How to reduce methane emissions from agriculture


Reducing methane emissions from agriculture

  • (a) Mitigation opportunities in rice production. Changes in rice management have the potential to significantly decrease paddy rice soil CH 4 emissions [ 10, 23 ].
  • (b) Mitigation opportunities for enteric fermentation. …
  • (c) Mitigation opportunities in manure management. …
  • (d) Mitigation opportunities for residue burning. …
  • (e) Potential for biogas. …

Other strategies to reduce enteric methane emissions rely on manipulating microbiological communities in the ruminant stomach by using vaccines; selectively breeding animals that naturally produce fewer emissions; or incorporating special feeds, drugs, or supplements into diets.


How does reducing methane emissions create jobs?

 · How can agriculture reduce methane emissions? Livestock diet, health and management can positively impact the methane emissions caused by enteric fermentation. The use of feed additives which inhibit methane production could make a big dent in the amount of methane emitted by the agricultural sector.

What produces the most methane?

As a result, increasing the milk or meat produced for each kilogram of feed can dramatically reduce the methane emissions per kilogram of milk or meat produced. Better feed quality primarily means more digestible feed – feed ruminants can more thoroughly digest and use for energy – and feed with balanced nutrients, including sufficient protein.

How oil companies are helping to reduce emissions?

 · The first step in reducing emissions from agriculture is to produce food as efficiently as possible—that is, to change how we farm. A set of proven GHG-efficient farming technologies and practices—some of which are already being deployed—could achieve about 20 percent of the sector’s required emissions reduction by 2050.

What are the side effects of breathing methane gas?

The Australian Methane to Markets in Agriculture Program (AM2MA) was established in 2007 and aims to reduce GHG . emissions from Australia’s intensive livestock industry by mitigating methane from manure management, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, and displacing synthetic fertilizer with recycled nutrients.


How can we reduce agriculture emissions?

Reducing agricultural greenhouse gasesUse livestock feed additives.Practice rotational grazing to sequester carbon in the soil.Select high quality feed that will reduce methane released from enteric fermentation.Manage manure to reduce methane and nitrous oxide. Cover manure storage facilities.

How can we reduce the production of methane?

Here are several ways you can help reduce the level of methane in our atmosphere:Support Organic Farming Practices. Organic farmers keep livestock longer instead of replacing old cows with younger calves. … Eat Less Red Meat. … Support Farms who use “digesters” … Become Active in Your Community:

How can we reduce methane emissions from livestock?

Cattle on carbohydrate -rich diets with high intake will produce less methane as a percentage of dietary gross energy. Grinding and pelleting of forages increases passage rate and reduces methane emitted by the animal.

How can we reduce methane emissions from natural gas?

Pneumatic control valves manage liquid levels, temperature and pressure during the production, transmission and storage of natural gas. Replacing existing pneumatic controllers with low- or zero-bleed alternatives will nearly eliminate a major source of emissions.

How does agriculture produce methane?

The biggest source of agricultural methane emissions is enteric fermentation , which is the digestive process by which microbes in the guts of ruminant livestock break down plant matter, enabling it to be absorbed into the animals’ bloodstream, and producing methane as a by-product.

How can we reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock?

Practices to Reduce Greenhouse Gas EmissionsIncrease production through herd health and breeding practices.Feed cattle based on nutrient needs.Composting.Include additives in manure to suppress unwanted biological activity.Implement manure storage covers and anaerobic digesters.

What are the 5 major sources of methane?

Methane is emitted from a variety of anthropogenic (human-influenced) and natural sources. Anthropogenic emission sources include landfills, oil and natural gas systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, stationary and mobile combustion, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial processes.

How does seaweed reduce methane in cows?

“They [researchers] found out that feeding seaweed to cattle would reduce greenhouse gases by as high as 40%,” Dorgan said. Digesting roughage requires extra digestion from cows and causes cows to burp more. Those burps emit methane, a heat-trapping greenhouse gas that’s 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

How much will methane be reduced by humans?

According to the Global Methane Assessment, human-caused methane emissions can be reduced by up to 45% this decade. Such reductions would prevent nearly 0.3°C of global warming by 2045, keeping the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (1.5 C) within reach.

How can biogas reduce methane emissions?

By using the biogas to carry out the digestion of these materials which, if left to current practices decomposes largely anaerobically by default in manure and other slurry lagoons.

