Teagasc researchers exploring methane-reducing feed additives say that they have made promising progress. According to recent research, "the most promising additive" discovered to date is calcium peroxide. According to the advisory body's research team, the use of calcium peroxide in pellet form is most effective because this makes the compound resistant to pressure and temperature.
For successful outcomes, the product must be given to livestock twice per day.
The research team maintains that the additive could yield up to a 28% reduction in livestock methane production without impacting on feed intake or animal productivity. This would make it an extremely useful tool in helping the agriculture sector meet its emissions targets in the years ahead.
Teagasc's research teams have been making use of datasets developed from the DAFM-funded GREENBREED projects in collaboration with Irish Cattle Breeding Association. At present, reearchers have access to methane and performance data for 1,600 beef cattle. Animals recorded in the database are ranked either "low", "medium" or "high" based on their methane emission status.
Leading the way
The data generated through this research is to be at the forefront science in the field, contributing to the ongoing development of the world's first genetic methane evaluations reference for beef cattle. Published by the ICBF, this evaluation will be subject to further study in the context of grazing systems.
In addition to this, researchers are currently investigating methane production levels as they relate to grazing management and the use of different plant species including clover. Results indicate that sheep grazing perennial ryegrass swards with clover produced less methane than those on other systems.