Mitigating Enteric Methane Emissions: How Can We Speed Up Progress? Dr. Joe McFadden, Cornell University

Posted: April 4, 2023

Podcast Topic

Joining together around the pub to discuss methane emission metrics are experts Dr. Joe McFadden and Dr. Peri Rosenstein.


Dr. Joe McFadden and Dr. Peri Rosenstein

Episode 66: Mitigating Enteric Methane Emissions: How Can We Speed Up Progress? Dr. Joe McFadden, Cornell University


Dr. McFadden, an animal science professor at Cornell University, has focused much of his research and career on studying the interactions between nutrition, environment and animal food production.

After discussing mitigating enteric methane emissions during the Real Science Lecture series, more than 600 people listened to the episode. In fact, Dr. McFadden’s research in defending the dairy industry has been highlighted in both The Hill and Time magazines.

Dr. McFadden began the conversation by mentioning he ultimately believes a percentage of total greenhouse gas emissions is methane. He went on to mention that reducing methane emissions does enhance production, and the industry should be in favor of the shift. 9:04

While methane remains a major contributor to agricultural food production, livestock emissions from the glimpse of total greenhouse gas emissions remain relatively low, raising questions on where the focus of enteric methane mitigation should be. Progress is moving the needle from management, genetics, nutrition and enhanced efficiency. Dr. Rosenstein and Dr. McFadden’s research focuses on South Asia, specifically India, as there are nearly 75 million small dairy farmers and about 300 million buffalo. Dr. McFadden shared that while the country produces around 20% of total global dairy production, it is also the highest producer of methane. 15:30

Cattle are a source of national food security and are a way of life for many people, Dr. Rosenstein added, mentioning the goal is not to pivot completely but instead offer resources to optimize cattle productivity through nutrition, animal health and breeding. 20:22

In addition to the Environmental Defense Fund studies in South Asia, Scott Sorrell, podcast host and director of global marketing for Balchem, asked about any other current research taking place. 22:03

Just recently, Dr. McFadden said the plans and proposals for the additional construction at the Cornell University research facility were implemented. He added he believes the opportunity to pivot not only allows his team the position to test the next solutions that reduce enteric methane but to continue acquiring various green feeding units. 23:25

Dr. McFadden then shifted the conversation to highlight the importance in studying feed duration through green feed study trials. Whether three weeks or three months long, he mentioned they offer a greater understanding when analyzing lactation, supplementation or even replacement strategies. 28:21

When discussing strategies for enteric methane mitigation, Dr. Rosenstein mentioned they not only have to have proper feed additives but also be safe for both humans and animals alike. 32:31

Wrapping up the conversation, Dr. McFadden summarized the urgency in being transparent on effective additives and encouraged feed manufacturing and feed additive companies to think about markets in new countries as an opportunity to collaborate and expand. 44:10

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