A new citrus and garlic feed supplement could help dairy farmers offset their cows’ methane emissions while making them a bit of money in the process.
Swiss Agritech company Mootral developed the supplement, which it says could cut the methane that comes out of cows’ digestive systems by 38 percent. Nonprofit Verra announced Friday that it approved Mootral for the voluntary carbon offset program that it runs.
This means dairy farmers who feed their cows the supplement will be able to sell greenhouse gas credits in carbon offset markets like California’s cap and trade system.
Livestock accounts for 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations. And the bulk of those emissions is methane that cows burp up. (It’s a common misconception that most of the methane produced by cows is released through flatulence, but it actually comes out through the other end.)
The company has said the supplement could cut emissions without the need for consumers to cut down on meat consumption. Mootral has completed a trial of the product at a dairy farm in Lancashire, England and claims that the product does not cause any side effects. The company also said the supplement can actually improve cows’ productivity.