A synthetic chemical compound called 3-NOP, the supplement is targeted at cattle and other ruminants. It acts as a methane inhibitor, suppressing enzymes that trigger methane production.
It is now available for commercial use in Australia, a DSM spokesperson told us.
"In Australia, we have followed the relevant market approval process and can now go to market. We are starting with feedlot, and, together with NAPCo, we will explore how to reach the rest of the chain."
NAPCo CEO, Allan Cooney, said: “The inclusion of Bovaer in our supply chain is a gamechanger for us and will contribute significantly to reducing methane emissions from our herd, an important step in our drive for sustainable production.”
DSM is working closely with the Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources on a roadmap to reduce methane emissions in agriculture.
The country’s Department of Agriculture and Food estimates that direct livestock emissions account for about 70% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by Australia’s agricultural sector and 11% of total national greenhouse gas emissions. “This makes Australia’s livestock the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions after the energy and transport sectors. Livestock are the dominant source of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), accounting for 56% and 73%, respectively, of Australia’s emissions.”
Bovaer is the result of a decade of scientific research, including more than 50 peer-reviewed studies published in independent scientific journals and 48 on-farm trials in 14 countries across four continents. It has secured regulatory approval in Brazil, Chile and last month saw it authorized in the EU.
DSM has invested in a new large-scale facility in Scotland to produce the supplement, and it has a feed additive premix facility in Wagga Wagga, NSW. “We are well positioned to develop and supply Bovaer in Australian beef and dairy sectors.”
Testing the additive under local conditions
Methane-reducing feed additives and supplements, according to Australia's agricultural ministry, are most effective when grain, hay or silage is added to the diet, especially in beef feedlots and dairies.
A Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) funded trial, which ran last year, evaluated the benefits of adding Bovaer to barley-based cattle feed rations. The study was completed at the University of New England under the supervision of Professor Roger Hegarty and Dr Amelia De Almeida. It was linked to the Australian red meat industry’s target to be carbon neutral by 2030.
The trial saw a total of 20 Angus Steers provided with different rates of Bovaer, ranging from 0.5g up to 1.25g a day over 112 days, in a typical Australian feedlot finisher ration. At the lowest rate, a methane reduction of 60% was observed, and at the highest inclusion rate, methane emissions reduced by 90%.
Steers in the study had average daily gain and feed conversion ratios in line with industry expectations, with Bovaer fed steers performing as ‘good or better’ than control steers in these performance parameters, found the team.
Professor Hegarty said then that he had seen research about Bovaer from other geographies and was curious how the product would perform under Australian conditions. “We’re excited about the strong results, and we’ll continue to research how to bring this product to more extensive operations."
In New Zealand, Fonterra has been trialling Bovaer to see how the additive works in pasture-based farming systems.