Burping cows 'harming environment'
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7 July 07
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|Burping cows 'harming environment'|
9 Jul 07 - Cows could be doing more damage to the environment than four-wheel-drive cars, scientists have warned.
Methane emissions from cattle account for a quarter of the gas in our air and researchers are trying to find a new way to feed cattle which leads to less belching.
(Don’t laugh. Farmers could wake up one of these
Michael Abberton of the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research said the key is developing new varieties of food that are easier for cattle to digest and also provide a proper balance of fibre, protein and sugar.
Mr Abberton said the average dairy cow belches out about 100 to 200 litres of methane each day, making diet changes a key potential factor in reducing this greenhouse gas.
"There is a common misperception about how methane gets into the atmosphere," he said. "It is actually through belching rather than the other end," he said.
He said introducing easier-to-digest legumes that tend to reduce methane emissions is an example of an approach scientists are beginning to explore. Legumes such as clover and alfalfa are commonly used for animal fodder.
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