Life-Cycle Greenhouse Gas Measurement

Dr. Santiago Utsumi, the Faculty Research Coordinator at the Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) Research Dairy, which is a research facility of Michigan State University, has the distinction of being the first researcher to adopt GreenFeed into continuous use in a production environment. The initial GreenFeed installation occurred in September of 2010 in one robotic milking machine at the KBS Dairy. This unit has been in continuous operation and monitors roughly 40 animals two to four times daily.

In early 2012 another GreenFeed unit was installed in the other robotic milking machine to monitor an additional group of 40‐60 animals per day.

GreenFeed measurements are made in the context of a comprehensive research program of biogeochemical measurements conducted in intensively‐monitored, grazed pastures. Dr. Utsumi’s ultimate research goal is to develop management practices that balance milk‐production, costs, and long‐term sustainability. Dr. Utsumi now has the capability to monitor two groups of cows, each potentially utilizing a different grazing strategy while methane and carbon dioxide fluxes are automatically, continuously and unobtrusively measured.

One intriguing result of the continuous GreenFeed data from individual fresh cows ‐ through lactation cycles and over multiple parities ‐ is the possibility that multiple daily measurements of methane and carbon dioxide emissions for individual animals may provide an early warning for health conditions such as subclinical acidosis.


Nelson, N., K. Steensma, S. Utsumi, D. K. Beede, S. Zimmerman, P. Zimmerman. 2012. Enteric methane emissions by dairy cows grazing temperate pastures. J. Dairy Sci. 95(Suppl. 2): 584. View Here

Utsumi S., D. Beede, S. Zimmerman, and P. Zimmerman. 2011. Whole herd enteric methane emission estimates in three contrasting daisy systems. J. Dairy Sci. 94(E-Suppl. 1): 607. View Here

Huhtanen, P, E. H. Cabezas-Garcia, S. Utsumi, and S. Zimmerman. 2015. Comparison of methods to determine methane emissions from dairy cows in farm conditions. J. Dairy Sci. (accepted).


S. Utsumi. 2012.  KBS Studies on Greenhouse Gases and Milk Production Footprint in Pasture Based Dairy Systems.  Presented at the 2012 GreenFeed User’s Conference in Rapid City, SD. View Here