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When the livestock feed sector innovates to restore the competitiveness of the beef cattle industry

The EPS project will evaluate the ability of new, natural feed ingredients to reduce the production of enteric methane by beef cattle.  Its aim is to respond to a major challenge in the livestock industry while proposing innovative and profitable solutions that will improve animal growth and the nutritional profile of meat.

Cow equipped with SF6 collar to measure the CH4 (methane) that it emits. © INRA, INRA
Updated on 06/21/2016
Published on 04/27/2016

French agriculture generates approximately 20% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions, 40% of them in the form of methane.  This gas is mainly produced by ruminants during digestive fermentation.  In France, cattle are the principal source of production.  Reducing emissions of enteric methane by ruminants is therefore an important goal to control global warming in France, and in the longer term worldwide.

The "Environment Performance Health" (EPS) project aims in the short term to achieve a 15-30% reduction in digestive methane emissions by ruminants thanks to changes in their diet, without any additional costs to either livestock farmers or consumers.

The objectives of the EPS project are therefore threefold: environmental, economic and nutritional.  Indeed, the solutions proposed should enable not only a reduction in methane emissions but also an improvement in production yields and the nutritional profile of beef.

In the first instance, it will be necessary to demonstrate and quantify the efficiency of natural feed ingredients that are active on reducing greenhouse gas emissions during the growth and finishing of beef cattle.  An evaluation will then be made of the economic  value of the feed, the objective being no additional costs for the breeder.  The results of the project should enable consolidation of the territorial strength of cattle production, with positive repercussions for sectors both upstream (local cereal production) and downstream (a more dynamic market due to local, eco-designed supplies).  Finally, thanks to its specific ingredients, the ration should be modified considerably and benefit the fatty acid profiles of meat, thus improving its nutritional quality.

The three partners involved in the project are Thivat, the livestock subsidiary of the cereal firm Axéréal and leader in animal nutrition in the Centre-Auvergne region of France, Idena (Innovation et Développement En Nutrition Animale, or Innovation and Development in Animal Nutrition), a service company based in the Loire-Atlantique region, and INRA, via its Herbivores Joint Research Unit (UMR1213 Herbivores) and its Herbipôle Experimental Unit (UE1414 Herbipôle), which belong to the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Research Centre (Theix site), and which enjoy an international reputation for their studies on how to reduce enteric methane emissions and identify determinants for the nutritional and sensory qualities of beef.

Accredited and supported by the Céréales Vallée Competitiveness Cluster, this 30-month project (2015-2017), which has an overall budget of €1.5 million, has also received support from the Commissariat General for Investment via the Investments for the Future Programme (PIA2) managed by ADEME in the context of the call for projects on Eco-efficient Industry and Agriculture.

Scientific contact(s):

Associated Division(s):
Animal Physiology and Livestock Systems
Associated Centre(s):

Find out more

.. © ADEME

The "Eco-efficient Industry and Agriculture" call for projects, issued by ADEME (http://www.ademe.fr/) in the context of the Investments for the Future (PIA) programme, aims to support innovative projects in industry, agriculture and forestry that comply with at least one of the following objectives:

  • production that uses less energy and emits lower levels of greenhouse gases;
  • production using less materials and/or water

The ADEME "Eco-efficient Industry and Agriculture" call for projects is open until 30 November 2016, with an interim closure on 9 May 2016, for a response within three months.  Any company that wishes to submit a project is asked to first of all contact the ADEME teams at (ami.industrie.agriculture@ademe.fr).


Contact IDENA

Contact Thivat