Cow Feed That Cleans Potent Methane Burps Nears Europe Rollout
(Bloomberg) -- A feed additive that cuts methane burped out by cows -- a major contributor to agricultural emissions -- moved a step closer to being sold in Europe.
The European Union’s food watchdog said Dutch nutrition company Royal DSM NV’s Bovaer product is safe and effective for dairy cattle. It wasn’t asked to decide on safe levels for other categories such as beef. Europe is the world’s second-largest milk producer, and Bovaer has already been approved for beef and dairy cows as well as sheep and goats in Chile and beef giant Brazil.
The farming sector is facing more pressure to become greener as governments and investors focus on curbing global warming, and tackling methane emissions is one of the most critical climate challenges for the agriculture industry. Solutions also being pursued by companies and researchers include other supplements, cow masks and breeding “climate-smart” cattle.
Beef and dairy cattle account for about two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. Bovaer can cut methane emissions from dairy cows by about 30%, a Royal DSM spokesperson said.
“Compared with five to eight years ago, the world has changed dramatically,” Dimitri de Vreeze, co-chief executive officer of DSM, said in an interview in October. “Governments, farmers, consumers and our brand owners are all aware that it’s an issue which we need to tackle.”
The European Commission will have to approve the European Food Safety Authority’s decision before Bovaer is rolled out, which usually takes about six months. Commission approval would allow Royal DSM to start market development for the product in Europe in the first half of next year, the company said in a statement.
In regions where the product is already allowed, farmers can buy premixes with the additive or purchase it themselves and add to cow feed. It’s also awaiting approval in New Zealand and the U.S.
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