In a new research project, researchers from Aarhus University in Denmark in cooperation with Organic Denmark and a number of commercial partners will be examining whether the addition of organic oregano to cattle feed can reduce the production of methane in the rumen and thus emissions of methane gas.
Oregano, especially the species Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare ssp hirtum), is known for its high content of essential oils and its antimicrobial effect, and the plant is a natural tool for reducing methane production in the rumen, says project manager and senior researcher at the Department of Food Science, Kai Grevsen, and continues: "The goal is to show that we can reduce methane emissions from dairy cows by up to 25% by adding oregano to the feed."
As part of the project, researchers will initially test the effect of supplementing with oregano on rumen- and intestinal-fistulated dairy cows in special methane chambers. They will also examine how the cows react to different amounts of oregano. The feeding with oregano will then be tested in practice on a number of organic dairy farms producing milk for 'Naturmælk' (organic dairy).
The project will run for 4 years.
Emmy Koeleman studied Animal Sciences at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. She is the editor of Dairy Global and All About Feed.