Methane-Reducing Feed Ingredient Gets Green Light

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has completed its multi-year review of Bovaer® — a methane-reducing feed ingredient. FDA determined the product by Elanco Animal Health Inc. meets safety and efficacy requirements for use in lactating dairy cattle.

National Milk Producers Federation also gives a nod of approval.

“Products like Elanco’s Bovaer will allow U.S. farmers to be rewarded for participating in voluntary, producer-led sustainability efforts,” says NMPF President and CEO Gregg Doud. “Consumers around the world are demanding lower-carbon foods. Bovaer is an innovation that can help U.S. dairy farmers remain globally competitive and maintain their role as leaders in more sustainable dairy production.”

Bovaer works by suppressing the enzyme in the cow’s rumen that forms methane. Feeding one tablespoon of Bovaer per lactating dairy cow per day can reduce methane emissions by about 30 percent. That’s about 1.2 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually. Meanwhile, it also creates an opportunity for dairy farmers to earn financial rewards for reducing their dairy’s carbon footprint.

Feeding 1 million cows, Bovaer can reduce emissions equivalent to more than 285,000 cars from the road annually.

Why Methane Matters

About two-thirds of all Fortune 500 companies have set significant climate commitment goals. Reducing enteric methane emissions from cattle—naturally generated through the enteric fermentation process—represents a key opportunity. By mitigating methane, the livestock industry can allow food companies and retailers to make meaningful progress toward their emissions goals.

“At an added cost of a few cents a gallon of milk, Bovaer can help food companies meet their climate commitments and consumer desire for more sustainable dairy products,” says Katie Cook, vice president of livestock sustainability and farm animal marketing at Elanco. “By engaging in voluntary carbon markets and securing USDA and state conservation programming, dairy producers have a scalable sustainability practice with the potential to create an annual return of $20 or more per lactating cow by feeding Bovaer.”