A study conducted at the Victorian Government’s Ellinbank SmartFarm has found a biological feed supplement for livestock reduces methane emissions in dairy cattle.

The feed supplement, Mylo®, was already scientifically-proven to lift weight gain and improve health in calves, and it has been shown to increase milk productivity, and reduce somatic cell count in cows.

But Terragen managing director and chief executive Jim Cooper said this new study, based at Australia’s pre-eminent dairy research facility Ellinbank SmartFarm, showed the product also reduced methane emissions from cows.

“In the study, the cows not on Mylo® emitted 7.5% more methane per litre of milk,” Cooper said.

“The average Australian dairy farm – which has 350 cows – whose cows are being fed Mylo® and emitting less methane would be producing the equivalent of 100 tonnes less carbon dioxide per year.”

“This is a reduction in CO2 emissions of almost 300kg per cow, per year.”

Cooper said cows that received the baseline dose of 10ml of Mylo® per day gained 21% more weight than the control cows over a five-week period, a finding which has benefits for the broader cattle industry. More research at Ellinbank SmartFarm is planned to determine if higher doses of Mylo® will reduce methane emissions further. Mylo® has been available in Australia since 2018 and is now part of the diet of 60,000 dairy cows each day, and around 80,000 calves each year.

Terragen Chief Scientist Dr Martin Soust said Mylo® had already achieved significant results, with cows on the feed supplement eating less while producing 3% more milk, and calves putting on about 8% more weight and weaning up to 10 days earlier.

“Earlier research conducted at the University of Queensland showed our products work,” Dr Soust said.

“The study at the Ellinbank SmartFarm shows that Mylo® can reduce methane emitted by a cow, increase milk production, and improve feed conversion efficiency.” Dr Soust added.

Mylo® is in use across 125 dairy farms Australia-wide.

  • Mylo® is ready right now – it has been sold in the Australian market for four years and is now being sold in New Zealand
  • One in 23 Australian dairy cows take Mylo® daily
  • Mylo® improves productivity and cow health (including a reduction in somatic cell count)
  • Using Mylo® is cost effective for the farmer and has a high return on investment of at least 5:1
  • Production of Mylo® can be scaled easily to meet growing demand
  • Mylo® is a certified organic input in Australia and NZ
  • Mylo® is a livestock feed supplement that is approved for use in Australia and NZ

The study was conducted at Agriculture Victoria Research, Ellinbank SmartFarm, Victoria, in October and November 2021. The Ellinbank SmartFarm is owned by the Victorian Government and it is one the world’s most highly respected dairy research farms. Forty lactating, Holstein- Friesian cows were used in the study. Two separate treatments, being a control treatment and a Mylo® treatment, were allocated to cows at random (20 cows per treatment). The cows in the Mylo® treatment group received 10mL/day of Mylo®. The study ran for 40 days (five days baseline without the experimental diet, 30 days adaptation with the experimental diet and five days of methane measurements with the experimental diet). The modified sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer technique was used to estimate methane emissions from individual cows.

Milk production from individual cows was measured at each milking. Liveweight of each individual cow was recorded twice daily. Terragen [pronounced “Te-rra-jn”] develops and markets probiotics for agricultural applications. Each product uses a combination of naturally occurring live microbe strains selected to help boost the productivity, welfare and resilience of farm production animals and address soil health.

Terragen’s aim is to increase farm productivity through the use of these products, while providing improved environmental sustainability that will be attractive to consumers and farmers. Terragen has two products on the market in Australia and NZ: a microbial feed supplement for animals known as Mylo®, and a soil conditioner called Great Land Plus®.