Thursday, August 06, 2015

Climate change: Time for farmers to pull their weight

For the past decade or more, farmers have been saying that they can't do anything about climate change. It's too hard, too expensive, there are no solutions which would let them reduce their emissions.


Research co-authored by Matthew Deighton, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal last week, found a new stock feed additive, NOP, cuts the methane produced by cows by almost a third.

It interferes with an enzyme in the methane-producing micro-organisms in the cow's stomach. "It's a very, very small amount – as little as one gram – in the daily feed of a cow. So that means it really has the opportunity to get on to farms, as we don't have to drastically change the diet of the animals."

Even more excitingly, the addition of NOP allowed the cows to put on extra weight, which was good news for farmers, Deighton said.

There still needs to be further work done, particularly on residues, but they're expecting it to be on the market within five years. At which stage its time to call the farmers on their bullshit, and make them use it. Everyone else is doing their bit to reduce emissions; its time our largest polluters pulled their weight as well.