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Wageningen: Bovaer® is first EU additive to reduce methane emissions from dairy cows

05 April 2022

Wageningen

Methane inhibitor Bovaer® from DSM significantly reduces methane emissions from dairy cows in the Netherlands, varying from 27% to 40% less emissions per cow, depending on the cow's ration and how much methane inhibitor is added to the feed.

In February of this year, the EU Member States gave their approval for the marketing of DSM's feed additive. Brazil and Chile have already done so.

The research was conducted by Wageningen Livestock Research and took place at the innovation center Dairy Campus, at the end of 2019 until the beginning of 2020. In January 2021 a press release with the results was published. The final publication was recently published in the Journal of Dairy Science.

The trial with Bovaer was set up to determine the amount of methane reduction at three ratios of grass silage and maize silage in the roughage, typical for conditions in different regions in the Netherlands, and at two different doses of Bovaer. The data from the research serve as a basis for an accreditation of Bovaer in the climate module of the Dutch Recycling Guide, but can be used throughout Europe.

Trioliet, RIC container and GreenFeed

The study was conducted with 64 mid-lactation Holstein-Friesian cows, of which 18 cows were in their first lactation, 18 cows in their second lactation and 28 cows in their third lactation or higher. The scientists investigated the effect of adding a low dose (60 mg/kg feed DM*) and a medium dose (80 mg/kg feed DM) of Bovaer to the three different rations. This happened in the Dairy Campus feeding shed, where the experiment was carried out correctly using the Trioliet system (mixing feed), RIC trays (nutrition intake per cow) and GreenFeeds (measuring methane emissions per cow via the breath).

A quarter teaspoon of Bovaer per cow per day reduced methane emissions by about 30% on average. The feed additive therefore contributes directly to a reduction in the ecological footprint of meat, milk and dairy products.

Registration

Bovaer is the first additive recognized by the EU with a proven methane-reducing effect. Methane has a global warming potential 28 times higher than that of carbon dioxide. This is one of the reasons why methane emissions need to be tackled in the short term. The DSM feed additive makes a contribution to this. The product is in line with the EU objective of making agriculture more green and is in line with the ambitions of the Farm-to-Fork strategy.

Key role for agricultural innovations

The European Commission has stated in an explanation that Bovaer is safe for use and has no impact on the quality of dairy products.

“Innovation is key to achieving a sustainable food system,” said EU Health and Nutrition Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. “The approval of a product like Bovaer is an example of what we can achieve with new agricultural innovations.”



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