Supplementing low-quality diets with dry distilled grains with solubles (DDGS) can be a promising strategy for reducing methane emissions from sheep, according to an Argentinian research.

Livestock productivity is usually low in tropical and subtropical areas due to the poor nutritional value of forages, the researchers explain. This leads to high absolute emissions of methane per unit of product.  

DDGS with their high-energy fibrous and protein content are an option for supplementing low-quality forage. Alongside the productive benefits, the inclusion of DDGS also brings lower methane emissions. According to the study, the daily reduction reaches 24%. 

The researchers also point out that the production of enteric methane is a significant loss of the energy contained in feed.

The study is noteworthy as the agricultural sector needs to feed a growing human population and at the same time play its role in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Methane has a much higher warming effect than carbon dioxide, although the latter has a longer-lasting impact. 

Enteric fermentation from ruminants accounts for 39% of all GHG emissions from the livestock sector and between 11% and 13% of global methane emissions, according to data cited by the scientists.

In addition, as DDGS are a by-product from ethanol production thеir use supports circularity in agriculture.

The tests involved eight sheep and two treatments, using Rhodes grass hay alone and hay plus DDGS as feed. The study was published in September 2022 by MDPI.