Tag: Methane

Whole-System Approach Managing Grazing to Restore Soil Health and Farm Livelihoods

This paper is a literature review on the ecological impacts of grazing, and finds that where managed properly (employing a “whole-systems approach” and “adaptive, goal-directed grazing methods”) livestock are essential to ecosystem service sustainability and improvement. Soil organic matter increases were sufficient to yield a net sink of 2 tons of carbon per hectare per year.

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Global Warming and Pasture-Raised Beef Production in the United States

This report evaluates the prospects for changing management practices to reduce the climate impact of the time beef cattle spend on pasture or rangeland. Improved practices are most readily applied to the finishing stage of fully pasture-raised systems—a growing alternative to CAFOs, given research showing that pasture finishing has nutritional and environmental benefits. In the long term, the use of climate-friendly best practices in the United States may lead to substantial cuts in global warming emissions if adopted in countries where beef production accounts for a greater share of those emissions.

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GHG Mitigation Potential of Different Grazing Strategies in the United States Southern Great Plains

This paper demonstrates that enteric emissions (methane) from cows are not a climate impediment when the animals are managed in a way that builds soil, thus, capturing carbon. Specifically, using a life cycle assessment that weighs emissions against sequestration, it calculates a net drawdown of approximately 2 tons of carbon per hectare per year (0.8 tons per acre per year) after a conversion from heavy continuous to multi-paddock grazing.

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Potential mitigation of midwest grass-finished beef production emissions with soil carbon sequestration in the United States of America

This partial life cycle assessment (LCA) compared two grazing management strategies: 1) a non-irrigated, lightly-stocked, high-density system (MOB) and 2) an irrigated, heavily-stocked, low-density system (IRG). Results indicated that when soil carbon sequestration (SCS) potential was included, each grazing strategy could be an overall sink, with the MOB system found to have greater SCS than the IRG system.

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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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