Australia’s huge cattle herd in the north might be burping less planet-warming methane emissions than thought, a study released on Friday shows, suggesting the cows are more climate friendly.
Cattle, sheep and other ruminant livestock produce large amounts of methane, which is about 20 times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. One cow can produce about 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year.
Half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture and most of that is from sheep and cattle. Most of the cattle and sheep emissions are, contrary to popular belief, from burping.
Scientists at Australia’s state-backed research body the CSIRO say the amount of methane from cattle fed on tropical grasses in northern Australia could be nearly a third less than thought.