Defra has announced its commitment to further work on methane-suppressing feed products in a bid to cut emissions from livestock.

Following a call for evidence, the department says it will work closely with industry and farmers to encourage the products' widespread adoption in England.

With innovative methane-suppressing feed products expected to enter the market from 2025, Defra's plans could, for instance, include guidance, advice and support through schemes such as the Farming Innovation Programme, Animal Health and Welfare Pathway, Environmental Land Management schemes, or the introduction of a tailor-made programme.

The Northern Farmer: Defra will work with the livestock industry to further reduce methane emissions

Defra says its ultimate objective is to encourage uptake and mandate the use of these products in appropriate cattle systems across England no later than 2030.

"We are fully committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by 2050 and it is vital that we continue to explore ways to assist farmers in sustainable food production while also further reducing emissions from agriculture," said Farming Minister Mark Spencer.

"We will continue to work closely with industry to develop a mature market and mandate the use of safe and effective methane suppressing feed products in suitable cattle systems in England as soon as feasible."

The agricultural sector in the UK accounted for ten per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, with methane emissions contributing substantially to this figure.

Ruminant livestock, particularly cows and sheep, are identified as the primary drivers of greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector. However, research has provided promising evidence that feed products with methane-inhibiting properties can significantly reduce these emissions, particularly in the case of confined cattle.