Alltech in tie-up with Dutch dairy nutrition firm to cut nitrogen emissions levels in dairy cattle

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Toa55
© GettyImages/Toa55

Related tags Nitrogen Heemskerk dairy cows

Global animal health company, Alltech, has partnered with Dutch dairy nutrition company, Heemskerk, on a new technology specifically designed to improve protein utilisation and reduce ammonia emissions in dairy cattle.

Heemskerk intends to bring the product to the market “in the near future”.

An additional solution to treat ammonia in manure storage facilities is also being developed. Adding a feed solution to the daily ration of cows, coupled with a manure storage facility treatment solution, could potentially see a reduction of 38 kilotons of ammonia (NH3​) per year, said Alltech.

The trigger for the collaborative action is the fact the agriculture industry in the Netherlands has been heavily hit by demands to reduce nitrogen (N2) emissions. Following a Council of State judgment, the Dutch government is now looking at how the agricultural industry can play a role in reducing overall nitrogen emissions, such as ammonia and nitrous oxide, from cows and manure.

Robbie Walker, business development manager, Alltech, told us the product it is working on with Heemskerk is a blend of technologies from both companies. 

"We are taking a two-pronged approach here: Firstly, we’ve included a natural ingredient to enable the neutralisation of ammonia. The objective is to reduce Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) and Milk Urea Nitrogen (MUN) in the animal, and, as a result, the excretion of urea and resultant release of ammonia. Secondly, we have included a non-protein nitrogen source to fuel the growth of microbial protein in the rumen. This, combined with amino acid technology, allows us to significantly reduce the level of nitrogen in the diet and the excretion of nitrogen."

Long-standing partnership  

When asked why there was a need for the two companies to collaborate on this, Walker said that Alltech has a long history of working in the area of microbial protein and has been researching these kind of products for many years, while Heemskerk brings other capabilities to the table:

"Alltech has a vast knowledge of fermentation and an expertise in amino acids and their uptake and use by animals. Heemskerk, in turn, [understands] the needs of Dutch farmers and the practical way in which the products will need to be used on-farm. This combination of scientific knowledge and on-farm needs makes for a perfect fit between the two companies."

In fact, Heemskerk and Alltech have been working together for over 15 years now and have already collaborated to bring novel technologies to the Dutch market, he added.

The issue of nitrogen utilisation and ammonia waste is a global challenge and such technology is applicable to multiple markets, not just the Netherlands, and to monogastrics as well, he noted, adding that initial research linked to this product development was focused on the reduction of ammonia in swine barns, and in poultry houses. 

"Alltech is currently working with the Irish government and the Irish agricultural sector, likewise with the agricultural sectors in the UK and Denmark [in regards to this]. Recently, we have had enquiries from Spain, New Zealand and the US [about such technologies]." 

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