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IT’S A GAS

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Published on Tue, Apr 5, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

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Maybe you don’t have to give up your gas guzzler just yet

New diets for cows, sheep could cut emissions HOT WIRE—Maybe you don’t have to give up your gas guzzler just yet. British researchers reveal that new diets for cows and sheep could dramatically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Research funded by the Department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) and conducted by Reading University and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences shows that feeding the animals maize silage, naked oats and higher sugar grasses could reduce the amount of methane they produce, reports Nina Chestney of Reuters. Agriculture accounts for around nine per cent of all British greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report—and most of this evidently comes from sheep, cows and goats. The same report indicates that farming accounts for 41 per cent of Britain's overall methane emissions, which are harmful to the environment. According to Reuters, a trial showed that high-sugar grasses could reduce an animal's methane emissions by 20 per cent for every kilogram of weight gain and naked oats could reduce methane emissions from sheep by 33 percent. "In the longer term the benefits gained by changing animals' diets will need to be considered against other environmental impacts as well as how practical or costly they are for the farming industry to implement," Defra said in a statement.

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