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Crowcon (UK’s) portable LaserMethane® Detector is helping Tesco to monitor cows on its dairy farms. Cows are a major source of methane emissions globally.

The research, which is being conducted at the Tesco Dairy Centre of Excellence, in partnership with the University of Liverpool’s School of Veterinary Science, is part of an ongoing project by Tesco to measure the amount of methane released by cows on different farms under different management and feeding regimes.

The research is part of a larger, ongoing project to help Tesco’s dairy farmers reduce their environmental impact. According to Tesco’s Dairy Agriculture Manager, Emma Jones: “By working with our farmers, our aim is to reduce the overall environmental impact of milk production methods and dairy product supplied to Tesco. I look forward to seeing how we can use the results to the benefit of our farmers and the wider dairy industry.”

The LaserMethane® Detector is a hand held device which is held about three metres away from a cow and aimed at its mouth for five minutes, recording the amount of methane emitted. This is performed four times a day over a 24 hour period on ten dairy farms, with 100 cows taking part. The results will allow Tesco to determine variations on each farm and see if they are related to the time of feeding and the type of feed.

Dr Rob Smith of the University of Liverpool, who is conducting the research on Tesco’s behalf, commented: “This is the first time the laser methane device has been used on commercial dairy farms to see if the theoretical differences in methane production due to diet and management are actually seen in practice. This is a small scale initial trial to test the approach practically, but I am excited about the potential to understand more about how different feeds and farm management can reduce cow methane output.”

Crowcon’s Product Manager, Raxa Chauhan, added, “The LaserMethane® Detector allows users to accurately and reliably detect methane at a distance in industrial, commercial and domestic applications. Our instrument has shown its versatility and proven to be ideal for methane emissions monitoring in farming too. It is completely portable and can be taken from farm to farm. It also has a data-logging facility which allows users, like Tesco, to store, download and analyse all the data for their methane emission calculations. These calculations can then be combined with the carbon emission figures from dairy processing, packaging, transport and storage to form a total emissions figure.”

“A similar trial has also been conducted in Scotland and a number of leading dairy producers are also considering undertaking similar trials in the future,” added Raxa.

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