Methane suppressing feed additive Bovaer approved for use in Canada

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT

Getty/CGinspiration
Getty/CGinspiration

Related tags Methane Greenhouse gas GHG emissions Dairy Beef Cattle ruminants Canada North america

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has authorized the use of Bovaer, a feed supplement that can suppress methane emissions from cattle.

Bovaer contains 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP), a substance that inhibits the enzyme responsible for methane formation. The additive has been found to reduce enteric methane emissions by 30% on average when fed daily to dairy cows, lowering the greenhouse gas footprint of milk by up to 15% per liter.

Canada has around 10,000 dairy farms, with an average size herd of 96 cows per farm. Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC), the organization that represents the country’s dairy farmers, set out a goal to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from farm-level dairy production (so-called scope 1 and 2) by 2050. However, it’s emissions that occur in the supply chain (scope 3) that are often the most abundant and difficult to tackle​. Feed management is among the management practices that DFC recommends to farmers to improve on, alongside livestock and manure management, energy, infrastructure and transportation, and land management, for example through carbon sequestration.

dsm-firmenich says Bovaer has the scope to be ‘an important tool’ for Canadian dairy farmers, who are likely to gain access to the feed additive ahead of their US-based counterparts. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration is yet to approve Bovaer, though this is widely expected to happen in the first half of 2024.

Mark van Nieuwland, vice-president, Bovaer, said that dsm-firmenich said that it was in the Canadian province of Alberta where the company carried out the ‘longest and largest’ trial with Bovaer, comprising 15,000 beef cattle which yielded up to 82% reductions in methane emissions, saving 1,473 tins of CO2e during the study.

“We are therefore excited today to receive the market authorization and appreciate the diligent and timely review by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency” he added. “This will benefit Canadian farmers, sustainability efforts of the sector, and support Canada in delivering on its international emissions reduction commitments such as the Global Methane Pledge.”

Canada was one of 155 countries that signed the Global Methane Pledge at COP28 in December 2023. The Pledge is a voluntary initiative where nations commit to reducing global methane emissions across all sectors by at least 30% by 2030 from 2020 levels.

dsm-firmenich says it is aiming to make Bovaer available to dairy and beef farmers ‘in the upcoming weeks’, and will work closely with the feed, dairy and beef sectors as the ingredient is rolled onto the market.

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