European Commission releases new project to tackle climate change through functional feed in small ruminants

Kreavet participates as a supporting partner in the new EU co-funded programme, LIFE MiCliFeed, that will develop circular, bioactive feed additives for sheep and goats to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production, while at the same time improving animal health and welfare. Kreavet will provide support with statistical and socio-economic analyses.

LIFE MiCliFeed (Full name: Mitigating Climate impact of small ruminants through innovative Feeding approaches), is a co-financed project receiving € 1.1 M funding from the EU LIFE Programme (Total budget € 2.03 M) and will run for 5 years. It will use waste streams from the food industry in Southern Europe (olive, wine, nuts and carob tree production) that remain unused or are used as regular livestock feed to prepare upgraded extracts with bio-active properties that have the potential to reduce methane emissions from sheep and goats. While the use of feed additives to reduce greenhouse gas emission from livestock is not new, the use of a circular approach, upcycling waste streams is novel.  Moreover, reduction of methane emissions will be achieved not only via interaction with the ruminal microbiome leading to fermentation, but also through testing the activity of the bio-active substances against common parasitic pathogens. Through this additional effect on the parasite burden, production efficiency can be improved, and the climate impact of livestock production further mitigated. The projects will perform lab and farm experiments in the Mediterranean area to validate the approach and if successful, develop a roadmap how such an approach can be implemented across the industry. The project involves public and private partners from Greece, Italy, France, and Belgium. Project results and news will be announced at the project’s website

Sheep and goats represent approximately 56% of the world ruminant population. Besides the production of approximately 1.5 million tons of meat and 25.6 million tons of milk, small ruminants contribute to the preservation of landscapes and ecosystems while supplying products to niche markets. More than 50% of the small ruminant’s world population is in arid regions, indicating the adaptability of these animals to harsh environmental conditions and their future suitability to regions under climate change scenarios with increasing and extreme temperatures. They (especially goats) can utilize low-quality fibrous feeds and are highly valued for the multiple products they produce. Small ruminants are a major component of the dairy and meat sector in the Mediterranean region and are frequently the only possible economic activity in barren areas with poor nutrient soils. Small ruminant production in these landscapes can result in positive environmental benefits through nutrient cycling and biodiversity maintenance.

The implementation of the MiCliFeed programme will enhance the local productivity and farm supply of animal feeding through the utilisation of local resources. We expect to deliver innovative and bioactive feed to support the sustainability of local production chains.”, says Dr. Smaro Sotiraki (Hellenic Agricultural Organization, Demeter), project coordinator.

"Tannin containing plants and forages can act against methane emissions from ruminal fermentation and improve gut health through reducing parasite burdens. Now it is time to prove this can work in  practice.", says Dr. Johannes Charlier (Kreavet), researcher.



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