Food supplement for cows could reduce methane emissions by nearly 40 percent, company says
A German entrepreneur is offering a supplement for cow fodder that could reduce the animals’ methane emissions by up to almost 40 percent. The Switzerland-based company Mootral, which is run by German CEO Thomas Hafner, has developed the supplement using garlic and unripe bitter oranges, the Frankfurter Rundschau reports. The product is based on an EU research project and was originally invented by UK-based company Neem, which Hofman bought in 2012. He said livestock owners, milk or meat sellers, restaurants and anyone else using cow products made using Mootral or products from its competitors will be able to receive a certificate proving their emissions reduction measures. The supplement would thus help secure a "sustainable, animal-based protein source.” The fodder supplement works in ruminants with four stomachs, where it reduces the amount of methanogens (microbes that produce the highly potent greenhouse gas) without compromising on other qualities of the animal's milk or meat. Trials are showing that the results vary depending on the cow race and the fodder Mootral is fed along with, with methane reduction in the very common Jersey cattle reaching 38 percent.
Animal farming is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in Germany’s agriculture sector. Emissions from farming amount to seven percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Of these, 39.4 percent (25 million tonnes CO2 equivalents in 2018) come directly from methane emissions of animals farmed in Germany, mostly from cattle and dairy cows. A new agriculture commission set up by the government has recently been launched in a bid to find solutions for reconciling farming with climate and environmental action.