Much of the world’s livestock has a unique, four-chambered stomach. One of these chambers, called the rumen, is where food is broken down by bacteria, which in turn generates methane as a byproduct. Since methane, a greenhouse gas that has twenty times the warming potential of carbon monoxide, contributes heavily to global warming, it’s only natural for science and technology researchers to focus on finding ways to reduce methane emissions from livestock farming.
Recently, India’s National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) developed a software tool known as Information Network on Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH), which essentially helps balancing the diet of cattle. Methane production is affected by factors such as quantity and quality of food, weight, animal species and amount of exercise. The tool takes in account the type of food, weight of the animal and the fat content in the milk that’s produced. Also, the software can be adjusted according to the different types of available food, ensuring that a balance in nutrients is always maintained.
This is how, by focusing on calculating optimal feed mixes for these animals, this program has not only showed considerable reduction in methane emissions produced by livestock farming but also has helped increase milk production as well, which in turn translates into more income for farmers.
Examples such as India serve as a reminder of what we can achieve with the help of technology. These kind of advancements serve to make the world a better place by helping us utilize resources more efficiently and thus reduce damage to the environment. Even if livestock farming methane emissions are not the number one source of methane production in the US, it’s still important to continue applying better practices to not only help the environment but also to make farmers lifes easier.
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