The Government, in agreement with the Devolved Administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, has issued a call for evidence on the use of new types of animal feed products that can reduce methane emissions from livestock.

Methane-suppressing feed products, which can be natural or synthetic compounds, include methanogenesis inhibitors, seaweeds, essential oils, organic acids, probiotics, and antimicrobials.

The call for evidence will consider questions of awareness and perception, the current role of feed additives within the UK’s farming systems, and the potential barriers that could prevent the introduction of methane-suppressing feed products in both the near- and long-term future.

It is also seeking views on whether uptake could best be driven by government interventions, industry or voluntary-led solutions and what these interventions might entail.

In 2019, agriculture accounted for 10 per cent of total UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with methane accounting for approximately 54 per cent of agricultural emissions. The UK Government has set an ambitious target to achieve net-zero GHG emissions across the whole UK economy by 2050.

Cows and sheep – ruminant livestock – are the leading cause of farm GHG emissions. However, feed products with methane inhibiting properties have shown potential in reducing reduce GHG emissions, especially from housed cattle.

As Farming Minister Victoria Prentis pointed out, well-managed livestock can provide various environmental benefits and meat and dairy can both be an important part of a balanced diet.

She added that the call for evidence can help the Government to better understand the promising role emerging feed additive technologies for cattle could play and how it can help drive its development.

The call for evidence closes on 15 November 2022.

For advice on related matters, contact the Smailes Goldie team today.

Posted in Agriculture, Blog.