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Genetic Selection Could Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Dairy Cattle

Researchers in Spain propose mitigating methane production by dairy cattle through breeding, according to work published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Scientists are targeting reduction of enteric methane in the breeding objectives for dairy cattle to select for animals that use feed more efficiently and thus produce less methane. This study concludes that “if annual methane production per cow is included in breeding goals and ad hoc weights are placed on methane production, GHG emission from cattle could be reduced by 20% in 10 years.” This study shows the potential for selecting for environmental traits as well as producer profitability.