BEIJING, July 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Finding a way to help
cows belch less can help reduce global warming, a United Kingdom scientist said
Michael Abberton, a scientist at the UK-based
Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, noted the average dairy
cow belches out about 100 to 200 liters of methane each day. He said diet
changes are a key potential factor in reducing this greenhouse gas.
"There is a common misperception about how methane
gets into the atmosphere," he said. "It is actually through belching rather than
the other end."
The key is developing new varieties of food that are
easier for cattle to digest and also provide a proper balance of fiber, protein
and sugar, said Abberton.
Agriculture is responsible for about 7 percent of UK
greenhouse gas emissions and a large proportion of two of the most potent gases
with 37 percent of methane and 67 percent of nitrous oxide.
Abberton said introducing easier-to-digest legumes
that tend to reduce methane emissions is an example of an approach scientists
are beginning to explore. Legumes such as clover and alfalfa are commonly used
for animal fodder.
It also requires farmers to balance cows' legume
intake with other food and to develop different species of grass that are also
more digestible, he added.
"What I'm saying is there are approaches within plant
breeding that can lead to reduced emissions," he explained.