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The role of ruminants in reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint in North America

This paper determined that properly-managed grazing, if applied on 25% of our crop and grasslands, would mitigate the entire carbon footprint of North American agriculture. Better management of cropping and grazing practices in North America could draw down and sequester in soil 1.2 gigatons of carbon annually, equivalent to about 10% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

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Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems

This paper does a greenhouse gas life cycle analysis (LCA) comparison of two grazing finishing systems in the Upper Midwest, USA: feedlot finishing (FL) and Holistic Planned Grazing, which the authors refer to as adaptive multipaddock (AMP). It finds that AMP finishing improved soil organic carbon (SOC) by 3.5 tons per hectare per year. This resulted in a net negative footprint (or drawdown) of 6.6 kg of carbon dioxide equivalence per kg of carcass-weight (CW). Thus, for every kilogram of carcass weight produced, over six times that amount was reduced from the atmosphere in terms of carbon dioxide equivalence with all other production related gases accounted for, including enteric and manure emissions.

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