It is possible methane vaccines for cattle will be developed in the future, Professor Frank Mitloehner has said.

“In the future, I think we will also have other technologies, such as vaccines that will help us reduce enteric methane from animals,” he said

Speaking at a Teagasc Signpost webinar, Mitloehner outlined a number of ways enteric methane (produced by ruminants) can be reduced, including feed additives and breeding.

“Methane is a heritable trait. You can now breed for low methane-producing cows,” he said.

Supply chain partnership

Mitloehner, a professor at University California, Davis (UC Davis), added that he feels in the future there will be an increasing number of large global companies at the end of the supply chain that will financially support farmers in practices to reduce emissions.

He referenced current partnerships both Nestlé and Starbucks have with farmers to supply more sustainable milk.

“If the Nestlés and the Starbucks are going to reduce their emissions, they need to help the farmers that supply them with their produce to reduce their emissions.

“So these companies buy feed additives and give them to the farmers to be used. In the future, I think there will be many of these cases where the end users of what comes from farming will pay farmers to reduce emissions.

“If the farms reduce emissions, then they do as well,” he said.