*GreenhouseMilk is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network – Funded by the European Commission, Framework 7. The network will provide training and facilitate research to develop genetic tools to mitigate the environmental impact of dairy systems.

The European Union produces approximately 132 million tonnes of milk from 24.3 million cows on 1.76 million farm holdings. Ruminant animals account for up to 20% of the world methane (CH4) production with the EU25 dairy population producing approximately 3.2 million tonnes of methane, a potent green house gas (GHG) per year.

Many EU countries have specific and binding commitments relating to the reduction of GHG emissions, and all sectors of the economy are under scrutiny in relation to their share in the overall emissions target. Little work has been done on the role of dairy cow genetics in dairy system emissions, particularly considering the role of genetics in the whole farming system, including feeding strategy and management policies (e.g. energy balance, housing periods, fertilisation and manure management).

GreenhouseMilk is intended to help us understand the role of energy efficiency and partitioning in the overall GHG output of dairy systems and develop innovative tools to help farmers select “environmentally friendly” bulls to suit their systems and how to manage those bulls’ daughters in an appropriate manner.

GreenhouseMilk will harness statistical and genetic tools to elucidate the genetics of emissions in dairy cattle and develop innovative and integrative tools that address the environmental impact of dairy farming.

GreenhouseMilk will build on data, resources and expertise being developed in the European Commission funded project Robust Milk.

GreenhouseMilk will examine:

  1. Causes of variation in GHG emissions in dairy cows,
  2. Genomic tools to help select for reduced GHG emissions,
  3. Integrating animal GHG emissions into farm systems models and
  4. Integrating environmental impact in breeding.

GreenHouseMilk (GHM) is working toward harnessing statistical and genetic tools to elucidate the genetics of emissions in dairy cattle and developing innovative and integrative tools that address the environmental impact of dairy farming. GHM is a Marie Curie ‘Initial Training Network’, funded by the European Commission. Research is undertaken collaboratively, across partner institutes, by early stage researchers, within PhD projects, and using expert input from experienced researchers.

Dissemination and training events are planned for later in the project – please subscribe to our distribution list to receive news of these opportunities.

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