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Wine “dregs” cut cow methane emissions, makes better milk

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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(Jason Turner/AP)

Scientists in Australia have published a new research paper which claims that the discarded stems, seeds and skins from wine grapes not only boosts the milk production of dairy cows but is good for the environment, reducing methane emissions by 20%.

The report, by the Victoria's Department of Primary Industries, found that milk production increased by 5% and produced more healthy fatty acids in the cow milk. "We've managed to utilise what is currently a waste product for the wine industry and turn it into a very valuable feed source," scientist Peter Moate told AFP, calling it the largest naturally-produced livestock emissions cut.

Livestock emissions are one of the often-overlooked pollution factors, creating more greenhouse gases than all of the world's automobiles. Methan is 23 times more toxic than carbon dioxide and the agriculture industry is reportedly responsible for 14% of all the world's greenhouse gases.

Moate said the milk produced is also healthier for the people drinking it. "These particular fatty acids are extremely potent in their ability to benefit heart health and are also known to help fight cancer, diabetes and arthritis," he said.

The research is part of a larger effort aimed at reducing livestock emissions, including the use of other natural feed products like brewers' grain and cold-pressed canola meal.

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