nitrous oxide from livestock without affecting productivity”
Graeme Atttwood New Zealand AgResearch Microbiologist “our research aims to identify a gnenetic hallmark for all methanogens that can …reduce methane emissions in livestock”
Neil Wedlock New Zealand AgResarch Senior Scientist “I’m part of research team developing a vaccine to mitigate methane emissions”
Adrian Walcroft, New Zealand Landcare Research Scientist “I’m in the process of developing methane bio-filters…for use on dairy farm effluent ponds”
Impact of cow feed on GHG emissions - France
|Source : IDF National Committee of France|
Methane production by enteric fermentation is the main source of GHG emission in dairy farms. Feeding of ruminants is an important factor to reduce emissions.
Experimental program on the impact of cows feed on methane emissions. Ideas : incorporation of vegetal oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, use of essential oils…
INRA Clermont-Ferrand-Theix, Research Unit « Herbivores » - C.Martin
According to the first results, the incorporation of 6% fatty acids from linen seed could significantly reduce methane production by cows.
Progress has been considerable! - USA
The dairy industry has made huge advances in efficiency over the past 60 years. According to USDA data, in 1944, the year when dairy cow numbers peaked at 25.6 million head, total milk production was 53 billion kg (Figure 2; http://www.nass.usda.gov/Data_and_Statistics/Quick_Stats/). By contrast, the 2007 US dairy herd comprised 9.2 million animals, producing a total of 84 billion kg of milk. This is equivalent to a four-fold increase in the annual milk yield per cow, progressing from 2,074 kg/cow in 1944 to 9,193 kg/cow in 2007.
Source: J. L. Capper1, R. A. Cady2 and D. E. Bauman1
1Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; 2Monsanto Company Animal Agricultural Group, St Louis, MO: ‘Increased Production Reduces The Dairy Industry’s Environmental Impact’:
Scientist correspondence on ruminal methane emissions - USA
|Source : Innovation Center For US Dairy|
Dr. Robin Anderson is a USDA-ARS Research Microbiologist in Texas. She has done considerable work with nitro-compounds, and still plans to pursue this approach to reduce CH4 emissions. During personal communication, she described her strategy as follows:
“My approach is to try and develop a methane inhibiting strategy that reduces ruminal methane production yet still conserves efficiencies associated with microbial interspecies hydrogen transfer reactions. I am testing some nitrocompounds that directly inhibit methanogens but are also used as a terminal electron acceptor by a nonpathogenic, obligate nonfermentative anaerobe, Denitrobacterium detoxificans. This bacterium conserves energy for growth by oxidizing hydrogen or formate for the reduction of select short chain nitrocompounds.
Most of my work has been done with commercially available nitrocompounds but recently we have begun testing synthesized nitrocompounds that we hypothesize will be reduced to naturally occurring amino acids, which would allow opportunity to conserve the carbon skeleton of the reduced product. We have not progressed to the point where we can prove that hypothesis however.”
Source: Gina L. Laur, ‘Evaluation of strategies to reduce enteric methane emissions from U.S. dairy cows’, pages 41 & 42 (paper supplied by DMI/Innovation Center for US Dairy)
Stonyfield Greener Cow Project - Vermont, USA
|Source : Innovation Center For US Dairy|
Stonyfield Farm is conducting the first program in North America aimed at reducing enteric CH4 emissions while improving the nutritional value of milk. They began a pilot program in 2008 based on research by the nutrition company Valorex and their partner Groupe Danone, both in France.
The “Stonyfield Greener Cow Project” includes 15 organic farms in Vermont that have begun feeding their dairy cows a high Omega-3 diet including alfalfa (lucerne), extruded flax (linseed), hemp and grass pasture (Anonymous, 2009). The high-quality forages help improve animal productivity, reducing CH4 per unit feed digested or unit product. Flaxseed is an oilseed and source of long-chain fatty acids, found in one study to reduce CH4 emissions by 38% without adverse effects on animal performance (Martin et al., 2008). It is historically fed over the winter, and contains high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids.
The Stonyfield program has reduced CH4 emissions by an average of 12% and a maximum of 18%, measured indirectly by a novel correlation between milk fatty acid composition and CH4 production. Research supporting this measurement method is expected to be published in Fall 2009. Farmers participating in the project claim that their cows seem healthier and veterinary bills have decreased.
Current research – International collaboration
|Source : Innovation Center For US Dairy|
The LEARN (Livestock Emissions and Abatement Research Network) committee was founded at the United Nations Climate Change meeting held in Bonn, May 2007. The committee aims to “improve understanding, measurement and monitoring of non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture at all scales” and “to facilitate the development of cost effective and practical greenhouse gas mitigation solutions” (http://www.livestockemissions.net/). Next year, a LEARN meeting will be held following the Greenhouse Gases and Animal Agriculture Conference 2010, in Banff, Canada.
