Manipulating Rumen Ecosystem of Cattle and Sheep Significantly Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emission

Greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by as much as 10 per cent thanks to the efforts of Queensland's cattle and sheep industries.

The reduction means Australia is one step closer to achieving Kyoto emission targets.

By manipulating the rumen ecosystem of cattle and sheep, Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries researchers could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emission and in the process, increase production efficiency by up to 15 per cent.

Currently methane from cattle and sheep contributes 14 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

Methane is a by-product in the digestion of plant material by all cattle and sheep. It has been estimated that if three quarters of the methane generated could be channelled into animal product, instead of lost to the atmosphere, 10 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions could be permanently eliminated.

Researchers say that by reducing methane emissions we may be able to slow the rate of climate change within decades.

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