Reducing emissions from agriculture – informative session on predicting methane emissions

The upcoming BSAS 2019 Annual Conference will play host to a wide range of sessions across the three days.

In our latest blog, we speak to Professor Richard Dewhurst, head of the SRUC’s Dairy Research Centre, a ruminant nutritionist with a range of experience with dairy and beef systems in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand, to find out more about his session on Models and Proxies for Methane Emissions from Ruminants.

What will this session focus on and what does it hope to address?
“Thursday morning’s session Models and Proxies for Methane Emissions from Ruminants will look at recent work on predicting methane emissions from ruminants through the use of models and proxy measurement techniques. 

“With many other sectors of activity (like energy and transport) achieving marked reductions in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, there is an increased focus on the need to reduce emissions from agriculture – and ruminant livestock in particular.

“Models of methane emissions will help in identifying dietary strategies and additive approaches to reduce methane emissions whilst proxy measurements are needed to enable measurements on large numbers of animals so that we can breed for low methane emitting cattle and sheep.”

Who will be speaking at the session and what will they be talking about?
“A range of prediction methods will be described and evaluated by the speakers:

  • Helen Kettle – process-based modelling of rumen methane production
  • Sarah Bocklehurst – modelling short-term measurements made using the laser methane detector
  • Jose Palarea-Albaladejo – using measurements of volatile fatty acids in rumen digesta
  • Riccardo Bica – using NMR analysis of rumen digesta
  • Nicola Lambe – using X-ray CT measurements of rumen volume
  • Rafael Muñoz-Tamayo – using measurements of feeding behaviour
  • Paolo Bani – using NIR analysis of faeces”

What will audiences learn from attending this session?
“Those who attend this session will gain a better understanding of the opportunities for new techniques and models to measure or predict ruminant methane emissions.”

Who stands to benefit from attending this session?
“This session will be of particular interest to other researchers who are always on the look-out for ideas for future research and collaborations, as well as Government policy makers who are looking for new ways to monitor and reduce GHC output from livestock. 

“Staff from feed and additive companies looking for new feeding and additive approaches to reduce methane emissions will also find this a useful session to attend, as will those looking for tools to help them breed for low emitting ruminants.”

How can ideas talked about in the session be utilised in the agriculture and animal science sectors?
“Information from the session can be used to assist in the development of new feeding regimes and feed additives. It will also help inform breeding for low methane emitting cattle and sheep and could inform new policies and tools to support implementation of policy to reduce GHG emissions intensity.”

To register for tickets and to find out more about the programme of speakers planned for the BSAS 2019 Conference, click here.

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