20 February 2023

Consolidation of the sustainable nature of Belgian Blue White breeding

How do we sustainably reduce methane emissions in the beef production? This is what the Blanc Bleu Vert project explores.

This project is part of the Greendeal objectives through a consortium between scientific partners and private companies.

Sustainable development and the reduction of greenhouse gases are a priority for European countries. One of the Greendeal objectives for Belgium consists of reducing the production of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 35% by 2030, in the agricultural sector.

This is becoming a decisive factor in a company’s commercial viability: inevitably, companies in the primary sector must anticipate this change and develop products that are likely to meet this demand to keep a competitive advantage as well as to offer access to new markets.

The objective of the Blanc Bleu Vert consortium is to enable two Walloon companies to develop a commercial policy surrounding sustainability. For Dumoulin, this is focused on a range of sustainable food and for Inovéo, it aims at a racial characterisation of the Belgian Blue White based on environmental criteria.

The CRA-W and ULiège are the two scientific partners of this four-year project. They will provide their expertise, in particular in the implementation of indirect, rapid and inexpensive measurements of the sustainability criteria which are enteric methane emissions and ingestion. It will therefore be possible to initiate the bases of a genetic evaluation with a view, over the long term, to guide selection towards more efficient and lower-GHG-emitting animals (both in terms of Belgian Blue White pure breed and crossing between beef and  dairy breeds).

Cross-breeding is part of the WWF’s recommendations to meet the growing demand for meat and minimise the environmental impact of its production.  The project will therefore help achieve the Greendeal’s objectives.