What is the National Biogas Roadmap? – One such example is the National Biogas Roadmap, announced by President Barack Obama, late last month, which will help install biogas digesters in slaughterhouses, dairies, and ranches that will capture methane gas released by the cows’ manure …

How much of the methane emissions would be abated by anaerobic digestion?

By adding the contribution from waste and agriculture and processing in anaerobic digestion facilities would abate a whopping 60% of the total methane emissions.

What is the largest source of methane gas in the US?

A US government climate initiative is to address the largest source of methane gas in the country: cows. The Obama administration’s crackdown on methane emissions has given fresh impetus to the development of an environmentally friendly “cow of the future”.

What is the Global Methane Assessment 2021?

increased education and information about the economic and societal impacts of mitigation, which their Global Methane Assessment” 2021, aims to provide, as well as

How much methane is tipped in landfills?

If not sent to a biogas digester it is often tipped in landfills in which at best no more than 50% methane collection can be achieved even applying best practices in landfill gas management.

What is the process of methane production?

In nature, microorganisms known as methanogens convert simple forms of carbon to methane (CH4). Methane production, or methanogenesis, happens in the absence of oxygen. So waterlogged soils (such as bogs or rice paddies) tend to produce more methane, as do methanogens that live in the rumen (stomach) of ruminant animals, such as cows and sheep.

How to reduce nitrous oxide emissions?

We know that, in climates where the ground freezes, overwintering plants on the soil (that is, leaving plants intact on the soil surface after harvest instead of plowing them in or removing them in the fall) can help reduce nitrous oxide emissions.

What is the process of denitrification?

One of the steps in the process of denitrification is the production of nitrous oxide. To complete the denitrification process, bacteria that occur naturally in the soil convert nitrous oxide to N2. However, not every bacterium in the environment that produces nitrous oxide can also reduce it to N2 gas.

Where does methane come from?

Methane comes mainly from rice paddies, manure stockpiles and ruminant animals, such as cattle. Nitrous oxide traces back to nitrogen-containing fertilizers (including manure, commonly the fertilizer of choice for organic farms) added to soils.

How does water vapor affect the atmosphere?

Water vapor levels depend on atmospheric temperature, which is in turn affected by levels of heat-trapping gases in the air. By reducing levels of other greenhouse gases in the air, we’ll also reduce the amount of heat-trapping water vapor produced via evaporation of surface water. This has implications for farms that use irrigation.

Why is low input agriculture important?

Low-input agriculture aims to reduce levels of applied products, including fertilizers, to fields. Along with best management practices, it should help reduce both greenhouse gas production and the environmental impact of farming.

Why do plants need nitrogen?

All plants need nitrogen, but the form that makes up the majority of the air isn’t readily accessible to them. They depend on the Earth’s nitrogen cycle to convert it to a usable form for them. Providing nitrogen for their crops is one of the main reasons farmers apply fertilizer, whether organic or synthetic.

What will be the main emissions reductions in 2050?

by 2050 compared with business-as-usual emissions—a reduction of about 20 percent of total emissions from agriculture, forestry, and land use change. Moreover, the top 15 measures by abatement potential would contribute 85 percent of this emissions abatement and touch four major categories: energy, animal protein, crops, and rice cultivation.

How has agriculture responded to human history?

In the course of human history, agriculture has responded to humanity’s greatest challenges. The sector has increased food production to a level that many believed impossible. The sector now has an opportunity to make yet another major contribution to humanity’s success during this crucial window for action.

What is marginal abatement cost curve?

A marginal abatement cost curve offers a perspective on how 25 proven GHG-efficient farming technologies and practices could reduce emissions by about 20 percent by 2050.

When will we reach zero carbon dioxide?

reaching net-zero carbon dioxide emissions globally around 2050, and significantly reducing the emissions of other gasses—including methane and nitrous oxide. Any successful scenario would mean major changes for agriculture, from how we farm, to how we eat and waste food, to how we manage our forests and natural carbon sinks.

Is agriculture a part of climate?

Agriculture is also significantly less consolidated than other sectors; reducing emissions requires action by one-quarter of the global population. Finally, the agriculture sector has a complicated set of objectives to consider alongside climate goals, including biodiversity, nutrition need, food security, and the livelihood …

How is methane produced?

