New Zealand farm reduces cow burps, methane emissions

Via Flickr

Grace Smith | October 14, 2022

Trials in New Zealand suggest that calves emit 20 percent fewer methane emissions after receiving probiotics, according to Shalome Bassett, a scientist at Fonterra Research and Development Centre. Since the trial, New Zealand said it would cut biogenic methane emissions by 10% on 2017 levels by 2030 and up to 47% by 2050.

Cows in New Zealand are fed Kowbucha, a probiotic that reduces burps, or methane emissions. Scientists at Fonterra have been undergoing trials on cows since 2021 to determine if the Kowbucha reduces methane emissions.

“Probiotics are great because they’re a really natural solution,” Bassett told Reuters. “Whatever we do, it has to be something that’s easy for the farmer to use, has to be cost-effective, and we have to ensure that it’s good for the cow and doesn’t have any effect on the milk.”

In 2025, New Zealand will become the first country to charge for agricultural emissions, including cow and sheep burping. As of now, agricultural emissions account for over half of the country’s emissions. 

Fonterra hopes to have Kowbucha in stores by 2024 before prices are put on emissions.