Reducing human-caused methane emissions is one of the most cost-effective strategies to rapidly reduce the rate of warming and contribute significantly to global efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C. According to the UN environment program, methane emissions in agriculture need to be reduced by 25% by 2030 (relative to 2020 emissions) if we want to limit warming to 1.5°C at the lowest cost (United Nations Environment Programme and Climate and Clean Air Coalition, 2021¹). Methane emissions from agriculture are largely due to enteric fermentation of ruminants (more than 70%) followed by rice cultivation and manure management.
On this matter, nothing can be done without the farmers. They need to be given the tools to improve the situation on their farms. Among them, a tool to measure their methane emissions and the reduction associated with the solutions implemented on their farms would be very useful. These tools need to be easy-to-use and reliable to encourage the farmers to act. Initiatives already exist with the example of Metha’data, a database that is over 10 years old, connected with an equation that predicts methane intensity using milk fatty acids and milk production. The 300,000+ data points come from more than 7,000 farmers in over 20 countries.
Farmers, but also their entire network (dairy companies, analysis laboratories, feed manufacturers, general or specialist advisors, milk control organisations, etc.) can contribute to this goal.