The UK Government has today (Tuesday, August 23) launched a UK-wide call for evidence asking the agricultural industry, scientists and the wider public for information on the use of new types of animal feed products that can reduce methane emissions from livestock.

It has opened an online consultation that is set to run for 12 weeks, closing on November 15.

The consultation has been launched in agreement with the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales as all governments are seeking to find out how farmers and agri-businesses can increase adoption of this technology to support more sustainable protein production.

It will consider the current role of feed additives within UK farming systems, and the potential barriers that could prevent the introduction of methane suppressing feed products in both the near and long-term future.  

In 2019, agriculture accounted for 10% of total UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with methane accounting for approximately 54% of agricultural emissions. The UK Government has set a target to achieve net-zero GHG emissions across the whole UK economy by 2050. To meet this target all sectors must reduce their GHG emissions.

Commenting on the consultation, UK Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said:

“We’ve set out ambitious targets to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and it’s right to consider how we can help farmers produce food sustainably and reduce emissions from agriculture further.

“Through this call for evidence we’ll better understand the promising role emerging feed additive technologies for cattle could play and how government can help drive its development.”  

“I welcome this four-nations effort to improve our understanding of the use of this innovative new technology in the sector, which will inform each government’s approach to future policy making in this area,” added Scotland Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Island, Mairi Gougeon.

These beliefs were echoed in comments by Welsh rural affairs minister, Lesley Griffiths and Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, Edwin Poots.