Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and sustainable living, has commenced filing for EU authorization for a new feed additive for dairy cows that will reduce methane emissions by around 30% and thereby significantly reduce the environmental footprint of milk and dairy products, a key source of high quality and affordable protein around the world. The new product underlines DSM’s commitment to delivering science-based, sustainable and scalable solutions in response to the challenges our world faces today.

The feed additive is scientifically proven to cut methane emissions from dairy cows by ±30%, with its efficacy confirmed in 26 peer-reviewed studies globally. Methane is a natural byproduct of digestion in cows and other ruminants, the majority of which is released into the atmosphere through burping and breathing and responsible for more than half of the cow’s carbon footprint. Like CO2, methane is a greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change. Methane is a short-lived, but much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. Reducing global methane emissions could therefore help lower the rate of global warming in the near term, helping society stay within the 1.5-2°C maximum temperature rise indicated in the Paris Climate Agreement, while society moves to net zero carbon emissions.

Just a quarter teaspoon of the feed additive per cow per day suppresses the enzyme that triggers methane production in a cow’s stomach. Upon feeding, the additive takes effect immediately. After suppressing methane production in the stomach, it is broken down into compounds already naturally present in the cow’s stomach.

The feed additive is a result of DSM’s Project Clean Cow, a decade-long journey of research and development. It is the most extensively studied and scientifically proven solution to the challenge of burped methane to date.

“We’re excited to start registration in Europe,” said Mark van Nieuwland, program director at DSM. “This is an important milestone. Our science-based solution has the potential to be a real game-changer in the global effort to reduce the climate impact of the foods we know and love. Because of its global warming potency, mitigating methane emissions will be a powerful lever for the dairy sector to take action on the climate emergency.”

DSM’s feed additive will be available in Europe as soon as EU authorization is granted, with a launch in the region anticipated in the late 2020/early 2021 timeframe. Registrations in other regions will follow.