DPI wins Federal money for cattle emission research

07 Apr, 2009 01:28 PM

The Queensland Government has secured funding for three new, major research projects aimed at cutting the greenhouse gas belched out by livestock.

Primary Industries and Fisheries and the University of Queensland have been successful in obtaining three of the Federal Government's 18 emission reduction projects.

Minister for Primary Industries, Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin said the projects focus on minimising methane emissions from cattle and sheep.

"Methane 'burped out' by sheep and cattle contributes up to 14pc of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions," Mr Mulherin said.

"We are already known for cutting edge research on this problem - in particular investigating whether bacteria from kangaroos, which are largely methane-free, can be implanted in cattle and sheep to reduce their methane production.

"These three new projects are in addition to that research."

Almost $1 million has been allocated to the projects, which aim to be completed in the next three years.

Primary Industries and Fisheries senior principal research scientist and UQ associate professor in animal nutrition Dr Athol Klieve outlined the projects.

"One project centres on using viruses that attack methane-producing microbes in the guts of cattle and sheep," Dr Klieve said.

"We are sure these viruses exist, we just have to isolate them.

"Another project will investigate boosting livestock feed by adding lipids (oils).

"Improving feed quality with lipids automatically improves the condition of the animal and cuts the amount of methane produced. It also reduces the organisms in the gut that produce methane.

"The third project will investigate the value of microbes that turn the methane produced in the gut back into hydrogen and carbon dioxide," Dr Klieve said.

The projects are co-funded through the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry's Climate Change Research Program in conjunction with Meat and Livestock Australia.



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