Flower power at heart of methane reduction research

Published: 11 July 2023

SRUC scientists’ research into reducing cattle methane emissions using a chemical from daffodils is part of a project awarded £2.8 million by the Department for Environmental Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The scientists successfully extracted a chemical called haemanthamine from the plants. In the laboratory, using an artificial cow's stomach, they showed it could reduce emissions by 30 per cent when added to feed.

In partnership with Innovate UK, The Dancing with Daffodils project, which is being run by a consortium including SRUC, will look at transforming the efficiency and sustainability of ruminant farming.

Daffodils Spring Img 6855 Sm

The partnership organisations also include Rumenco, Agroceutical Products Ltd, Analox Group, Beneve Ltd, Bioextraction Ltd, Bangor University, CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock), Grampian Growers Ltd and Wynnstay.

“New innovations are required to address the need to maintain ruminant production while decreasing the environmental consequences. We are delighted to be involved in such an innovative project with a wide range of partners.”

Professor Jamie Newbold, SRUC

SRUC will be involved in the evaluation of the newly developed feed additive and will also be responsible for assessing the dose of feed additive with the greatest potential to reduce methane emissions and improve feed digestion efficiency at farm level.

 “The project will focus on the development of an innovative feed additive to reduce methane emissions and enhance protein utilisation in ruminants. Secondly, the cultivation of a new cash crop, daffodils, for farm diversification purposes, and then finally the creation of a precision on-farm gas analyser to monitor methane emissions.

“Currently, livestock farming faces scrutiny in terms of its environmental impact and resource utilisation, particularly when it comes to methane contributions.

“Through the project, we can work to address these challenges head-on, and find a practical solution for making livestock farming more sustainable.”

Annie Williams, Business Development Manager, CIEL

The consortium will work closely with farmers, industry stakeholders, and policymakers throughout the project's lifecycle to ensure alignment with the sector's needs and priorities.

By fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange, the consortium aims to bring tangible benefits to the farming community while contributing to national and global sustainability goals.


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