How seaweed and plants can ensure cows pass less gas, which is harmful to the environment.
Some Colombian farmers are feeding cows a new, innovative diet so they emit less gases.
As part of the environmentally-friendly project, cows are fed with high protein plants and flowers. As well as decreasing gas emissions, the aim is to increase woodlands and bushes and also help farmers generate more milk and increase forestry areas, which also prevents land erosion and enriches the soil for better farming.
Changing cow diets from plain grass to plants and flowers ensures they pass less gas, which mostly contains methane, a greenhouse gas and one of the biggest contributors to climate change.
At least 4,000 Colombian farmers, representing one percent of the country’s cattle ranchers, have received foreign aid to transform their farmlands into woodlands.
The executors of another project launched by a US-based agricultural company also believes that if farmers use more seaweed for feeding their cows, the animals will release less gas.
Cows are held responsible for 18 percent of the total greenhouse gases worldwide, which is equivalent to the emissions caused by the entire transportation industry.
The project’s findings have been backed by researchers from the University of California. But there are not enough plants and seaweed available for all farmers. A Massachusetts-based company Australis Aquacultureis is on the way to be the first to commercially produce the seaweed.
The company’s slogan is ‘‘Greener Grazing’’ and its CEO Josh Goldman is eager to begin the production.
‘‘If you could feed all the cows this seaweed, it would be the equivalent of taking all these cars off the road,’’ Goldman said.
But others disagree with him. One of them is Frank M. Mitloehner, a professor of animal science and an air quality extension specialist at the University of California.
“According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the largest sources of US GHG emissions in 2016 were electricity production (28 percent of total emissions), transportation (28 percent) and industry (22 percent). All of agriculture accounted for a total of 9 percent. All of animal agriculture contributes less than half of this amount, representing 3.9 percent of total US greenhouse gas emissions,” wrote Mitloehner in October.
“That’s very different from claiming livestock represents as much or more than transportation,” he concluded.