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Measuring methane in sheep – breeding for lower emissions

Dr Noirín McHugh and postgraduate student Edel O’Connor join Ciarán Lynch on this week’s OviCast to discuss the ongoing project examining methane emissions in sheep.

Noirín first highlights the importance of this work in the current climate, while Edel explains how they are using portable accumulation chambers to measure emissions from up to 72 sheep per day in Teagasc Athenry and on commercial farms.

Edel explains how much methane different ages of sheep emit and how this compares to other livestock while they discuss the variation observed in the level of emissions from sheep and Noirín explains how they have collected records on over 7000 sheep and examined the underlying genetic component.

She describes how this will be incorporated into the Sheep Ireland Index in the future to breed lower emitting sheep similar to what has happening in New Zealand.

Finally Noirín acknowledges the support to get this project off the ground which is one of the first of its kind in the northern hemisphere.

Find out more about the project here.

For more episodes visit the OviCast Podcast show page.