Thursday, March 30, 2017
Making cows more environmentally friendly by feeding hydroponic fodder.
Scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) and the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Frankfurt have published a paper revealing an important discovery surrounding plants used to feed livestock; that plants growing in warmer conditions are tougher and have lower nutritional value to grazing livestock, potentially inhibiting milk and meat yields and raising the amount of methane released by the animals. The higher amounts of methane are produced when plants are tougher to digest -- an effect of a warmer environment. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, around 25 times better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide and more than 95% of the methane produced by cows comes from their breath through belching and farting . Diet plays a vital role in control of methane emissions related to cattle thus various strategies have been proposed to stem these emissions. The change in diet of cattle to more easily digestible and metabolisable feed ensures less regurgitation,more absorption and less methane emission. Farming without soil also referred to as hydroponics refers to growing plants in nutrient rich media under controlled temperature and humidity to produce fresh fodder for animals,which are highly nutritious, easily digestible and free from pesticides. Cattle fed with hydroponic fodder grow fast, produce more milk,beef and less gas. The animals have access to the full nutrients from the cereal or legume,the minerals protein and fat are liberated in the fodder making it a great alternative. Cows normally have access to 20% of energy in the grain diet while with fodder system 95% of the energy is available for growth and reproductive health and performance. The short span of growth from seed to fodder within 7 days ensures that animals have fresh fodder all year round.