Agricultural emissions research
Examples listed in this key area range from current research through to dairy farming initiatives.
Farm-scale Assessment of GHG Mitigation Strategies in Dairy Livestock-Cropping systems - Canada
|Source : University of Guelph, School of Environmental Sciences|
The project will develop and validate best practices, targeting three stages of the dairy-cropping system complex: feeding, manure management, and cropping systems management. Practices to be studied include:
- Reduced protein for whole herd, or herd segments through grouping strategies
-Additives (e.g., oils, Ionophores)
-Dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS)
- Anaerobic digestion
- Solid-liquid separation
- Reduced methanogen inoculum through storage emptying and acidification
Cropping Systems Management
- Timing of manure application (spring vs. fall)
- Rapid incorporation or injection vs. surface-applied manure
- Anaerobically digested vs. undigested manure application
Development of agricultural technologies to address global warming - Japan
|Source : IDF National Committee of Japan|
In April 2011, JIRCAS (Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences) initiated a research program with the objective to contribute to the construction of a sustainable rural society in developing regions by enabling to preserve resources and environment on the world scale through the establishment of a stable agricultural production and development of agricultural technologies to address climate change. The research budget reaches 18 million yen per year for the initial three years of the project.
This collaborative project spans over a period of three years. A part of the overall Research Plan is focused on livestock emissions. The development of low GHG emission livestock production systems, especially with the ruminant intensive animal production farmers, is being investigated.
Current research tasks include:
(a) The establishment of methane monitoring system from the ruminant livestock in developing regions (the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam).
(b) The mapping of microorganisms present in ruminants' gastrointestinal tract, in particular methanogenic bacteria from the rumen, by using molecular techniques.
(c) The development of a methane mitigation technology from ruminants using natural feed materials such as cashew nut shell lipid (CNSL), extract from Yucca shidigera and a herb extract used as feed supplement), and
(d) The possibility to apply the CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) framework in animal production.
The potential of methane mitigation will be estimated by measuring methane production from ruminants using head-cage chamber method in each country. For more information see the attached file and the following website: www.jircas.affrc.go.jp/english/program/program_index.html
Improving the efficiency of dairy production reduces GHG emissions - Ireland
|Source : IDF National Committee of Ireland|
Teagasc has identified using Life Cycle Analysis a number of cost effective practices that farmers can readily adopt nationally, which will reduce their carbon footprint per unit of milk through improved production efficiency (Lovett et al., 2008; O’Brien et al., 2010). The key measures identified were increasing the length of the grazing season, increasing the genetic merit of the herd and better nutrient management.
Increasing the length of the grazing season by 10 days is expected to reduce GHG per unit of product by 1.7%. Similarly, greater use of AI to improve the genetic merit of the herd by 10 units will reduce the carbon footprint of dairy production by 2%. Improvements in nutrient management and greater use of legumes such as white clover will contribute to reducing GHG emissions by reducing farm N surpluses e.g. reducing farm N surplus by 25 kg ha decreases the carbon footprint by 1.5%.
RumenGases Project – Brazil
|Source : Embrapa|
RumenGases project is a specific project component of the PECUS Research Network.
RumenGases will investigate conceptual advances in methane diagnostics and mitigation strategies from ruminants in Brazil. A reference methodological centre for enteric methane measurement involving the use of chambers, SF6 tracer gas technique and in vitro methodologies will be created. Mitigation strategies involving improvements in livestock systems and feed practices will be tested. A screening of five hundred substrates obtained from Brazilian tropical biodiversity will be carried out to identify potential substances for enteric methane mitigation.
Main expected outcomes are:
- to develop strategies of enteric methane mitigation, besides bringing benefits to the environment, provide greater productivity and profitability for tropical livestock systems,
- to contribute with national greenhouse gases inventories data,
- to estimate the contribution of Brazilian methane enteric production to GHG,
- to identify mitigation management practices which would enhance both competitiveness and sustainability of livestock farming in Brazil,
- to identify Brazilian flora substances as potential additives for enteric methane mitigation, and
- to provide scientists, government agencies, livestock industry and society with reliable enteric methane emissions data based on local conditions (e.g. specific emission factors as most of available data to data comes from temperate zones of the globe only).
PECUS Research Network – Brazil
|Source : Embrapa|
Brazil is the world’s sixth biggest producer of cow’s milk that is being produced in very diverse farming/climatic situations and landscapes across the country.
In order to increase and improve scientific data about the actual contribution of livestock, including dairy cattle to total GHG emissions in Brazil, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) launched the PECUS Research Network.
