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Oklahoma Farm Report – Cattle Grazing Can Reduce Agriculture’s Carbon Footprint

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Livestock grazing can reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint

Mon, 23 Aug 2021 08:16:13 CDT

Livestock grazing can reduce agriculture's carbon footprintIn an article by Adam Russel for Simmental.org, he writes about cattle grazing to reduce carbon footprint .. see below ..

Ruminant animals like livestock help maintain healthy soils and grasslands, and proper grazing management can reduce carbon emissions and the industry’s overall footprint, according to a scientist from Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Richard Teague, Ph.D., professor emeritus in the Department of Range, Wildlife and Fisheries Management and Principal Scientist at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Vernon, a stated that his research, ?? The role of ruminants in reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture in North America, ?? published in the Soil and Water Conservation Society’s Journal of Soil and Water Conservation presents sustainable solutions for grazing agriculture.

The published article, written by Teague with co-authors including Urs Kreuter, Ph.D., AgriLife Research socio-economist at Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology, Bryan-College Station, was recognized at the recent society conference as a Soil and Water Conservation Society research paper for impact and quality.

Teague’s research has shown that proper pasture management practices in beef production are part of the solutions to concerns about the impact of agriculture on the environment. His article serves as a call to action for the implementation of agricultural practices that can improve the resource base, environment, productivity and economic returns.

?? We went to the company because it represents professionals who know soils, and getting it published and then recognized by them is huge and shows the validity of the work, ?? he said. “I am extremely proud of the work and of my fellow contributors at Texas A&M and across the country. And I think that’s a good example of how science can present solutions to serious problems in agricultural production. ??

Ruminants as part of the solution

To ensure the long-term sustainability and ecological resilience of agricultural landscapes, he said crop and pasture management protocols are needed to regenerate soil systems and ecosystem functions previously lost through neglect and destructive management practices. . Fortunately, many of the problems caused by some current cropping and grazing practices can be avoided by environmentally sensitive management of ruminants in mixed cropping and grazing agroecosystems.

Effective soil management measures offer the most important possibilities for achieving sustainable use of agricultural land in a changing and increasingly variable climate, said Teague. Regenerative agricultural practices restore soil health and ecosystem function to support ecologically healthy and resilient agroecosystems. These practices improve net profitability and improve the function of ecosystems and watersheds.

Reduction of the carbon footprint with ruminants, regeneration

Grassland ecosystems have co-evolved with herbivores over thousands of years as complex and dynamic ecosystems composed of grasses, soil biota, grazers and predators, which deteriorate in the absence of grazing periodical, said Teague. His research suggests moving towards regenerative practices designed to improve soil biology and function.

Ruminant farming is an important tool for achieving sustainable agriculture with proper grazing management, Teague said.

A key element is that cattle grazing on permanent perennial grasslands with proper management helps develop soil biology to improve soil carbon, rainfall infiltration and soil fertility. So far more carbon dioxide equivalents are sequestered in the soil than what is emitted by livestock in this management unit, Teague said. Such management increases forage production, allowing more livestock to provide better economic returns compared to conventional methods.

Permanent cover of forage plants is very effective in reducing soil erosion and increasing soil infiltration, and ruminants consuming grazed forages under proper management result in considerably more carbon sequestration than emissions. , said Teague.

Incorporation of forages with ruminants to manage regeneration of ecological function in agro-ecosystems can increase soil carbon, improve ecological function of soil, and improve biodiversity and wildlife habitat if integrated into protocols goal-oriented planning and monitoring.

In uncultivated and cultivated areas, grazing ruminants in a way that improves soil health reduces the carbon footprint of agriculture much more than reducing the number of ruminants and provides highly nutritious feed that have supported livelihoods and pastoral cultures for centuries, ?? he said.

Regenerative agricultural practices for future prosperity

Teague said research can harm public discourse related to sustainable agriculture more than help unless scientists have a much broader view of agriculture as it is and can be. This broad vision includes the potential societal and economic ramifications of the proposed changes, but also ensures the delivery of solutions that can be used in policy and, ultimately, in the evolution of more global food and fiber production. sustainable.

?? Scientific investigations that call for the reduction or elimination of agricultural production of livestock and livestock must take into account all the impacts of the entire food production chain, and of the different cultivation and farming alternatives. breeding, ?? said Teague.

Collectively, conservation agriculture aimed at regenerating soil health and ecosystem function supports ecologically healthy and resilient agroecosystems, improves net profitability, and improves watershed function, said Teague.

“When we talk about science, we need to look at the full spectrum of what’s going on, weigh the positives and negatives of our options, and be honest about the results. he said. ?? Then we look for the most sustainable solution. ??

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