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Burp-less Cattle Coming to Field Near You

cattle in field
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An international team of scientists is exploring how to produce cattle that emit less methane into the atmosphere. The University of Aberdeen, (not Aberdeen, South Dakota)  armed with $10 million want to develop a no-belch breed, both to lessen the impact of methane emissions into the air and increase cattle-raising efficiency.

Huge amounts of methane is released into the atmosphere when cows belch but it really cause for concern on a global scale? The greenhouse gas is said to have a global warming potential 25 times that of carbon dioxide.

Professor John Wallace, of Rowett Institute in Scotland is leading the study.

Methane production is important for cattle and sheep farmers because if the amount of methane produced can be lowered then there are benefits for the environment, production and profitability.”

Increasing profitability? Now you have our attention.

The team has studied a group of 25 dairy cattle to identify animals that produce less methane across a wide range of diets. The results conclude that there is considerable differences between cattle, with some producing more gases than others. It comes down to finding the right combination of breed of cattle and diet to achieve the desired results: Burp-less cattle.

Working within the DNA of cattle is not a new experiment. Scientists have recently inserted a horn-growth-suppressing DNA into the breed’s genome to genetically alter dairy cows to make them hornless and therefore less dangerous to farmers. Less horny cows? I guess we could call that a break-through.

If successful with the less-burping experiment, maybe, just maybe, scientists could help that beer-swigging guy who always sits in front of you upwind at the ballpark.

One can only dream.

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