Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Using Livestock to Reduce Carbon Emissions - YES!

Cows have been pilloried as the great methane producer, and as the most potent greenhouse gas emitter of all. There are a lot of cows around the world!

Recent thinking now says that it is not cows as the culprit, but rather their management, particularly when fire is included in the system, as it commonly is.

Reduce the use of fire, often used to remove excess forage, while enhancing the consumption of forage by livestock in a way that encourages regrowth eg Savory grazing system option may offer a smart option to actually reduce greenhouse gas production, even if the forage is of poorer quality at times.

It is known that higher digestibility forage does reduce methane production in the livestock gut system, although not all plants have high digestibility, particularly in the tropics. But independent of that, livestock act as the great recyclers of carbon, by consumption and manuring, rather than seeing it lost in a fire.

It is a complex argument, with more detail here -

But the essence of it is that cows might actually be useful in the soil carbon story!

About time there was some enlightened thinking, for livestock is definitely NOT going away anytime soon

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