Methane is produced and emitted from the decomposition of livestock manure and the organic components in agro-industrial wastewater.2 These wastes are typically stored or treated in waste management systems that promote anaerobic conditions (e.g., liquid or slurry in lagoons, ponds, tanks, or pits) and produce biogas, a mixture of about 70 percent methane, 30 percent CO2, and less than 1 percent hydrogen sulfide.

How does GMI help deploy AD technologies?

To help overcome these barriers, GMI uses a multiple-step methodology to help deploy AD technologies in participating countries. The first step is to develop an RA, which identifies and ranks agricultural methane emission sources based on waste handling methods, physical and chemical properties, emission intensity, scale and other key factors. The RA helps target the implementation plan or strategy toward the agricultural sectors and subsectors that emit the most methane.

What can reduce methane emissions from ruminant livestock?

Feed additives or supplements can reduce methane emissions from ruminant livestock.

How can methane be reduced?

Reduction of methane emissions through feed additives, such as fats and oils, can reduce methane production by about 18% and offer energy and protein to the animal. For a 600 cow dairy herd (producing 100kg of methane per head per year) methane emissions could be reduced by 372 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

How does nitrates affect animal performance?

This can have the dual effect of reducing methane emissions while improving or maintaining animal performance .

How do feed additives work?

How feed additives work. Methane-reducing feed additives and supplements inhibit methanogens in the rumen, and subsequently reduce enteric methane emissions. Methane-reducing feed additives and supplements are most effective when grain, hay or silage is added to the diet, especially in beef feedlots and dairies.

What is the main source of methane in livestock?

The amount of methane emitted by livestock is primarily driven by the number of animals, the type of digestive system they have and the type and amount of feed consumed. Ruminants are the principal source of livestock methane emissions because they produce the most methane per unit of feed consumed.

Why are antibiotics used in cattle?

Synthetic chemicals, such as antibiotics, are sometimes used to improve the efficiency of feed conversion in cattle, although it is not a recommended practice to use these additives to reduce methane emissions. There are legislative restrictions and human health concerns about using antibiotics as growth promotants in livestock.

How much energy is lost from methane?

The reduced volume of methane formation may lead to better efficiency of feed utilisation, given that methane emissions represent a gross energy loss from feed intake of about 10%.

What are the main sources of methane emissions from agriculture?

The main sources of methane (CH 4) emissions from agriculture are enteric fermentation, manure management, rice cultivation and residue burning, with FAOSTAT being the main source of statistics on agricultural emissions [ 1 ].

Why is methane abatement important?

Methane abatement is clearly an important component of a land sector that helps to deliver a 1.5°C world, with interventions both on the supply side (reduction in emissions from enteric fermentation, rice and manure) and the demand side (dietary shifts toward plant-based diets and reduction in food loss and waste) necessary to achieve a land sector that is compliant with the Paris Climate Agreement [ 94 ], with the IPCC in the Special Report on 1.5°C target suggesting that agricultural methane emissions need to be 24–47% below 2010 emissions in 2050 [ 105 ].

How does biogas affect the environment?

Biogas is a methane-rich gas mixture, generated from the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter that can be burnt to release energy . The use of organic wastes in the production of biogas has the potential to change net CH 4 emissions in two ways. Collection of organic wastes for use as a feedstock for biogas production may reduce CH 4 emissions by removing wastes from the environment where uncontrolled anaerobic decomposition can result in significant emissions of CH 4 [ 70 ]. However, emissions of CH 4 may also be increased by CH 4 leakage from the biogas digesters [ 70 ], piping [ 71] and appliances [ 72, 73 ]. The net effect on CH 4 emissions is a balance between these different processes. While we focus here only on the impact of biogas on CH 4 emissions, it should be noted that using organic wastes in biogas production has further impacts on total greenhouse gas emissions by potentially replacing fossil fuels [ 74 ], reducing deforestation associated with use of wood as a fuel [ 75, 76] and increasing soil carbon sequestration associated with the application of bioslurry as an organic fertilizer [ 77 ]. These latter impacts are not discussed further here.

How much of the food supply chain is lost or wasted?

An estimated 26% of food produced globally is lost or wasted each year, equivalent to 6% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions [ 88 ]. Methane-intensive foods, such as ruminant meat and dairy, play a disproportionately large role in these food wastage emissions and one that has continued to expand over the past half-century [ 84 ].

