World’s first large-scale on-farm use of the feed additive
Dutch dairy company Royal FrieslandCampina, DSM and feed supplier Agrifirm have successfully incorporated Bovaer into the regular farming activities of 158 dairy farms in the Netherlands in the world’s first large-scale on-farm use of the methane-reducing feed additive for cattle. The six-month program, which started in 2022, confirmed that Bovaer can easily be introduced at scale without affecting animal health, milk production or milk composition. This work supports the quicker adoption of Bovaer by the dairy sector, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping the Netherlands to reach its climate targets.
In 2022, extensive project was launched to gain practical experience with Bovaer, involving more than 20,000 cows and 158 farms. The successful collaboration between the member dairy farmers of FrieslandCampina, DSM and Agrifirm led to a decrease of 10,000 tons of CO2e in methane emissions (an average of 28% less enteric methane emissions). The project’s success also opens the door for Bovaer to be more easily implemented across the entire Dutch dairy herd. This move toward sustainability in the Dutch dairy industry stands to benefit consumers and farmers alike. Starting this year, farmers that are using Bovaer in their feed can be recognized for its use through the KringloopWijzer (Annual Nutrient Cycling Assessment), the carbon footprint tool of the Dutch Dairy Sector (ZuivelNL).
Lars van den Nieuwenhof owns a farm with 125 dairy cows with his parents in Someren, North Brabant. He participated in FrieslandCampina’s pilot to reduce greenhouse gases on his farm with Bovaer.
“As an industry, we are at a tipping point,” he said. “We have to move along and try to reduce methane emissions. We were therefore eager to participate in this pilot. Moreover, participation is low-threshold and it requires little effort. The Bovaer is mixed into the minerals we feed to the cows. Every day we mix the minimum dose of 150 grams of those minerals through the ration. We also participated in workshops to exchange experiences with other participants. I am definitely satisfied with the results. The cows are producing well, are healthy, vital and fertile. We will continue to use the feed additive. I am happy that we can make an additional contribution to reducing our impact on the climate.”
Together with André Kleistra, Jelle Heida has a dairy farm with 400 cows in Hoornsterzwaag, Friesland. Like other farmers, they have invested in mono-manure fermentation and a nitrogen stripper and farm in a way that suits them: efficient and environmentally friendly.
“I participated in the Bovaer pilot because I was curious whether the feed additive would affect the fermentation process,” Heida said. “I did not notice any effect as we added Bovaer to the ration. We also did not observe any changes in the health of our cows or in their milk production and composition. It was an interesting experience in which I learned a lot about how Bovaer works. I’m very positive that through our participation, we experienced a simple and safe way to further reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”
The successful collaboration between Bovaer and the member dairy farmers of FrieslandCampina has opened the door for Bovaer to be implemented across the entire Dutch dairy herd. This move toward sustainability in the Dutch dairy industry will benefit farmers and consumers alike.
Together with its member dairy farmers, FrieslandCampina aims to achieve a 33% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions on its member dairy farms by 2030 (vs. 2015). It is therefore working on various solutions to achieve this, such as using guaranteed deforestation-free soy in cattle feed, digestion of manure, generating sustainable energy on farms and reducing cow methane emissions using Bovaer.
“Together with our member dairy farmers, we are working towards producing net climate-neutral dairy by 2050 at the latest,” said Sanne Griffioen, director of farm sustainability at FrieslandCampina. “It requires continuous improvement and innovation to reach our targets. We are proud to be the first dairy company in Europe to gain valuable practical experience with Bovaer on a large scale. I am very happy with the results of the pilot and the feedback from our member dairy farmers. We are looking forward to continue our journey with our partners, clients and members.”
“We are delighted with the positive feedback from the dairy farmers involved in this large-scale pilot project in the Netherlands, which has confirmed the potential of our innovative Bovaer feed additive,” said Mark van Nieuwland, vice president of Bovaer DSM. “We look forward to continuing our partnership with FrieslandCampina and Agrifirm to ensure Bovaer reaches more cows and makes an even greater contribution to tackling agricultural methane emissions. With these developments we also play a key role in supporting the near-term climate goals of the Global Methane Pledge, signed by more than 150 countries including the Netherlands.”