Innovative feed management strategies, including the use of novel feed additives and ingredients, can potentially reduce enteric methane emissions significantly from U.S. dairy herds, but only if farmers use them. One way to broaden farmer awareness of the tools available is to ensure the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Feed Management Standard 592 supports use of these ration innovations and is utilized within the conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP).
The Institute for Feed Education and Research has partnered with Dairy Management, Inc., and The Nature Conservancy (the project lead) to help NRCS evaluate the economic and social aspects of enteric emissions-reducing ingredient and additive use.
Using an NRCS conservation innovation grant, the project is combining on-farm trials and demonstrations of feed additives to provide farmers with case studies of the strategies they could employ to reduce on-farm emissions. Supporting literature will inform the efficacy of a product’s ability to reduce enteric emissions, and the on-farm trials will focus on documenting and assessing the impact of the ingredients or additives on milk production. IFEEDER is coordinating an economic assessment of the on-farm trials and expanding the cost evaluation across a broad set of national geographies, with the intent to show that farmers who reduce their on-farm emissions can be both productive and profitable.
Using DMI’s “Feed Additive Evaluation Guidance for Enteric Methane Mitigation” and the supporting “Evaluation Tool for Enteric Methane Mitigation”; AFIA members submitted products for consideration in the trials. For the project, dairy nutritionists are working with each of the on-farm trial participants to determine what product could work best for them. On-farm trials on getting underway fall 2023.
The final goal of the research is to catalyze broader adoption of the NRCS’s Feed Management Standard 592 through the EQIP program and to inform a pathway for using ration innovation within the NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The on-farm trials initiated in the fall of 2023 and results are expected by December 2024.
IFEEDER is the only public charity of its kind, conducting research about and for the entire U.S. animal food industry. Through proactive research performed in collaboration with stakeholders, IFEEDER is helping business leaders make informed decisions about the future of animal agriculture.