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Greener diet reduces dairy cows' methane burps

Sun, Jun 21, 2009

Environment

Yahoo News
Lisa Rathke, Associated Press Writer

COVENTRY, Vt. – Vermont dairy farmers Tim Maikshilo and Kristen Dellert, mindful of shrinking their carbon footprint, have changed their cows' diet to reduce the amount of gas the animals burp — dairy cows' contribution to global warming.

Coventry Valley Farm is one of 15 Vermont farms working with Stonyfield Farm Inc., whose yogurt is made with their organic milk, to reduce the cows' intestinal methane by feeding them flaxseed, alfalfa, and grasses high in Omega 3 fatty acids. The gas cows belch is the dairy industry's biggest greenhouse gas contributor, research shows, most of it emitted from the front and not the back end of the cow.

"I just figured a cow was a cow and they were going to do whatever they were going to do in terms of cow things for gas," said Dellert. "It was pretty shocking to me that just being organic wasn't enough, actually. I really thought that here we're organic, we're doing what we need to do for the planet, we're doing the stuff for the soil and I really thought that was enough."

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Tags: Dairy cows, greenhouse gas, carbon footprint

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