21 Dec 2011

Wine industry wants more marc benefits research

8:47 am on 21 December 2011

The wine industry wants more research into the methane-reducing potential of a by-product of the winemaking process.

An Australian study has found that cattle fed grape marc - the dried grape skins, seeds and stalks left over after pressing to remove the juice - emitted 20% less methane compared with those fed on conventional fodder.

The New Zealand Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium says use of marc as a cattle food could have potential in New Zealand.

New Zealand Winegrower chairman Stuart Smith says some Marlborough deer farmers already feed grape marc to their stock because of its high sugar content.

Otherwise, he says, it is composted for use in the vineyard or disposed of as waste.

He would like to see research into the exact mechanism involved in lowering methane emissions in order to understand whether or not stock need to be fed solely on grape marc or whether it contains an element that could be extracted and added to conventional stock feed as a supplement.