A number of researchers cited in this document have been invited to speak. Mark Powell of the USDA Forage Research Center in Madison, WI, is a LEARN member. He suggests that COTF members should be present at the 2010 conference, since a substantial portion of the program involves ruminant CH4 emissions. Even more, Dr. Powell thinks LEARN might be interested in a presentation by DMI, and suggests submitting an abstract to the committee. More information on the conference, including invited presentations, can be obtained online (http://www.ggaa2010.org/invited.shtml)
Source: Gina L. Laur, ‘Evaluation of strategies to reduce enteric methane emissions from U.S. dairy cows’, pages 38 & 39 (paper supplied by DMI/Innovation Center for US Dairy)
Reducing GHG emissions by increases in production efficiency - Brazil
|Source : EPAGRI|
The Brazilian dairy industry is expanding its production significantly over the last 10 years (Figure 1). Despite the environmental concerns that may flow from this growth, particularly in regard to emissions of green house gas (GHG), the industry is improving its environmental performance. Considering that most GHG effect emissions occur at the farm level and are directly related to the animals, improvements in production per cow are important, since this is allowing more production with fewer cows. The main environmental gains in the Brazilian dairy industry in the short term are flowing from improvements in production efficiency, in line with many cases of other countries. The average milk yield per cow per year in Brazil is still less than 1,500 kg/year (Figure 2), but has increase by almost 3 fold over the last 33 years and is expected to increase more in the next 5 years. There is room to reduce cow numbers and increase production even more. Therefore feed needed for maintenance of cows will be reduced and GHG emissions per litre of milk is falling significantly. Figure 1.
Note about figures: Estimates for 2015 provided by Campos and Piacenti, 2007.
First Milk tackles cows’ diets - United Kingdom
|Source : Dairy UK|
- Dairy co-operative First Milk is working with its Welsh (Wales) members and animal nutritionists at Keenan Rumans to develop a diet that will boost milk production and cut methane emissions.
- Optimising forage fibre helps the animals to chew more and convert their feed into energy more efficiently. Health improvements have also been noted, especially around calving time.
- Early evidence shows that the new diet raised yields by up to four litres of milk per cow per day (around 15%), and cut methane emissions by more than 20% per litre.
Abatement Strategies - Australia and New Zealand
|Source : University of Melbourne|
Research undertaken in Australia and New Zealand has identified an array of potential abatement strategies for dairy farm systems.
Professor Richard Eckard et al., University of Melbourne
The four sources of GHG emissions in a dairy farms - Danone, France
|Source : Danone|
Reporting of GHG emissions - Australia
Benchmarking GHG emissions
Estimating GHG emissions from agriculture, in particular dairy, is much more challenging than for other sectors
- Complexity of systems
- Climatic and environmental variability
- Tailored management practices
- Interacting sources of emissions
he national greenhouse gas inventory committee prepares an Australian methodology for estimating greenhouse gases for different sectors.
Richard Rawnsley, ‘Dairying in Tasmania, Climate Change Impact Adaptation Mitigation’ presentation, slide 15, 2009
Danone Linus Project: How to reduce menthaneric cows CO2 emission - France
|Source : Danone|
In 2000, Danone Group set a -30% 10 years reduction objectives on the energy and water usage KPI’s. These objectives were achieved two years earlier than planned. To set new goals, the team decided to chose a KPI’s directly measuring CO2 footprint. Since there was no available full product life standards tool on the market, at the time, it was therefore decided to design one internally. The vision was that this would increase the organisation sensitivity to climate change and develop the group expertise.
- The Danprint tool has been developed for the water division and certified by Price Waterhouse Cooper, Carbon Trust and Ademe early 2009. It has been implemented in 100% of our subsidiaries in the Dairy and Water business across the world and is being rolled out to our Baby /Medical businesses.
- The group now has a global CO2 impact measure (6.6M of eq k C02 scope 2, 17M scope 3) which sets a baseline to future improvement. The identification of the major CO2 impacts helped set goals and priorities for the new reduction plan.
- Further, the tool provided an exhaustive and fully comparable database across countries, which has allowed to spot best practices through benchmarking.
- While this is a great starting base, the absolute data still needs to be used with caution and requires further research to increase the reliability of some of its assumptions.
‘Milch animals of the future’: Improving productivity and reducing emissions - India
|Archived||Source : National Dairy Development Board of India (NDDB)|
The National Dairy Development Board has already initiated the following action in the areas of feeding / breeding to mitigate the effect of climate change as under:
- Launch of an All India programme for balancing the ration given to milk animals though specially developed computer software, which ensures balancing of energy, protein and minerals resulting in production of more microbial protein and less methane. In the field, the methane emission reduction in these milk animals is measured, using SF6 tracer technique. The reduction achieved is around 10-15%. The displayed photograph shows methane emission measurement of a milk producer’s buffalo being fed a balanced ration.
- As milk production in India is primarily based on feeding crop residues to milk animals it results in more acetic acid and methane production. Technology for enrichment of crop residues with urea, molasses, mineral etc., which would result in reduction of methane, is being promoted.
- NDDB in technical collaboration with ACIAR Australia has also developed by pass protein technology which enables efficient use of protein meals which also results in reduction of methane emission
- Programmes for improving the genetic merit of the milk animals are being undertaken which will lead to improved feed conversion efficiency leading in turn to reduction in methane emission per litre of milk
Methane mitigation strategies - USA
|Archived||Source : Innovation Center For US Dairy|
There are an abundance of CH4 mitigation strategies that have been studied, falling under several overlapping categories:
- Increasing Animal Production: When maintenance requirements are decreased relative to production, less CH4 is released per unit product (meat or milk). Total CH4 will be reduced if production remains constant and there are fewer cows.
- Bulk Feeding Practices: Feeding greater quality feeds will increase animal production and feed efficiency. Certain feeds can also enhance propionate or decrease acetate production (Equations 2 and 3, page 3), removing H2 that would otherwise be used for methanogenesis.
- Additives/Inhibitors: Specific substances can be fed which directly or indirectly inhibit methanogenesis.
- Re-directing fermentation: Hydrogen can be re-directed to other sinks, or microbes can be removed which contribute to H2 production.
- Biological Control: Natural antibodies or bacteria-killing molecules can be employed to target microbes that promote or perform methanogenesis.