Scientists Are Breeding Low-Emission Sheep
“In a bid to tackle climate change, scientists have teamed up with New Zealand farmers to try and make sheep a little less gassy,” writes Joe Pinkstone in an article for the Daily Mail.
“Sheep, much like cows, produce large amounts of methane over the course of their lifetime through flatulence and burping. The greenhouse gas is one of the leading causes of global warming, making up around 16 per cent of all emissions worldwide.” “Livestock emissions are the leading cause of greenhouse gases in New Zealand.”
“Using selective breeding techniques, scientists managed to breed a new type of sheep that produces ten per cent less of the problematic gas” and researchers in the UK are using CT scanners to assess the quality of a ram, as reported in the article.
“With the first generation of sheep, scientists wanted to find out whether methane production was a trait coded in the animals’ genetics.”
“We were looking … to see whether the trait was genetic and what the effect of breeding for low methane was, and whether there was effect on other health and production traits,” Dr Suzanne Rowe, senior geneticist at AgResearch, told ABC News.
“If a carbon-trading scheme was implemented for the agricultural and livestock industry, the new breed of sheep could help farmers save money,” as reported in the article.
“If we chose an arbitrary carbon cost of $NZ100 per tonne, we’d be looking at a cost of around $NZ43 per ewe. It really starts to stack up”, said Rowe.
The project was a collaboration between scientists at Invermay Agricultural Centre in Mosgiel and New Zealand agricultural research company AgResearch.
Article Source: Daily Mail, Joe Pinkstone, June 7, 2018
Image Source: Wikipedia