Research on enviro-friendly feed additive

The Agricultural and Environmental Research Unit (AERU) at the University of Hertfordshire has been awarded a contract to research chemical additives used in livestock feed.

According to the AERU, the research will “critically evaluate the possible environmental benefits” that could be gained by introducing an additive to livestock feed, which may help reduce animal waste gases contributing to climate change.

Livestock productivity, explained the AERU, is dependent on the animals being well-kept and healthy, which means they need adequate nutrition. According to the research unit, findings have also shown that livestock feed can be improved through the use of feed additives, which can improve diet and health. Additionally, the AERU also said that if additives are used in a well-managed environment, then the profitability and performance of the farm can be increased.

Dr Kathy Lewis, reader in agri-environmental science at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “Feed additives must meet the necessary safety standards, but they can also help to deliver environmental benefits. They have an important role to play in delivering sustainable increases in productivity, but can be used to improve digestive processes in livestock, which will reduce waste production including methane, ammonia and other metabolic gases.”

The study will be funded by the European Food Safety Agency and will be completed in spring 2013. Lewis said the additive will undertake a “thorough critical and systematic review to produce a global inventory of current feed additives that offer environmental benefits”.

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