Australian scientists aim to reduce sheep burps

A farmer droving his sheep, northwest of Melbourne
File photo of a farmer droving his sheep, northwest of Melbourne. Australian scientists are working to breed a sheep that belches less, as they look for ways to reduce harmful methane emissions from the country's woolly flocks, a researcher said Sunday.

Australian scientists are working to breed a sheep that belches less, as they look for ways to reduce harmful methane emissions from the country's woolly flocks, a researcher said Sunday.

Twelve percent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions originate with agriculture, and some 70 percent of that amount is blamed on ruminant livestock, with most of it coming from burps, study leader John Goopy said.

With , almost all of the produced comes out of their mouths.

"There's not very much passed out the animal's anus at all," said Goopy, from the New South Wales Department of Industry and Investment.

Scientists are measuring the sheep's methane emissions by herding them into a specially designed booth shortly after they eat and then calculating the amount of gas belched.

They hope to find whether there is a genetic link between the sheep that produce the least methane, which could then be exploited to breed low-emissions sheep.

Of the 200 sheep so far tested, about half produced much more than average while the other half belched considerably less methane.

"The biggest single determinant of in cattle and sheep is the amount of feed they eat. But even once that is taken into account, I have found significant differences between individual animals," Goopy told AFP.

The scientist said methane has about 17 times the environmental warming capacity of , a greenhouse gas blamed for .

He said if the methane produced by Australia's 80 million or so sheep was reduced by just 10 or 15 percent in the next decade, it would have "a substantial and also a long-term impact on our emissions".

"And if we can find a hereditary link and specifically breed for that outcome it will be an ongoing reduction, it won't be a one-off."

(c) 2009 AFP


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Nov 29, 2009
This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere. Explain again, how sheep's bladders can be employed to prevent earthquakes.

jbl
Nov 29, 2009
So, if I understand correctly: Global Warming is now the SHEEP's fault?

Nov 29, 2009
And that my liege is how we know the earth to be banana shaped....

And people wonder why faith is being lost in science. At least religion talks about magic and gods. These idiots are cavorting with sheep.

This is what public schools get you. Garbage in, garbage out.

Nov 30, 2009
The problem isn't the science, its just that the global warming camp have employed less trolls to post propaganda in comments on websites like this.

Nov 30, 2009
"There's not very much passed out the animal's anus at all," said Goopy

This is probably the funniest thing I've ever seen on this site. Seriously, the guy's name is Goopy and he devotes his life to breeding "low-emissions sheep." It's pretty amazing where people try to point their fingers, especially when it's really no one's fault at all (see: recent revealing of incriminating emails from so-called climate scientists)

Nov 30, 2009
http://blogs.tele...warming/

That's the article I mentioned by the way, in case anyone was going to ask.

Nov 30, 2009
"They hope to find whether there is a genetic link between the sheep that produce the least methane, which could then be exploited to breed low-emissions sheep."

I laughed my face off with low-emission sheep ... if I manage to subdue my fits long enough I might be able to add something here... until they invent low-emission sheep .. boycott lamb chops etc for the good of our planet.

this should be on BBspot.com - don't know whether its real or someone's been on the waccy tobaccy.

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