Bovine Burps Go Bio!

Emily Wither, ABC News London

Farmers in Britain are changing the diet of their cows, in the latest bid to save the environment.

By serving the revolutionary diet to their cows, farmers hope to improve the animals' digestion and reduce the amount cows burp.

Cattle gas is not very environmentally-friendly; it’s thought cows' belching across the world accounts for 5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Cows will now chow down on a mix of hay and straw, materials usually used for cattle’s bedding. The foul-tasting mixture will be coated with syrup to disguise the taste, transforming the blend into an irresistible meal.

Initial trials in Wales with 2,600 dairy farmers show the diet boosts milk yield per cow by up to 4 liters a day, while at the same time lowering methane emissions. Early results show a 20 percent drop in the amount of gas produced for each liter of milk.

If all farmers in Britain were to adopt the new diet,  it’s thought that 1.6 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere could be removed each year.

Dairy U.K., the institution behind the initiative, is working on a number of projects across the country in a bid to make a "greener pint of milk."

Dairy U.K. Director General Jim Begg told ABCnews.com he is very excited about the project.  "Everyone knows that cows produce methane and the presumption is that nature must take its course. But this terrific initiative in Wales shows how we can make the dairy sector even greener and give consumers the low-carbon products they want."

Gerald Watkin farms a herd of 125 cows in Wales. After taking part in the trial, he declared it a great success. "My cows produce more milk and less gas as a result of this new diet. Whichever end you look at it from, I’m now enjoying the sweet smell of success."

He explained to ABCnews.com how the new food helps. "Fiber in the diet means feed is fermented more efficiently in the largest of the cow’s four stomachs --the rumen. Other benefits include healthier animals and more consistent quality milk."

The dairy industry now hopes this wind of change will sweep the nation.

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