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HomeDairyCows across Europe could be wearing ‘face masks’ next year
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Cows across Europe could be wearing ‘face masks’ next year

Cattle across Europe could be wearing a mask-like accessory, invented by ZELP to reduce methane emissions, as soon as 2022.

Cargill Inc has this week confirmed that it is the exclusive European distributor of the novel methane-absorbing wearable device for cattle.

It expects to be in a position to begin offering the devices to dairy farmers across Europe next year. ZELP LTD, the UK-based start-up, claims that its innovative product can reduce methane emissions by more than half.

Cargill and ZELP (Zero Emission Livestock Project) have partnered by combining technology in methane oxidation and data processing to minimise the environmental impact of dairy production while improving animal welfare.

The wearable device neutralises part of this methane as it is exhaled using smart technology.

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

Delphine Melchior, sustainability and quality sector director for Cargill’s aqua and animal nutrition business, said:

“Farmers and agribusiness are looking for ways to drive methane mitigation and change for our planet while meeting the challenge of feeding a growing population.”

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“By partnering with ZELP, we are in a unique position to help significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock production.”

As much as 95% of an animal’s methane emissions come from its mouth and nostrils. The ZELP technology, which easily attaches to regular halters, captures and oxidises those emissions.

53% reduction potential 

Francisco Norris, CEO and co-founder of ZELP, explains: “We are combining data processing with unique catalytic technology to reduce methane emissions and improve animal welfare.”

“We continue improving the efficiency of our technology, which has already demonstrated a 53% reduction potential.”

“Also, we have evaluated the wearable’s effect on animal behaviour. We found no impact on production yields, rumination, rest and activity periods, and feed intake.”


Beyond its environmental benefits, the ZELP wearable device drives animal welfare by giving dairy farmers new insights into the health and performance of their livestock.

The technology captures a range of behavioural and physiological data, in addition to monitoring animals’ breath and methane emissions.

According to the company, this data feature could allow farmers to:

  • Firstly, increase productivity;
  • Also, help detect if an animal is overheating;
  • Thirdly, anticipate diseases and prevent outbreaks;
  • Lastly, provide deeper insights into digestion, feed optimisation, and feed conversion efficiency.

Additional testing and product launch

Cargill and ZELP will conduct additional testing at the Cargill Research and Development Center and at Wageningen University in the coming months.

Furthermore, following their completion, the companies expect to launch the ZELP wearable in the second half of 2022.

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