Cows field

It is difficult to pick up a newspaper these days (whether you read printed or digital versions!) without encountering the word ‘methane’. All too frequently, the next sentence will continue by associating the production of the gas with cattle and will conclude with a statement on eating less meat or dairy.

However, this latest article from New Scientist reports that, while methane levels are undoubtedly rising, the source is by no means certain.

Methane, while relatively short lived, is of importance because of its potency as a greenhouse gas. One tonne of methane is reported to have something like 30 times the global warming potential as the same amount of carbon dioxide. And while no-one can deny that ruminants produce methane, this article displays scientific balance in reminding us that there are many other important sources of methane such as warmer wetlands and rice production.

VetSalus consultants are familiar with methane and attach great importance to good science and evidence based responses. As they work at the environment/animal interface, much of their advice acts, directly and indirectly, to reduce the production of methane from food producing animals. VetSalus consultancy programmes, which result in improved animal health, with reduced levels of disease and mortality automatically reduce unnecessary methane production from animal sources. Better nutrition and optimised stocking rates will also contribute.

Methane as a greenhouse gas is not going to go away any time soon and our scientific knowledge of its generation will undoubtedly improve. In the meantime, VetSalus will continue to monitor the science and work at reducing the methane production from food producing animals.