The beef industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Generally, 15 percent of all greenhouse gases come from livestock, with cattle being the biggest emitter, constituting 78 percent of the total gas emissions from livestock, while around 14 to 18 percent of all greenhouse gases are from human activities.
In a recent study by Colorado State University, researchers examined 12 strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock operations. Results show that while it is highly attainable to scale down the gas emissions, fully terminating them is way more difficult.
The study analyzed the strategies by assessing conventional cattle raising and a more improved, greenhouse gas-conscious method of cattle raising in 292 ranches across the world. Researchers found that the sites have different soil, climate, animal breeds, and vegetation based on their location. All these are factors that are interconnected when it comes to measuring gas emissions.
One of the strategies to reduce emissions in the livestock sector has something to do with the efficiency in beef production. The bigger the cattle, the faster they grow, and the less amount of gas they emit.
Another strategy is increasing the carbon sequestration in the soil to counteract the gases created when raising cattle. The research found that this approach can make a dent in lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Farms using this strategy had a 46 percent decrease in global gas emissions.
Carbon sequestration involves compost, integration of forest areas as grazing lands, as well as sowing seeds in lands with cover crops to keep the soil healthy. The study notes that different strategies are effective depending on the location and environmental conditions.