Potential to reduce greenhouse gases
Unsurprisingly, governments recently concluded that it’s time to include agricultural emissions in the discussions on how to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. As the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) put it, no other sector holds as much potential to reduce greenhouse gases as the agricultural sector. Best practices and technologies in the feeding of livestock are explicitly recognized.
Reducing cow emissions to reduce global warming
Cows have complex stomachs that host billions of microorganisms which help break down food. The problem is that some of these microorganisms also make methane, which is then emitted by the cow. Incredibly, this process is responsible for 4% of all total global greenhouse gas emissions* - making it a major contributor to climate change. With our feed supplement we are on our way to enabling farmers to be able to reduce their farms’ greenhouse gas emissions by cutting their herd’s burped methane by 30%.
Putting our competences to work
Intense collaboration among scientists and experts in nutrition, biology, chemistry, engineering and analytics across the globe has made a reduction in the methane produced by cows a reality.
Together they took a fresh look at the potential of existing compounds. When this didn’t deliver a solution, they made a major decision: to embark on an ambitious quest for a completely new compound. The first step was using computer simulation to explore compounds that could work.
From computer to test tube to global game changer
Once some potential compounds had been identified, our full network of competencies came into play. It was time to take the scope of research from computer simulations to the physical realm. Our biochemists and microbiologists screened the most promising compounds. We shared the final compound with external and independent partners, including noteworthy animal science academics in Europe, Oceania and North America. They tested our solution in the most demanding environment of all - the cow’s stomach. It passed with flying colors.
But what about safety? DSM toxicologists and analytical chemists and external research institutes are conducting extensive testing to ensure our new compound is safe. Trials demonstrate a 30%-plus reduction in methane emissions without any adverse effects on animal welfare, feed consumption or performance.
More eco-friendly cows and happier farmers
Our formulations and applications teams have turned the new compound into a feed supplement that's easily added to the cow’s regular daily diet and now DSM process development experts are planning commercial production.
For the rapidly growing segment of environmentally-aware consumers the appeal is clear: decreased environmental footprint for the beef and dairy sector.
*according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)