‘Rapeseed-based animal feed cuts greenhouse gases by up to 13 per cent’

The use of rapeseed cake in the production of livestock feed cuts methane and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 13 per cent, according to the initial results published this week of the research carried out by Neiker-Tecnalia within the framework of the EU Life-Seed Capital project.

Specifically, the incorporation of this oilseed plant into animal food cuts methane emissions by between six per cent and 13 per cent and carbon dioxide emissions by between 6.8 per cent and 13.6 per cent, the EU research claims.

“The introduction of this oilseed preparation into the diet of ruminants also improves efficiency in the use of digestible organic matter by between 4.4 per cent and 10.1 per cent and cuts the fermentation of the diet by between 6.2 per cent and 11.8 per cent, without adversely affecting its digestibility for this reason,” it said.

Rapeseed cake, also known as ‘oil cake’, is a by-product obtained after pressing the plant to extract its oil.

The Life-Seed Capital project is being funded by the EU through its Life+ programme and is being led by the Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development, Neiker-Tecnalia, and by the Multidisciplinary Centre for Industry Technologies CEMITEC.

The project seeks to take advantage of rapeseed crops to improve agricultural productivity and, at the same time, to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“The advantages of using this plant start from its use as a rotation crop, because it is capable of increasing cereal productivity and improving soil structure,” according to the researchers.

“Once it has been harvested, rapeseed can be used as a biofuel and added to diesel in varying proportions after simple cold pressing. A waste product in this process is used at the same time to produce animal feed with the resulting cost-cutting for farmers and greater efficiency in the emission of greenhouse gases.”