Taking the burp out of the bovine

BY Willis Raburu  April 10, 2014 at 3:52 PM EST

Dairy Cow

A dairy cow chews grass in a field. Photo by Tony C. French/Getty Images


What does the “cow of the future” look like? Or rather smell like? If all goes according to a new plan set out by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, cows will be a lot more couth and emit a lot less methane gas by way of burps.

U.S. cows are the biggest source of methane emissions in the U.S., which produce more gas than landfill sites, natural gas leaks or even fracking.

The project seeks to raise environmentally friendly cattle by implementing a healthy diet of anti-methane gourmet grains for the cows to aid digestion.

“Ninety-seven percent of all the methane gas is released by the front end through burps, not from the back end,” Juan Tricarico, director of the Cow of the Future project, told the Financial Times.

There are more than 88 million cows in the U.S., and a typical animal emits 250-300 liters of methane a day.

One goal of the project is to reduce the carbon footprint of dairy cows by 27 percent within six years.

Cost is the greatest obstacle in the implementation of the project, especially the adoption of the necessary tools and resources. But researchers working on the project remain hopeful that this work in progress will result in a “greener cow” and a greener earth.