ViableCow: Sustainable ruminant production: Feed, microbiome and immune efficiency in low and high methane emitting dairy cows
The digital revolution and sustainability requirements are changing the way livestock farming is organized. What is needed to make ruminant production more sustainable? The ViableCow project will apply a progressive interdisciplinary approach to delineate interactions between feed, microorganisms, immune response and greenhouse gas emissions to feed efficiency in ruminants.
The visions of achievement are (1) to develop a model for predicting feed efficiency from methane and carbon dioxide emission data that can be incorporated into farm accounting tools, national inventory methodology and breeding programs;
(2) to quantify the resources (immune efficiency, exploitation of the microbial potential, digestion efficiency) available to efficient cows and to low methane emitting cows (relevant for breeding program);
(3) to elucidate whether the microbiome and methane emission are heritable and to what extent they can be modified by rumen manipulation (exchange of rumen content) and nutrition (novel combination of feed additives).
The combination of feed additives to effectively reduce the environmental impact of ruminant livestock is likely to become more widely used. ViableCow will provide potential solutions for more sustainable ruminant production in the short term (nutritional strategy, digitalization, national inventory methodology) and in the longer term (breeding strategy, ruminant health).