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One Sustainable Solution for Beef and Dairy Producers

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Sustainability can take on different meanings depending on the context it’s used in. For beef and dairy producers, there are a few forms of sustainability on the list of priorities. These include sustainable feed programs, environmental stewardship, operational sustainability and maintaining a healthy and sustainable herd.

Environmental stewardship is always a top priority for producers to ensure the longevity of their operation and resources, but it is often competing with other sustainability goals. Getting the benefits of a healthy herd and achieving sustainability goals simultaneously is a huge win for producers. Luckily, there is a feed ingredient that meets the nutritional requirements of cattle while simultaneously reducing environmental impacts: whole cottonseed.

The Environmental Implications of Feeding Whole Cottonseed

While those who raise and care for cattle have long since known whole cottonseed for its nutritional benefits, a new spotlight has turned on this feed ingredient for its achievements in sustainability.

Dr. Matt Beck is a research animal scientist with the Livestock Nutrient Management Research Unit. His research on the environmental impacts of feeding cattle whole cottonseed received funding from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). Its key discovery was that whole cottonseed mitigates methane gas emissions1.

“According to the EPA, enteric fermentation was the largest source of methane emissions in the United States in 2021,” explains Dr. Beck. “We found whole cottonseed supplementation consistently reduces enteric methane emissions.”

Enteric methane emitted during ruminant digestion being best handled by healthy cattle and high-quality feed presents a low-effort opportunity for producers to improve their environmental responsibility. As Dr. Beck says, “Methane is a short-lived greenhouse gas. So, if we reduce emission rates enough, we can quickly reduce the amount of methane in the atmosphere. Mitigating methane emissions is the most effective way to reduce climate change on a short-term basis.”

Dr. Beck’s research revealed a 44% increase in average daily gain and a 6% increase in fat supply for cattle fed whole cottonseed, as well as a 12.5% reduction in methane emissions relative to unsupplemented counterparts1.

Whole Cottonseed Benefits Go Above and Beyond

In addition to emissions reduction, whole cottonseed offers nutritional benefits for both beef and dairy cattle. A nutrient-rich source of essential protein, energy and fiber2, this feedstuff promotes optimal health, productivity and efficiency.

By incorporating whole cottonseed into rations, producers can support their cattle’s nutritional needs, operational goals and sustainability pressures with fewer resources while making use of an agricultural byproduct that might otherwise go to waste.

“Cottonseed meets these goals by providing a biodegradable byproduct option with high nutritional value so you don’t have to sacrifice the health of the animal for long-term sustainability goals,” Dr. Beck emphasizes.

Join Producers Pursuing Sustainability

Consumer preferences for sustainability are driving markets across the United States, compelling producers to prioritize environmentally responsible practices. Experts like dairy nutritionist Cory Colburn recognize whole cottonseed’s role in achieving these objectives without compromising animal health. Colburn says that “Reducing waste is a big conversation nowadays. That’s why it’s great to have a feed ingredient that can reduce methane gas, reduce waste and make the animal more efficient.”

Dairy nutritionist Lee Van Kleeck agrees, saying, “Sustainability is being taken seriously by the consumer in the industry. Those of us who participate in the care and nurturing of cows probably ought to pay attention.”

By embracing whole cottonseed as a singular solution, producers can enhance their operation’s efficiency, support cattle health and contribute to a more sustainable future for agriculture. Interested in taking the next step towards sustainability? Make sourcing whole cottonseed simple by utilizing the Cottonseed Marketplace, an easy-to-use connection point for buyers and sellers.

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Direct & Simple Sourcing

Sourcing whole cottonseed is direct and simple with our Cottonseed Marketplace, an easy-to-use connection point for buyers and sellers. Use it to connect with qualified sellers that serve your area! Check it out!

Cottonseed Marketplace

Click your state or a state near you to see a list of cottonseed suppliers that serve your area.

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