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Study in partnership with JBS shows use of tannin reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 17% in livestock farming

The project was developed by the Institute of Zootechny in São Paulo; one of the advantages of the tannin mixture over other feed additives is its widespread use in Brazilian livestock farming

[BRANDED CONTENT] JBS - Estudo em parceria com a JBS mostra que o uso de tanino reduz em 17% a emissão de gases de efeito estufa na pecuária
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JBS generates 2.1% of Brazil’s GDP — JBS, one of the world’s largest food companies, and Silvateam, the world’s leading producer of plant extracts for animal feed, have just announced the results of a groundbreaking research that shows the effectiveness of tannins in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the cattle chain.

Conducted by the Institute of Zootechny (IZ) of São Paulo, the study concluded that the use of the feed additive based on a mixture of tannins and saponins, SilvaFeed BX®, reduces enteric methane emissions by up to 17% for confined beef cattle. The measurement methodology developed in the study will allow JBS and other companies in the sector to record the reduction in emissions in their GHG balance sheets in the future, promoting low-carbon livestock farming in Brazil.

“JBS has supported the development of several studies into the use of feed additives, including the use of tannins in feed for confined cattle. Not only the company is interested in this technology, but the entire livestock industry, since the availability of these solutions to the entire production chain will contribute to the promotion of low-carbon livestock farming in Brazil,” said Fabio Dias, Director of Livestock at Friboi and leader of Regenerative Agriculture at JBS Brazil.

The study, conducted by researchers from IZ’s new Science Center for the Development of Climate Neutrality in Beef Cattle, monitored animals at the JBS feedlot in the city of Guaiçara, state of São Paulo, for about six months. Applying the results of the study retroactively between 2019 and 2022, the use of the mixture of tannins and saponins in the diet prevented the emission of more than 30,200 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in cattle from JBS feedlots. This volume is equivalent to removing around 24,000 gasoline cars from circulation or planting more than 2,000 trees over the period.

One of the advantages of the tannin mixture over other feed additives is its widespread use in Brazilian livestock farming. As well as helping to reduce emissions, the use of the product helps with weight gain and the development of the animal’s carcass, resulting in a reduction in feed costs, improved feed conversion and greater protein efficiency. The study pointed out that tannin, by improving the intestinal health of cattle, reduces enteric emissions.

According to Silvateam, more than 5 million head of cattle in feedlots in Brazil have used the tannin produced by the company since 2016. This has prevented the emission of 11,900 tons of methane, or 334,766 tons of CO2 equivalent, the same as planting 22,600 trees or removing 265,600 gasoline-powered cars from circulation.

“Cattle are often associated with a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions. However, our studies and practical applications show that it is possible to achieve a considerable reduction in methane emissions. In this way, we show that livestock farming is an active part of the solution in the quest for climate neutrality,” said Marcelo Manella, director of Silvateam.

Tannins are natural chemical compounds found in various parts of plants, such as fruit, leaves, seeds and bark. Silvafeed BX, an additive used in JBS feedlots, is based on tannins extracted from willow-leaf red quebracho, chestnut trees and saponins. When added to cattle feed, these tannins have a positive effect on modulating and modifying rumen fermentation. This results in a reduction in enteric methane emissions, improved rumen metabolism and, consequently, optimized animal performance.

“The research conducted in partnership with JBS and Silvateam benefits not only the participating companies, but the entire Brazilian livestock industry. We now have scientific proof that the use of feed additives, such as tannin, helps to reduce the carbon footprint of livestock farming, making operations more sustainable,” said Renata Helena Branco Arnandes, the IZ researcher responsible for the study.

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