Breweries may have found a new partner in their efforts to fight climate change: dairy cows.
According to a new study by Belgium’s Institute for Agricultural, Fisheries, and Food Research (ILVO), cows fed on a mixture that contains grains leftover from the brewing process emit less methane than those who eat standard feed. (Methane, a greenhouse gas, is one of the major causes of climate change.)
Dairy farmers ready to get in on the beer action should take note, though. ILVO’s Sam De Campeneere stressed that the benefits of using spent grains are only possible when they are mixed with rapeseed meal — itself a leftover byproduct of canola oil production — and not just on their own.
While further study is needed to understand precisely why this combination is the most effective, the results are notable: up to a 13 percent reduction in methane per liter of milk produced.
According to dairy farmer Raf Nagels, the cows “love” their new feed, which is higher in protein and easier to digest. Given its other health benefits, this is one more reason to root for Belgian beer.