Beef farmers could reduce the amount of methane their cattle produce by more than a third by using supply chain data to inform their breeding decisions.
Red meat processor ABP, which operates abattoirs across the UK including Perth, has carried out research to show how methane emissions can be reduced by adopting a more data-driven approach to breeding cattle.
The multi-year study involved more than 4,000 animals at the company’s demonstration farms in Shropshire and Ireland.
It found a data-driven breeding strategy resulted in a 40% reduction in methane emissions, compared to ABP’s current average and additional returns of up to £100 per animal.
ABP technical and sustainability director Dean Holroyd said data could be used to select animals which are more efficient at converting feed to protein, reach their target weight earlier and reduce their environmental footprint.
“By harnessing data and information from across the entire supply chain from conception to plate, this research shows we can further improve economic and environmental performance of UK beef farmers in a global marketplace while also satisfying changing consumer desires for more sustainable diets,” he added.
The next stage of the project will focus on animal grazing, precision agriculture and land management.