When aiming for a more environmental friendly dairy farm, it makes sense to increase longevity of the dairy herd. This was shown by calculations from the Belgium research institute ILVO.
Dairy farming is an important contributor of methane gas into the environment. Methane gas (CH4) is a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2 for example. Reducing methane ouput from agriculture is therefore high on the agenda. This can be accomplished by certain feeding strategies and feed additives. But also management is an important key factor to reduce methane output.
Older cows and earlier calving
ILVO has been doing methane research for more than 10 years, using the so-called gas exchange chambers (GUKs). These chambers measure the emission of individual animals. ILVO also monitors methane emissions in groups of animals (lactating and dry cows) with specific measuring equipment (called GreenFeeds) in a research farm.
Different scenarios have been studied to lower the methane emission. A few of them are listed here.