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Methane released by livestock could be reduced by new diet

Researchers believe that tweaks to the diet of livestock could significantly reduce the levels of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.

Image: David Cheskin/PA Wire/Press Association Images

SCIENTISTS INVESTIGATING HOW to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions released by livestock believe that changes animal feed might be the answer.

The British study has suggested that some types of feed could cut the release of methane by up to 33 per cent, reports the BBC. Currently, the agricultural sector accounts for a significant amount of the greenhouse emissions in the atmosphere – with methane released by animals accounting for 43 per cent of the UK’s emissions of the gas.

The UK’s Agricultural Minister said: “It is very exciting that this new research has discovered that by simply changing the way we feed farm animals we have the potential to make a big difference to the environment”.

The research team, from the University of Reading and Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Ibers), found that increasing the proportion of maize silage reduced methane emissions – as did feeding livestock high-sugar grasses.

Virgin oats could also reduce methane emissions in sheep by 33 per cent, according to the study.

Read more on the BBC >

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