Scientists working to breed sheep with less greenhouse gas emissions

A new initiative is seeing scientists working to breed sheep that produce less greenhouse gas.

The Grass to Gas initiative will see scientists working with livestock farmers in a attempt to reduce environmental issues.

Nicola Lambe, from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), said:

“The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue requiring a transnational and transdisciplinary approach.
“The project aims to produce tools to measure, or accurately predict, feed efficiency and methane emissions from both individual animals and sheep systems, which will provide the international industry with the means to breed, feed and manage sheep with reduced environmental impact as part of genetic improvement initiatives.
“It will also contribute towards addressing the argument about the effect of eating meat on global warming, with sheep making use of land often unsuitable for other agricultural production, except conifers – at least in the UK.”

The project will last three years and test different methods to predict methane emissions.

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Research Council of Norway and New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries has given the UK element of the study £250,000 in funding.

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