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How Can Cattle Farms Reduce Their Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Cattle farms can combat climate change by adopting sustainable practices like improved feed efficiency, manure management, and rotational grazing. These methods not only cut greenhouse gas emissions but also enhance farm productivity. Integrating technology, such as methane digesters, further reduces the carbon hoofprint. Want to see how these solutions can lead to a greener future for farming? Join the conversation below.

Most new parents would be overjoyed if they could get their toilet trainee to get the hang of things in only two weeks, so imagine how surprised they would be to learn that baby cows can do just that.

With the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, researchers have been teaching calves to use a "MooLoo," a latrine that collects excrement so that it can be reused as fertilizer, thus cutting down on the release of environmentally damaging nitrous oxide. “The calves’ rate of learning is within the range seen with 2- to 4-year-old children, and faster than for many children,” said Lindsay Matthews, one of the authors of the study on toilet training for calves.

Researchers “potty trained” calves, thus limiting the release of nitrous oxide caused by urine mixing with soil microbes.
Researchers “potty trained” calves, thus limiting the release of nitrous oxide caused by urine mixing with soil microbes.

It all started as a joke in 2007, when Matthews was kidded about controlling harmful ammonia emissions by potty training cows. Afterward, Matthews started taking the idea seriously, and eventually set up a training facility with 16 Holstein calves who were rewarded with treats when they used the facilities. Now, the hope is to expand to large cattle groups and get farmers involved.

Have a cow, man:

  • Studies have shown that cattle reveal their feelings through their eyes and ear positions.

  • Cattle spend up to 40 percent of their lives chewing cud.

  • Dairy cows have been shown to produce more milk when they are given names and shown affection by people.

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    • Researchers “potty trained” calves, thus limiting the release of nitrous oxide caused by urine mixing with soil microbes.
      By: K-State Research and Extension
      Researchers “potty trained” calves, thus limiting the release of nitrous oxide caused by urine mixing with soil microbes.