Carbon Emissions and Livestock
Farming systems produce greenhouse gas emissions, mostly in the form of methane (mainly caused by animal digestion and respiration) and nitrous oxide (mostly from fertilisers). Trees, plants, grasses and soils take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and use it to grow.
There are many techniques that can improve livestock performance and efficiency while reducing emissions produced on-farm.
Methane is the main greenhouse gas produced in grazing systems. Ruminant livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats) have microbes in their stomach called methanogens to generate energy.
These microbes produce the gas methane as an end product, which the animal then belches out. Poorer quality feeds produce more methane than higher quality feeds. Belched methane represents energy lost from your production system that might otherwise be converted to the milk, meat or fibre that generates income.
Livestock waste (i.e. dung and urine) contains nitrogen. If managed effectively, wastes can be used to improve pasture or crop growth instead of losing nitrous oxide to the atmosphere as greenhouse gas emissions.
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