Arla Foods and DSM start large-scale on-farm pilot to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: Arla Foods
Pic: Arla Foods

Related tags Arla Arla foods Dsm

European dairy cooperative Arla Foods and Royal DSM, are set to start a large-scale on-farm pilot with the methane reducing feed additive Bovaer on 10,000 dairy cows across three European countries.

DSM said global research and on-farm trials show Bovaer can reduce methane emissions by around 30%. Digestion of feed accounts for 40% of total emissions from Arla Foods' farms.

The cooperative is set to pilot the use of Bovaer on more than 50 farms in Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

"The results from our initial trials with Bovaer at both a research facility and one of our Danish farms are very promising. Together with DSM, we are now gaining practical on-farm experience by applying the feed additive in one of its largest pilot programs to date, and one of Arla's biggest climate projects overall, with 10,000 cows,"​ said executive vice president and head of agriculture and sustainability at Arla Foods, Hanne Søndergaard.

"Leaders of more than 100 countries recognize the urgency of cutting methane emissions as they pledged to make a difference at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, a few months ago. The recent IPCC report on the impact of climate change tells us there's no time to lose when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Through our scientific innovation and collaboration, we can help achieve a sizeable reduction in emissions by changing the feed that animals eat every day,"​ said Mark van Nieuwland, vice president of Bovaer at DSM.

DSM has researched and developed the Bovaer additive for 10 years and tested it in 14 countries around the world. Bovaer is available for sale in the EU, Brazil, Chile, and Australia. In the EU, it is the first ever approved feed additive with environmental impact, confirming its impact on methane emissions and its safety for animals, consumers and the environment.

Bovaer works by suppressing the enzyme that triggers methane production in a cow's digestive system. It takes effect immediately and is safely broken down into compounds already naturally present in a cow's stomach and is scientifically proven to not affect milk quality.

Throughout the summer and fall of 2022, Arla Foods will work with its farmer owners to ensure a diverse group of farms for the pilot program. During the on-farm pilots, farmers will receive Bovaer from their feed suppliers and mix it into the feed for their dairy cows. Arla will collect milk samples for analysis and comparison to milk from dairy cows not fed the feed additive. If preliminary findings are as expected, Arla Foods plans to double the pilot project to include 20,000 cows in 2023.

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