Ground-breaking Reaseheath-led trials on the impact of feeding biochar to cattle and its potential to reduce methane will form part of a powerful climate crisis event being held on Sunday October 11.
Simon Burgess, our Head of Projects, Research and Innovation, will join other experts who are investigating local solutions to the problem of rising greenhouse gasses. Their insights and plans for future research and action will be presented virtually by TEDxNantwich as part of the launch of ‘Countdown to Climate’, a global initiative to halve greenhouse emissions by 2030.
Biochar or ‘black gold’ is a charcoal-like substance made by burning organic material from agricultural and forestry wastes in a controlled process called pyrolysis. Research at other universities has already shown that adding biochar to feed rations can reduce the amount of methane a cow produces by between 6% and 15%.
Simon will describe planned further research by University Centre Reaseheath students which will examine biochar’s impact on milk production in dairy cattle and general cow health and longevity. The results of the trials, which will involve some of Reaseheath’s high yielding dairy cows and weaned calves, could help in the shift towards more sustainable food and farming practices. With more than 450 dairy farms in Cheshire, innovations such as this could have a marked effect on climate change and help with the county’s contribution towards national net zero targets.
Some cows will move into the robotic milking system we are currently installing alongside our current parlour. This will allow highly accurate measurements of feed and biochar intake along with statistics about milk volume and content.
Industry partners in this exciting area of research include feed manufacturers and suppliers, farmers, biochar producers and the dairy industry.
TED is a global, nonprofit organisation devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TEDxNantwich is an independently run event to help share ideas within communities.