DSM’s methane reducing feed additive approved for use in Brazilian and Chilean ruminant markets

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Erich Sacco
© GettyImages/Erich Sacco

Related tags methane emissions Dsm Bovaer Latin America

DSM has received full regulatory approval from the Brazilian and Chilean authorities to commercialize Bovaer, its methane-reducing feed additive for ruminants.

These first market authorizations, covering beef, dairy, sheep and goats, mark a significant milestone for the company, said DSM.

The approval follows over 10 years of research on the additive; the R&D endeavor for Bovaer, Project Clean Cow, included 45 on-farm trials in 13 countries across four continents, and more than 48 peer-reviewed studies.  “This is a major step in our commercialization journey for Bovaer, and consequently towards realizing more sustainable beef and dairy production across the globe.”

Reduction in enteric methane emissions 

Just a quarter teaspoon of Bovaer per cow per day consistently reduces enteric methane emission by around 30% for dairy cows and even higher percentages (up to 90%) for beef cows, claims DSM.

Upon feeding, the additive takes effect immediately, said the company. After suppressing methane production in the stomach, it is broken down into compounds already naturally present in the cow's stomach, explained the producer.

A beef trial with the additive at Sao Paolo State University (UNESP) in Brazil, conducted in 2016-2017, showed enteric methane emission reductions up to 55%, reported the producer. 

Mauricio Adade, president, DSM Latin America, said that study highlights the potential of Bovaer for “radically more sustainable cattle farming”​ in that region.  

Weighing in also on the registration news, Mark van Nieuwland, program director at DSM, noted the recent IPCC’s climate change report highlighted that a rapid reduction of methane emissions could reduce the spread of global warming in the near term and have a positive effect on air quality. “We know the agricultural and livestock sectors recognize this opportunity for change and are eager to act. So this regulatory approval comes in at due time."

Global impact 

Evaluating the opportunity that the Chilean and Brazilian markets represent, he told FeedNavigator that Brazil has one of the largest cattle herds in the world, at around 230 million, ranking number two globally in terms of beef production while coming in at number four in dairy production.

"Brazil has the biggest commercial herd worldwide. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from livestock represent around 19,2% (about 280 Mt CO2 eq/year) of the total national greenhouse gas emissions. With the proven effect of Bovaer to reduce methane emissions by approximately 30% for dairy cows and even higher percentages for beef cows, the potential contribution to greenhouse gas emission reduction in Brazil is significant and has potentially a global impact."

Chile, he noted, has a cattle herd of about 2.9 million, while GHG emissions from its agricultural sector represents 15% of the total GHG emissions nationally. "Of that, 34.5% consists of methane from enteric fermentation from livestock (around 5 Mt CO2 eq/year)."

So, likewise, the feed additive has the potential to become a key tool to reduce such emissions generated by the farming sector in Chile, he said. 

Commercial readiness 

Have offtake agreements been secured in those countries?

"Discussions are ongoing with a number of long-term partners with whom we have worked with over the past years to prepare for market launch," ​confirmed the program lead.

In which markets would DSM expect to see the next registration coming through for the methane reducing product?

"We have recently filed for registration in a number of countries, and we anticipate further approvals for Bovaer in the EU, LatAm and Oceania over the next six months,"​ said van Nieuwland.

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