Op-Ed: Cow Burps Reduced With New Diet

Posted Jun 29, 2009 by Sandy Sand
It’s a pretty sure thing that cows would say “pardon me” after belching, but they can’t and they don’t and it's not their fault; it's the fault of dumb humans.
The Hereford breed was selected to provide DNA for the generation of the bovine genome and this cow ...
The Hereford breed was selected to provide DNA for the generation of the bovine genome and this cow, named L1 Dominette 01449, was chosen for sequencing.
Photo by: Michael MacNeil, USDA
And if our bovine friends could talk, the ones in captivity would probably also say, “Stupid people, stop feeding us gaseous food and let us forage freely for what nature intended us to eat.”
A few dairy farmers in Coventry, Vermont, are getting smart and doing just that…well, the natural feed part, not the roam the range freely part.
Approximately two percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas production is contributed by the dairy industry, said Rick Naczi, a vice president at Dairy Management Inc., which funds and promotes dairy research and dairy products.
Most of the noxious emissions from cows comes from the animals’ front ends, rather than their tail ends. In other words, they burp up a storm, and the culprit is their corn- and soy-based diet foisted on them by dumb humans, even after finding out that cows are allergic to that kind of food, causing the animals to produce voluminous amounts of gas.
All that gas must also cause the cows a great deal of discomfort, too. It certainly does with humans.
Coventry Valley Farm is trying to change all that. Working with 14 other dairy farms in association with Stonyfield Farm Inc, they are attempting to reduce the cows’ intestinal methane production by feeding them flaxseed, alfalfa and grasses high in Omega 3 fatty acids.
Naczi said all this is being done:
To satisfy consumers' demands for sustainable production, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy in Rosemont, Ill., is looking at everything from growing feed crops to trucking milk to reduce the industry's greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. That would be the equivalent of removing about 1.25 million cars from U.S. roads every year.
Nancy Hirschberg, head of Stonyfield's Greener Cow Project, said:
One way is by feeding cows alfalfa, flax and grasses, all high in Omega 3s, instead of corn or soy.
Every now and then the public is heard and this time it’s to the benefit of the herd as well as the environment.
I’m sure if the cows could talk, they would say stop saying “pass the Tums” and “thank you” for giving them feed they can digest.