What are the best ways to reduce methanogenesis?

A wide range of specific agents and dietary additives have been tested, mostly aimed at suppressing methanogenesis. These include ionophores, which are antibiotics that can reduce CH 4 emissions [ 46 – 48 ], but their effect may be transitory [ 49] and they have been banned in some jurisdictions, such as the European Union. Halogenated compounds which inhibit methanogenic bacteria [ 50, 51] have also been tested, but their effects, too, are often transitory and they can have side effects such as reduced calorie intake. Probiotics, such as yeast culture, have shown only small, insignificant effects [ 48 ], but selecting strains specifically for CH 4 reducing ability could improve results [ 52 ]. Propionate precursors, such as fumarate or malate, reduce CH 4 formation by acting as alternative hydrogen acceptors [ 53 ], but are effective only at high doses and are, therefore, expensive [ 54 ]. Vaccines against methanogenic bacteria have been developed but are not yet commercially available [ 55 ]. Bovine somatotrophin (bST) and hormonal growth implants do not specifically suppress CH 4 formation, but by improving animal performance [ 56, 57] they can reduce the emission intensity (emissions per unit of product) of meat/dairy [ 58, 59 ], but like ionophores, are banned in some jurisdictions, such as the European Union. Some natural feed additives, such as seaweed, have been tried [ 60 ].

How does agriculture affect the sink capacity of soils?

Cultivation of land for agriculture can significantly reduce the sink capacity of soils to oxidize CH 4 [ 14 ]. Mineral soils under forests and other natural vegetation act as the strongest CH 4 sink, followed by grasslands, with the sink strength weakest in cultivated soils and those receiving nitrogen fertilizer [ 7, 14, 15 ]; as such, as cropland has expanded, the CH 4 sink strength of soils globally will have declined [ 14 ]. When mineral soils become anaerobic, the net flux to the atmosphere can be positive, with waterlogged soils becoming a CH 4 source, often with large emission rates [ 16 ]. When soils are deliberately flooded, e.g. for paddy rice cultivation, they can become very large global sources of CH 4 as described in §1 a [ 7 ].

Does paddy rice produce methane?

Methane emissions from paddy rice occur when soils are flooded, which creates anaerobic conditions suitable for methanogenic microorganisms to produce CH 4. While methanotrophs are able to oxidize some of the CH 4 produced, there is still a large net emission from paddy rice fields [ 9 ]. Global cropland CH 4 emissions are dominated by rice production, with 90% of emissions from tropical Asia, more than half from China and India combined [ 10 ], and a small contribution to the global CH 4 soil sink from other croplands (see §1 b ).

What are some ways to reduce methane emissions from livestock?

A range of dietary supplements and feed alternatives is being trialled to assess whether they can reduce methane emissions from livestock. Supplements being considered include oils, fats, tannins, probiotics, nitrates, enzymes, marine algae and Australian native vegetation.

How does reducing livestock emissions affect methane production?

Note that some methods for reducing livestock emissions may lead to increased dry matter intake per animal or provide the farmer with an opportunity to increase stocking rates, resulting in either no net change or even a net increase in methane production.

How much reduction in methane emissions can an animal breed achieve?

Trials suggest that animal breeding could achieve a 10–20% reduction in methane emissions.

How to control methane production?

Three biological control methods are being examined for their ability to reduce methane production from livestock, using: 1 viruses to attack the microbes which produce methane 2 specialised proteins to target methane-producing microbes 3 other microbes (methanotrophs) to break down the methane produced in the rumen into other substances.

Why is methane lower in the diet?

Methane emissions are commonly lower with more forage legumes in the diet, partly because of the lower fibre content (faster rate of digestion) and in some cases, the presence of condensed tannins. As improved diet increases animal growth and reduces methane production, it has the effect of reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of the animal products.

What is the main source of methane in Australia?

Livestock are the dominant source of methane (CH 4) and nitrous oxide (N 2 O), accounting for 56% and 73%, respectively, of Australia’s emissions.

How does farming improve productivity?

Farm modelling has shown that improving pasture quality and livestock efficiency can also improve productivity and lower emission intensity per unit of product, but the farm’s total greenhouse gas emissions may increase due to increased stocking rates. Understanding this concept is important for farmers considering participation in emission offset trading schemes.


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