Making milk low-methane

Date: 22.05.2023Source: dsm-firmenich

Bel Group has taken a decisive step towards low-methane milk in one of its major dairy basins. Having successfully completely a series of pilot tests for Bovaer®, a revolutionary feed additive by dsm-firmenich that reduces livestock methane emissions, Bel is now starting to roll out this pioneering solution to the majority of its dairy producers in Slovakia.

With food playing a critical role in the fight against climate change, by addressing both CO2 and methane emissions at farm level, Bel is a pioneer in the search for revolutionary solutions, committed to the 1.5°C trajectory which aims to limit global warming to below this threshold. With the support of its partner farmers, Bel aims to deploy the solution to all 10,000 cows supplying milk in Slovakia. This will cut methane emissions by 1/4 for each farm and represent an overall yearly 400-ton methane reduction, or 11,000 tons of CO2 e.g. – the equivalent of taking over 3,300 family-sized cars off the road.

In line with its mission to champion responsible food, Bel thus aims to make its dairy products low methane. Deploying Bovaer® at scale demonstrates the Group’s and dsm-firmenich’s determination and pioneering spirit in the search for innovative, concrete, and effective solutions to combat climate change.

Said Simon Bonnet, Bel Group Milk Purchasing Director: “Deploying this revolutionary solution to our Slovakian dairy basin is proof that we are taking decisive steps towards a low-methane future for dairy. At Bel, we are incredibly proud to be able, together with our partner farmers, to bring innovative solutions and transform the agricultural model to make it more sustainable and responsible. After deploying in Central Europe, we aim to make low-methane milk a reality in other markets as well. We’ve carried out 900 carbon diagnostics at our partner farms, showing that methane emissions represent about half of the greenhouse gas emissions of a dairy farm – the potential for change is enormous.”

Added Mark van Nieuwland, VP Bovaer, dsm-firmenich: “At dsm-firmenich, our purpose is to bring progress to life, committed to pushing the boundaries of science and technology to make the world we live in more sustainable. Bringing new innovations to market is only possible with the support of pioneering players such as Bel Group. This large-scale deployment of our promising Bovaer® solution shows that the future of low-methane milk is here.”

This new feed additive has been the subject of scientific studies conducted by several research institutes and universities, including INRAE in France, Wageningen University in the Netherlands, and UC Davis in the United States. It is also validated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Bovaer® respects the well-being of cows, consumers, and the environment. After acting to suppress methane production in the cow’s stomach, it is naturally broken down into elements already present and processed by the animal’s metabolism, without affecting production volumes or milk quality.

Once the roll-out is complete in Slovakia, consumers will be able to choose tasty, low-methane Babybel® products made in Bel’s Slovakian plant with 100% Slovakian milk and destined for Central Europe (Germany, Czech Republic, and Slovakia) as well as the UK.  For more visit dsm-firmenich.com

David Cox / IDM

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