The Controversial Quest to Make Cow Burps Less Noxious

Their incessant belching loads the atmosphere with planet-warming methane. But it’s not so simple as just feeding them gas-busting seaweed.

It’s an oppressively hot morning in the barnyard, even in the shade of the long open-air structure where the cows come to feed. On a typical farm, they would gather around a trough, but here at UC Davis they chow from special blue bins, which detect when and how much each one eats. It’s like Weight Watchers, only researchers here aren’t so much interested in these cows’ figures, but how much they burp.

Animal scientist Frank Mitloehner leads me to another kind of feeder, one that could easily be mistaken for

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