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Flaxseed Diets to Reduce GHG Emissions

13 March 2012

SWEDEN - Adding flaxseed (linseed) to a cows diet will reduce cows' methane gas emissions, whilst increasing the levels of omega–3 in the milk, according to a study by dairy company, Sk√•nemejerier, which was carried out on five Swedish dairy farms.

Soy and palm oil were removed from the diet, and cows were fed a locally sourced feed with a supplement of crushed flaxseed (0.7 kg per cow per day).

Skånemejerier noted an immediate increase in the omega 3 in cows' milk, and in two weeks it had risen to organic milk levels.

Based on theoretical calculations methane emissions fell by 5.4 per cent on the five farms. The change in diet did not affect milk yields or quality (fat and protein levels).

The experiment will now we carried out again at a larger dairy unit.

"This next study will look at the health effects on cows when fed no soy or palm oil, and are instead supplemented with flaxseed. What we expect to find is the above, but also increased fertility," said Lena Nyberg, director of research at Skånemejerier.

Ms Nyberg hopes that the research will help provide milk with three positive qualities, better nutrition, improved animal health and a positive influence on climate change.



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