Does methane production by cows pollute the environment?
Ruminant animals release methane as a by-product of digestion. This process is called enteric fermentation. In South Africa, agriculture accounts for about 9% of greenhouse gas emissions, of which 60% is derived from methane in enteric fermentation of livestock and game farming.
The dairy industry accounts for only about 10% of the methane emissions in South Africa owing to the comparatively small scale of the industry. Research into the utilisation of this methane for energy production and the reduction of methane emissions by the dairy sector is ongoing.