SAO PAULO, (Reuters) – DSM, a Dutch health and nutrition company, will imminently file for Brazilian registration of a new feed additive for cows that can cut methane emissions by around 30 percent, a company executive told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.
Methane is a natural byproduct of digestion in cows and other ruminants, the majority of which is released into the atmosphere through burping and breathing, according to company disclosures.
DSM filed for Europe registration of the product called 3-NOP last month, according to Mark van Nieuwland, director of DSM’s “Clean Cow” project.
DSM anticipates getting market approval for the product by late 2020 or early 2021, Nieuwland said during a visit to Brazil, where company executives are attending a greenhouse gas and animal agriculture conference. After the necessary approvals are obtained, the plan is to release the product globally, he said.
Methane gas, considered more potent than carbon dioxide, is responsible for more than half of a cow’s carbon footprint, the company says.
3-NOP can save 1 tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent per cow every year, according to DSM research, and Nieuwland said the technology can help food producers feed a growing world population in a more sustainable manner.
DSM, which invests about 5 percent of total sales in research, says the new feed additive is “a cost effective” tool to more quickly help countries and companies comply with targets set in the Paris accord.
With sales of about 10 billion euros worldwide, in Brazil DSM serves big companies like BRF SA, JBS SA and Marfrig Global Foods, Nieuwland said.
According to Washington-based World Resources Institute, about one third of all greenhouse emissions from agricultural production, excluding land-use change, comes from methane released by cows.
In Brazil, where the cattle herd is estimated at 214.9 million head, trials showed promising results as DSM added the new feed additive to the diet of beef cows, and obtained reductions of methane emissions between 45 percent and 55 percent, Nieuwland said.
Over a decade, DSM also conducted tests both with beef and dairy cows in the United States, Canada, Belgium, the U.K., Spain, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia, the executive said.