This project aims to develop methods to measure methane production in the rumen and to examine its microbiology.
The three-year, $840,000 project is funded by the Department of Agriculture.
When cattle and sheep digest feed, between two and 10 per cent of the feed energy they consume is lost in the form of methane gas. This is caused by the activity of micro-organisms that naturally live in the animals’ stomach (rumen) and assist with digestion. Methane gas (CH4) is belched out by the animal and into the atmosphere. Simply put, they are 'leaking' feed energy, rather than converting it to muscle.
We are working to help reduce this loss of feed energy by developing methods to measure methane production in the rumen and to examine its microbiology.
Methane is also a potent greenhouse gas and in Australia about 10 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and two thirds of agricultural emissions come from methane produced by cattle and sheep. Knowledge and practices aimed at reducing methane emissions from livestock therefore serve the dual purpose of improving feed efficiency, productivity and farm income, while also helping lower Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Centre Director Professor Andrew Ball leads the microbiology work while Professor Kourosh Kalantar Zadeh leads the biosensor project.