For decades scientists have sought to measure animal methane emissions to determine the impact food animals have on our environment. Such studies often provided unfavorable results for animal agriculture, and the results have supported radical ideas that all forms of animal food production be halted.
New research, however, suggests current estimates of total livestock methane emissions may be faulty. Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have concluded those estimates rely on outdated factors and do not fully consider feed intake, differences in animal diets or the facilities used to store manure.
In short, the researchers claim there are large uncertainties in methane emission figures and that the amount of gas animals release remains open for debate.
Published in the American Chemical society’s peer-reviewed journal Environmental Science & Technology, the Penn State researchers analyzed feed intake data for cattle and manure storage practices for cattle, pigs and poultry at the county and state levels in the United States. A total of 3,063 counties in the contiguous U.S. were included in the cattle methane emission database with inventories from the 2012 Census of Agriculture (latest Census available).
The study found total livestock methane emissions comparable to current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, and to the estimates from the global gridded Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) inventory. However, methane estimates by location varied significantly from those reported by EDGAR.
Specifically, manure methane emissions from Texas and California were 36% less and 100% greater in the Penn State study than reported by EDGAR. Using their data, the researchers believe that results from studies that use inaccurate distribution inventories to determine emissions sources must be interpreted cautiously.
The U.S. EPA says livestock production is responsible for 36% of anthropogenic methane production in the U.S. That’s second behind the combined energy sector (natural gas, petroleum systems and coal mining; total 40%), and ahead of landfill methane production at 18%.
The researchers said there is a large uncertainty in both enteric and manure methane emissions from livestock. “Work around the world has shown that variability in enteric methane emissions can be largely explained with variability in feed dry matter intake (DMI). Nutrient composition of the feed is also important but has a lesser impact on enteric methane production than DMI.”
For decades scientists have sought to measure animal methane emissions to determine the impact food animals have on our environment. Such studies often provided unfavorable results for animal agricult
More than 500 people from across the food supply chain will convene Nov. 15-16 in Kansas City for ongoing conversations about achieving and scaling sustainable production practices.Now in its third ye
By Kenny Graner, President, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Dear Secretary Perdue: On behalf of the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) and its nationwide membership of cow-calf producer
No disrespect to cows, but they produce a lot of gas.And while farmers may be unfazed by the smell, the gas is methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases.Across the globe, livestock spew 14.5 pe
In a pair of totally unrelated news releases this morning (October 24), Cargill announced its acquisition of Diamond V and Eli Lilly and Company announced it would entertain purchase offers for its El
A producer panel included insights from (left to right) Dan Hayden, a cow-calf and poultry producer from Kentucky, Tim Oleksyn, a rancher and farmer from northern Saskatchewan, Erika Murphy, a seedsto
AgriLabs has announced their decision to assist with hurricane relief efforts, by donating more than $35,000 worth of product to meet the immediate needs of livestock affected by the unfortunate weath
When purchasing ranch-direct calves, Colorado cattle feeder Steve Gabel says “I won’t buy them without verification they’ve received at least two doses of modified-live viral vaccine.”That wa
The ninth edition of Uniform Guidelines for Beef Improvement Programs represents a legacy of work that spans more than 50 years of cooperation among the various segments of the beef cattle industry.
¬†In my last letter to the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC) membership I quoted the saying ‚Äúthe only constant is change.‚Äù¬† In production animal medicine we are all too famil
As we approach the end of 2016, we want to look back on the top 10 articles from Bovine Vet this year. Read the number two¬†below.¬†¬†
Drovers CattleNetwork¬†recently received an inquiry
As we approach the end of 2016, we want to look back on the top 10 articles from Bovine Vet this year. Read the number three¬†below.¬†¬†
Drovers CattleNetwork¬†recently received an inquir
As we approach the end of 2016, we want to look back on the top 10 articles from Bovine Vet this year. Read the number nine below.¬†¬†
Drovers¬†recently received an inquiry from a college st
While cattle do produce greenhouse gasses, good management of pastures and grazing systems can return carbon to the soil, improve soil health and productivity and make ranching more profitable. Those
Dr. Dan Thomson, College of Veterinary Medicine at K-State University, says now is the time for beef and dairy producers to get their FREE Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification. Sign up by Novem
Advancing zero deforestation in beef production, assessing the overall sustainability of the beef value chain and connecting consumers and sustainability were just a few of the topics discussed at th
Corporations want to tell their customers that their businesses, including their supply chains, are verifiably sustainable. McDonald‚Äôs, for example, announced in 2014 its commitment to begin so
Music starts and the dark screen transitions to a salt-and-pepper-haired man in a purple button-down shirt sitting in front of a tin-barn studio backdrop.‚ÄúHi, folks, it‚Äôs Dr. Dan from Doc
The annual ‚ÄúUpdate for Veterinarians‚Äù program organized by Iowa State University‚Äôs Iowa Beef Center features a full day of education and demonstrations focused on beef cattle. Iowa
The USDA‚Äôs Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) regularly conducts major studies of livestock-production segments to track animal-health related trends and practices. During 2017, NAHMS will