Although partially offset by a rise in beef cattle numbers, this decline has been driven by a fall in sheep numbers. Reducing the number of unproductive animals on a farm can potentially improve profitability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Sources of Agricultural Greenhouse Gases
If productivity increases through nutritional and breeding strategies, the number of livestock can be reduced without losing the quantity of meat that is currently produced. With earlier finishing of beef cattle in feedlots, slaughter weights are reached at a younger age, with reduced lifetime emissions per animal and proportionately fewer animals producing methane. There is an approved methodology for improving cattle herd management to generate carbon offsets. Three biological control methods are being examined for their ability to reduce methane production from livestock, using:.
Reducing livestock greenhouse gas emissions. Page last updated: Thursday, 8 November - am. Contact information Rob Sudmeyer.
Email Rob Sudmeyer. Reducing livestock greenhouse gas emissions Why we should reduce livestock emissions Where livestock methane emissions come from How we can reduce livestock greenhouse gas emissions Animal breeding Diet supplements and feed alternatives Improved pastures Stocking rates Biological control. Carbon farming in relation to Western Australian agriculture - Bulletin Word 1.
See Also Carbon farming and Western Australian agriculture. Carbon farming: the economics. Carbon farming: an introduction. Carbon farming management options. Managing manure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The impact of long-term organic farming on soil-derived greenhouse gas emissions
Carbon farming: approved and proposed methodologies for carbon-offset projects. Regions Gascoyne. Great Southern. Mid West. When the amount of fertilizer added to a soil is more than can be taken up and used by plants, bursts of nitrous oxide are often produced. In climates where the ground freezes in winter, spring thaw is often accompanied by bursts of nitrous oxide production as well.
These nitrous oxide bursts are an issue for the warming planet. In nature, microorganisms known as methanogens convert simple forms of carbon to methane CH4. Methane production, or methanogenesis , happens in the absence of oxygen.
So waterlogged soils such as bogs or rice paddies tend to produce more methane, as do methanogens that live in the rumen stomach of ruminant animals , such as cows and sheep. There are a number of ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farms, but none is completely simple — the microbial ecosystems in soils and livestock rumens are complex environments, and the tools to study them thoroughly have only really been around for a few decades. We know that, in climates where the ground freezes, overwintering plants on the soil that is, leaving plants intact on the soil surface after harvest instead of plowing them in or removing them in the fall can help reduce nitrous oxide emissions.
One theory to explain this effect is that the composition and activity of bacterial communities in the soil that produce nitrous oxide gas, or transform these into N2, are affected by soil temperature and nutrients added to the soil. The insulating effect of leaving the plants on the ground surface will affect soil temperature. And the plants contribute nutrients that are added to the soil as they slowly decay during periods above freezing. We also know that limiting inputs of nitrogen to just the amount likely to be usable by plants can reduce emissions. This is easy in principle, of course, but actually guessing how much nitrogen a field full of plants needs to grow well and then supplying just enough to ensure good yields is in practice very difficult.
Too little nitrogen and your plants may not grow as well as they should. Low-input agriculture aims to reduce levels of applied products, including fertilizers, to fields. Along with best management practices , it should help reduce both greenhouse gas production and the environmental impact of farming. Giving livestock different kinds of food can alter methane emissions from ruminant animals.
The insulators at issue
Adding nitrate can also reduce methane emissions, but too much nitrate is toxic. Researchers are currently working on modifying the composition of microorganism populations in the rumen to reduce methanogenesis — and thus emissions. Additionally, it may be possible to add bacteria to soils or to manure digesters to reduce production of nitrous oxide, since certain denitrifying bacteria added to manured soil were able to cut nitrous oxide emissions in a recent study.
The bacteria used in this study were naturally occurring organisms isolated from Japanese soils, and similar bacteria are found in soils all around the world.
Sources of Agricultural Greenhouse Gases – Livestock and Poultry Environmental Learning Community
One of the goals of the lab I work in is to find out how different agricultural management strategies affect the naturally occurring bacteria in the soil, and how these changes relate to levels of nitrous oxide that the soil produces. It may be that, in the future, farmers will use mixtures of bacteria to both promote plant growth and health and mitigate nitrous oxide emissions from the soils on their farms. In addition to other solutions engineers have devised that should help reduce emissions , we need to continue working on the agricultural piece of this puzzle. Screen music and the question of originality - Miguel Mera — London, Islington.
UEA Inaugural lecture: Alternative performance measures: do managers disclose them to inform us, or to mislead us?
Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Elizabeth Bent , University of Guelph. The insulators at issue Greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation — that is, heat. The biological and physical processes that make up the nitrogen cycle.