Milk goes green - cows that receive recombinant Bovine
Somatotropin (rbST) make more milk, all the while easing
natural resource pressure and substantially reducing environmental
impact, according to a Cornell University study.
Producing milk uses large quantities of land, energy and
feed, but rbST - the first biotech product used on American
farms - has been in agricultural use for nearly 15 years.
Now, it is found to reduce the carbon hoofprint by easing
energy, land and nutritional inputs necessary to sustain milk
production at levels sufficient to meet demand.
This research found that, compared to a non-supplemented
population, giving rbST to one million cows would enable the
same amount of milk to be produced using 157,000 fewer cows.
The nutrient savings would be 491,000 metric tons of corn,
158,000 metric tons of soybeans and total feedstuffs would
be reduced by 2,300,000 metric tons.
Producers could reduce cropland use by 219,000 hectares and
reduce 2.3 million tons of soil erosion annually.
In 2007, there were 9.2 million cows in the United States.
For every one million cows supplemented with rbST, the world
would see an environmental saving of 824 million kilograms
of carbon dioxide, 41 million kilograms of methane and 96,000
kilograms of nitrous oxide.
For every one million cows supplemented with rbST, the reduction
in the carbon footprint is equivalent to removing approximately
400,000 family cars from the road or planting 300 million
"Supplementing cows with rbST on an industry-wide scale would
improve sustainability and reduce the dairy industry's contribution
to water acidification, algal growth and global warming" -
says Judith L. Capper, Cornell post-doctoral researcher and
the lead author of - 'The Environmental Impact of Recombinant
Bovine Somatotropin (rbST) - Use in Dairy Production'.