No joke: California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill to regulate ‘gas’ emissions from cows along with other sources of greenhouse gases, of course. According to an interview from NPR, dairy cows are the number one producer of methane in California. The problem with methane is that it is a major component of smog, although according to scientists at the University of California Santa Barbara, it is not the leading cause of global warming. In fact, agriculture-related methane and carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for only 6-7% of greenhouse emissions.
Researchers at Penn State Extension have come up with some ideas for reducing cow emissions that focus on making food easier to digest including:
- Feeding higher quality foods that are easily digestible, although producing grains and transporting them also leads to emissions.
- Using food additives to improve efficiency of feeding, which some studies show to reduce methane production by 10%.
- Even simply grinding up food and making pellets has been shown to reduce emissions by 40%. But I am sure you can imagine how costly it would be to create ‘cattle kibbles’.
- Adding fats to the diet can reduce emissions by 37%, although too much fat intake can lead to health problems in cows.
- Some researchers are even exploring the option of creating a vaccine to reduce methane-producing bacteria in the gut.
Does anyone know if Gas X works on a cow?
Video from YouTube
Categories: Comparative Physiology