UK- The United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) has affirmed its commitment to collaborating with the agriculture industry to mitigate methane emissions in livestock by utilizing methane-reducing feed additives in England.

Defra has announced its intention to work closely with industry stakeholders and farmers to promote the widespread adoption of these additives in England, following a call for evidence to gain a deeper understanding of the opportunities and challenges linked to methane-reducing products.

This commitment aligns with the objectives outlined in the Environmental Improvement Plan, which seeks innovative approaches to reduce agricultural emissions.

Methane-reducing feed additives encompass a range of solutions, including methanogenesis inhibitors, seaweeds, essential oils, organic acids, probiotics, and antimicrobials. These products are expected to enter the UK market by 2025. 

Following the call for evidence on the potential role of these additives, Defra is outlining a comprehensive plan that may involve providing guidance, advice, and support through various initiatives such as the Farming Innovation Programme, Animal Health, and Welfare Pathway, Environmental Land Management schemes, or the introduction of a tailor-made program.

A summary of the responses to the call for evidence has been jointly developed with the devolved administrations and forms part of broader efforts across the UK to combat greenhouse gas emissions, including the Net Zero Growth Plan. 

Defra’s ultimate objective is to establish a mature market for these additives, promote their adoption, and, when feasible, mandate their use in appropriate cattle systems throughout England by 2030.

We are fully committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 2050, and it is vital that we continue to explore ways to assist farmers in sustainable food production while further reducing emissions from agriculture,” the farming Minister Mark Spencer stated.

He added that the government would continue to work closely with industry to develop a mature market and mandate safe and effective methane-suppressing feed products in suitable cattle systems in England as soon as feasible.

These initiatives align with the government’s response to the 2023 Climate Change Committee Progress Report, which recommended the mandatory inclusion of methane-inhibiting additives in feed products for UK beef and dairy systems.

Last week, the government of Ireland also expressed its support for scientific advancements in feed additives aimed at reducing methane emissions from livestock. Feed additives were tested in indoor beef systems and showed potential for pasture-based systems. 

Additionally, research demonstrated significant potential for slurry additives to inhibit and reduce emissions from manure storage.