SUSTAINABLE FEED FOR THE WELL-BEING OF ANIMALS, PEOPLE, AND THE PLANET
Reduction of Greenhouse Gases
Ruminant animals (not only cattle, but also bison, moose, elephants, African rhinos, etc.) are essential for life on the planet because they can consume even the ‘hardest’ fibre and transform it into energy and protein, giving rise to meat or milk products. Unfortunately, it is now known that ruminants emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. The cause of this unexpected phenomenon is their digestive system.
Rumination is the process by which cows regurgitate previously consumed feed (cud) and chew it further. Larger particles are processed in the mouth again to decrease the size of the particles. This cud is then swallowed and digested through a fermentation process in the rumen. In this digestive/fermentation process supported by numerous species of useful bacteria, the food turns from being not particularly digestible into something of high biological value for the animal, becoming milk and meat for the body to grow. As a side effect, cows produce methane, considerably contributing to the greenhouse effect. Each litre of milk produced corresponds to about 35 litres of methane gas that is released into the atmosphere through belching or flatulence.
This analysis has been confirmed by several sources. According to British scientists, each cow produces between 500 and 600 litres of methane per day. In the United Kingdom alone, cows account for 3% of all greenhouse gas emissions. According to the University of Pennsylvania, as much as 37% of methane emissions (one of the most insidious greenhouse gases) originate in intensive animal farming. In California, the Environmental Protection Agency, which deals with frequent excesses of ozone, has already instituted regulations on polluting emissions that require cattle farms to control waste and change the diets of their livestock.
Faced with all this, environmental protection is an important aspect of Spada’s corporate vision and research and development strategy. A group of experts including the company’s own nutritionists and professional specialists, was established in October 2017 to tackle this significant challenge. The aim is to formulate animal feed that reduces the environmental impact and, in collaboration with breeders conscious of the need to protect ‘their’ environment, to design feed rations that produce low emissions of greenhouse gases. We have started to install sensors to continuously measure methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide directly in the cowsheds with the aim of testing and designing the nutrition of the future, that is, with the least environmental impact. Spada develops modern concepts of sustainability using natural resources in an intelligent and responsible manner, for the well-being of animals, people, and the environment.
The results of the first measurements, compared with those in the bibliography (to be certified and published in the future), strongly indicate that with New Wave Technology, we are able to feed cows better with less environmental impact.