As global concern grows over the environmental impact of dairy farming, experts are working diligently to unravel the complex issue of methane emissions. This issue was the focus of a recent insightful webinar hosted by Eco-Sens and Map of Ag. We invite you to explore the key points raised during the webinar and encourage you to watch the full webinar on our website for more in-depth insights.
Understanding the Methane Challenge
The webinar started with an introduction, setting the scene by Joe Towers, Senior Customer Account Manager at Map of Ag. “Ruminant methane emissions are a significant contributor to scope three emissions related to a dairy farm,” Towers said, highlighting the urgency of finding innovative methods to accurately calculate and mitigate these emissions.
Enteric Methane Monitoring
During the webinar, a groundbreaking equation was presented that can predict the quantity of methane in grams per litre of milk, using the bulk milk fatty acid profile and the cow’s intensity of production. “Middle infrared technology can be used to assess the milk fatty acid profile and this is automatically done on all routine bulk milk samples carried out by NML but is not reported unless you ask for it,” shared James Husband, Senior Livestock Consultant at Map of Ag.
He also emphasised that there is seasonal variation in milk fatty acid profiles which are strongly influenced by the ration the cows are fed and probably related to changes in day length. “The data the equation produces is useful for dairy processors to make informed decisions about how to reduce methane,” Husband added.
The Role of Eco-Sens
Eco-Sens’ patented equation for measuring methane, using bulk milk fatty acids and milk production levels was discussed by Mathieu Tournat, Managing Director at Eco-Sens. “There is no practical way to directly measure methane emissions on farm. Our patented Eco-Sens methodology is cost-effective and simple and has been recognized by UNFCCC, the French Ministry, and the Belgian National Climate Commission,” Tournat announced.
He stressed the importance of acting immediately to scale down methane emissions. He offered practical ways to achieve this, such as diet adjustments and the use of additives. He also pointed out that the effects of some of these methane abatement additives can be assessed using the Eco-Sens equation.
Methane Emissions and Feed Quality
The final section of the webinar focused on how the fatty acid content of the cow’s diet could affect monthly methane emission values. “Grazed grass has a high level of omega 3 fatty acids which affects the fatty acid profile of the milk and when this profile is fed through the Eco-Sens equation it shows a reduction in methane per litre. This effect would not be picked up by the normal input equations that are used for assessing methane,” Husband explained, indicating that omega-3s from grass or external sources from sources such as linseed could be used to construct diets that result in lower methane emissions.
The webinar provided valuable insights into the complexities of methane emissions in dairy farming and showcased innovative approaches to monitor and reduce these emissions. The discussions also emphasised the need for immediate action and the implementation of practical solutions.
We encourage you to watch the full webinar here to delve deeper into these discussions and gain a comprehensive understanding of this critical environmental issue. As the speakers highlighted, every dairy processor keen on making well-informed decisions about reducing methane emissions can’t afford to miss these insightful discussions.
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