Genetic scientists from the University of Aarhus in Denmark have been using DNA technology to create a new kind of super grass that could potentially be digested more efficiently by cows, thus reducing the amount of methane gas they produce by burping, as well as seeing milk production increase.

The £1.6 million project could see this super grass grown on farms worldwide. It’s estimated that approximately 90 million metric tonnes of methane gas is released into the atmosphere annually because of cows burping and this is just one of several different projects intended to help reduce this, the Independent reports.

Senior researcher Torben Asp was quoted by the news source as saying: “It will simply create a better diet for the cow, which can utilise the feed more efficiently and therefore they don't release as much methane when they burp.”

Meanwhile, over in the US, the California Air Resources Board is working towards reducing emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 by targeting the enteric fermentation of the 5.5 million beef and dairy cows in California.

According to the Guardian, the regulator recently published a strategy document stating that new diets for cows, better manure management practices and gut microbial interventions could help slash the amount of methane released into the atmosphere. And now state legislators are looking into a bill to bring these suggestions into being.

There have been a lot of interesting ideas brought to light over the last couple of years to help tackle the problem of the amount of methane produced by cattle. One of the more intriguing ones has to be the decision by Argentina’s National Institute for Agricultural Technology (INTA) governmental research body to develop backpacks for cows that trap the methane produced so it can then be turned into green energy.

Apparently, these backpacks extract some 300 litres of methane daily from a tube that’s inserted into the cow’s digestive tract, converting it into enough energy to power a car for 24 hours. A few years ago, INTA’s Pablo Sorondo told FastCoExist that while the project is not an ongoing one, the hope is that the technology will be used on a much larger scale.

“We believe that such technology could be used to collect methane on a larger scale and even imagine a future farm with a couple of these cows used to provide energy to satisfy the farm’s needs,” Mr Sorondo went on to say.

Similar work has been ongoing at the Lacombe Research Centre in Edmonton in Canada. Each cow has a transponder on its ear and as they eat, a solar-powered fume hood captures the exhalations, with gases in the atmosphere read by laser beams that surround the pasture.

While human activity may not produce much methane, the gas is one of the best at trapping heat so it has a greater impact on climate change than carbon dioxide does. As such, we’re sure to hear more about projects such as these as time goes on.

Do you need cow udder spray? See what we’ve got available here at Day & Sons today.