By Jo Finzi
Methane emissions from livestock are no joke when it comes to the environment, having been identified as one of the key contributors to climate change. Now, scientists in New Zealand think they may have the answer.
The boffins believe it may be possible to reduce the emissions with a new strain of clover.
The white clover gives cows and sheep extra protein - so also improving animal health - and at the same time reduces emissions of methane and nitrogen waste.
The scientists say that some pasture species, such as lotus (a legume) can directly reduce methane emissions by as much as 16 per cent, thanks to its condensed tannins.
However, legumes such as lotus are difficult to establish and do not keep growing in grazed pastures.
Now the scientists are working on a white clover that contains concentrations of the condensed tannins - normally only found as trace amounts in white clover and are entirely absent in grasses.
Soon, we may all be able to breathe a little more easily about the planet’s future.