Feeding Cows Differently Could Lower Their Carbon Emissions By 30 Percent

Feeding Cows Differently Could Lower Their Emissions By 30 Percent says a new UN study, reports Katie Valentine at Climate Progress. Their emissions (burps, farts, and manure) are a significant global source of methane, a short-term but much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. More easily-digestible feeds can reduce the amount of methane generated by cows, and better breeding techniques and maintenance of animals’ health can reduce the unproductive animals in a herd. Better soil management on grazing lands can increase the pasture’s ability to act as a carbon sink. For pigs and poultry, the report found that using precision feeding, instead of overfeeding them nutrient-deficient foods, and switching to less energy-intensive feed sources can help reduce emissions. Recycling manure as fertilizer also helps, and improving the processing and shipping of livestock feed, corn and soy. A promising new cattle feed is tropical grasses called brachiaria, which naturally inhibit the release of nitrous oxide — a gas which, according to the FAO, is responsible for 29 percent of livestock’s emissions. Finally, cutting down on meat consumption in general, would be a big help.


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Join the swelling numbers of voters TELLING Congress they’ll vote for Clean Energy candidates here: http://signon.org/sign/we-are-the-clean-99?source=c.em.cp&r_by=487176 . This is an ongoing campaign (the next Congressional election is in 2 years!) so please, spread the word. It’s our way of telling Congress that a strong clean energy voting bloc is out there. This is how YOU can make a difference.


For more on Climate Change, check out my weekly column at the HuffingtonPost, Climate Change This Week : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/index.php?author=mary-ellen-harte


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About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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