Climate Change - Beef

 
      
 
 
 Knowledge Nuggets | Fact Sheets | Research Papers

Knowledge Nuggets

  • Methane gas belched from the mouth contains about 10% of feed metabolisable energy. Methane losses of 200-500 g/day occur in adult beef and dairy cattle. Methane comes from hydrogen produced by rumen bacteria that digest fiber.
  • Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas that has 13 times as much global warming potential as methane (on a weight basis) and comes from urine, feces and nitrogen fertilizer especially from waterlogged soils.
  • Carbon dioxide is not normally included in calculations of emissions from agriculture because production is normally balanced by plant uptake. However, land use changes effect carbon emissions. For example cultivating grazing lands increases emissions as soil carbon is lost or converting grazing lands to forests lower emissions as carbon is sequestered in trees.
  • Green House Gas (GHG) emissions associated with animal maintenance will be a smaller component of emissions per unit of production in high producing animals than low producing animals.
  • Select animals with a high net feed conversion efficiency.
  • Select lower methane producing animals (typically 60-80% of "average" producers) and cull high producers (120-130% of average) which also improves feed conversion efficiency.
  • Feed good quality diets as less methane is produced from each kg (DM) from legumes than grasses. Production is also increased by using legumes so maintenance costs are lowered/unit of animal production.
  • Good animal management will lower methane by maximizing production from feed that is eaten. For example a dead calf represents zero animal production from a cow producing methane for one year.
  • Feed a slow release ionophore especially with grain feeding to increase feed conversion efficiency.
  • High grain diets lower methane production per unit of feed eaten and per unit of product produced. However grain production has a very high GHG cost from soil carbon losses, carbon emissions from fuel consumption, drying, fertilizer, tractor manufacture and transport. Methane can be lowered at the expense of other greenhouse gases.
  • Balance rations to minimize excess production of urinary urea and total nitrogen in manure. Nitrogen in urine and feces is responsible for the majority of nitrous oxide release from pastures.
  • Take care of effluent. Either incorporate it back into the land or capture methane from storage facilities for heating or electricity generation.
Fact Sheets

Best management practices for lowering greenhouse gas emissions from pastoral farming - available in PDF format only

Cow Calf Operations and Greenhouse Gases - available in PDF format only

Enteric methane emissions and mitigation opportunities for Canadian cattle production systems - available in PDF format only

Enteric methane emissions and nitrogen excretions from beef heifers fed sainfoin or alfalfa - available in PDF format only

Greenhouse Gas emissions - available in PDF format only

Identifying and addressing knowledge gaps and challenges involving greenhouse gases in agriculture systems under climate change - available in PDF format only

Manure Management and its impact on Greenhouse Gas Emissions - available in PDF format only

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through "feeding and breeding" - available in PDF format only

Ruminant Contributions to Methane and Global Warming - a New Zealand Perspective - available in PDF format only

Strategies For Reducing Enteric Methane Emissions in Forage - Based Beef Production Systems - available in PDF format only

Research Papers

Effect of grain supplementation on methane production of grazing steers using the sulphur (SF6) tracer gas technique - available in PDF format only

Effect of low and high forage diet on enteric and manure pack greenhouse gas emmission from a feedlot - available in PDF format only

Estimation of carbon dioxide production and energy expenditures of grazing cattle by teh sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer gas technique - available in PDF format only

Farm practices as they affect NH3 emissions from beef cattle - available in PDF format only

Impact of pasture type on methane production by lactating beef cows - available in PDF format only

Impact of prolonged cold exposure on dry matter intake and enteric methane emissions of beef cows overwintered on low-quality forage diets with and without supplemented wheat and corn dried distillers’ grain with solubles - available in PDF format only

Improving estimates of enteric methane emissions from cattle in Canada using the IPCC Tier-2 methodology - available in PDF format only

Methane abatement strategies for cattle: Lipid supplementation of diets - available in PDF format only

Methane and ammonia emissions from a beef feedlot in western Canada for a twelve-day period in the fall - available in PDF format only

Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from Canadian animal agriculture: A review - available in PDF format only

Methane Emmissions from Alberta's Beef Cattle - available in PDF format only

Methane production by steers on pasture - available in PDF format only

Methane production from dairy and beef heifers fed forages differing in nutrient density using the sulphur hexafloride (SF6) tracer gas technigue - available in PDF format only

Reduction in greenhouse gas emmissions associated with selection for residual feed intake in beef cattle in Alberta - available in PDF format only

The SF6 tracer technique of measurements of methane emission from cattle - effect of tracer permeation rate - available in PDF format only

Use of corn distiller's dried grain to reduce enteric methane loss from beef cattle - available in PDF format only

Validation of the sulphur hexafloride (SF6) tracer gas technique for measurement of methane and carbon dioxide production of cattle - available in PDF format only

Environmental benefits of Sainfoin

Let us know of more good research papers for this topic.

 
 
 
  For more information about the content of this document, contact Grant Lastiwka.
This document is maintained by Linda Hunt.
This information published to the web on May 2, 2006.
Last Reviewed/Revised on April 8, 2014.
 

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