Main expected outcomes are:
- to estimate the contribution of different Brazilian animal production systems to GHG dynamics including methane diagnosis and carbon sequestration,
- to determine mitigation potential of improved pasture management and integrated farming systems (crop-livestock; crop-livestock-forest),
- to identify mitigation management practices which would enhance both competitiveness and sustainability of livestock farming in Brazil, and
- to provide scientists, government agencies and society with reliable GHG data based on local conditions (e.g. specific emission factors as most of available data to data comes from temperate zones of the globe only).
Fonterra’s Investment in Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Research
|Source : Fonterra|
- Fonterra is committed to reducing our carbon footprint in order to minimise the impact our value chain has on the global warming. 85 per cent of our carbon footprint occurs on farm where mitigation opportunities are very limited. We recognise the need to find solutions to the agricultural emissions that make up the majority of our carbon foot-print. As a result we have been investing in agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation research since 2003.
- 2003 was the year that the new Zealand based Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium was established, with Fonterra being one of the founding partners. This is a research partnership between New Zealand pastoral organisations and The New Zealand Government.
- The Consortium’s programmes are acknowledged as the most comprehensive of their type in the world. The target is to reduce total NZ pastoral emissions by 10% per unit of production by 2013, using 2004 emissions as the baseline. The 10% reduction is on top of reductions forecast from higher farm efficiency.
Research Partnerships - United Kingdom
|Source : DairyCo|
DairyCo has committed £5 million to be spent over the next five years on two new Research Partnerships which will deliver practical research to British dairy farmers. The ambitious plan of research and development starting in 2011 will be conducted by a consortium of partners across Britain. The research will focus on two main areas:
The first, Soil, Forage and Grassland, will be led by the Scottish Agricultural College (partnering Harper Adams University College and Reading University).
The second, Health, Welfare and Nutrition, will be led by Nottingham University (partnering Harper Adams University College, Royal Veterinary College, Bristol University, Scottish Agricultural College, and University of Aberystwyth (IBERS).
The results of the research will feed directly into DairyCo’s own technical guides and knowledge transfer activities, as well as being promoted for wider use by other industry stakeholders.
Research that advances the science and best practices for the use of manure and other co-products on dairy farms of all sizes - USA
|Source : Innovation Center For US Dairy|
The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, in affiliation with the Dairy Research Center, has announced an agreement to work jointly with a national energy research laboratory, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) on research that advances the science and best practices for the use of manure and other co-products on dairy farms of all sizes.
The joint research is focused on innovations that deliver enhanced economic vitality of dairy farms and rural communities.
CAES is a national research partnership representing the U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho National Laboratory and the State of Idaho through its research universities.
For more information, read the press release available at the attached link.
Cow methane measurement - Gippsland, Victoria, Australia
|Source : Dairy Australia|
Measurement and assessment of methane via use of a canister around the neck of the cow with a tube down to its nose. The purpose is to evaluate a range of dietary supplements for reducing methane while improving production efficiency.
Experimental farm of AgroParisTech school: Grignon Energie Positive - France
|Source : IDF National Committee of France|
The Grignon Energie Positive (GE+) project, supported by a wide range of both private and public partners, aims to assess the potential solutions that agriculture - including dairy farming - could adopt to face environmental challenges, in particular fossil energy scarcity and global climate change.
Initially implemented at the Grignon farm in 2005, the improvement program is now carried out across a network of 20 farms. In each farm, specific ways of decreasing the environmental impact of farming are identified and assessed through three performance criteria: their impact on the economic margin (Profit), on fossil energy consumptions and GHG emissions (Planet) and on the capacity of the farm to feed people (Population).
Thanks to the new practices implemented at the Grignon farm between 2006 and 2010, energy consumption and GHG emissions decreased by 35% and 20% respectively per liter of milk produced. The final goal of the project is to make Grignon a positive energy and carbon neutral farm.
Ruminant nutrition regimes to reduce methane and nitrogen emissions: A meta-analysis of current databases – United Kingdom
|Source : DairyCo|
DairyCo teamed up with the UK Beef levy funded organisation, EBLEX, to undertake this important project that made effective use of existing data from the UK, the Netherlands and the USA.
As a foundation for further research to develop new ruminant nutrition regimes for simultaneously reducing methane emissions and nitrogen excretion in growing and lactating ruminants, a meta analysis was undertaken.
The outputs of this meta-analysis provided an important platform for a Government funded study investigating new ruminant diets that emit less methane via the digestive process. DairyCo was actively involved to ensure that key messages could be transferred to the dairy farmer at the earliest opportunity.
Project completed: March 2011
Fonterra’s Investment in Agricultural Emissions Research
|Source : Fonterra|
- Fonterra has conducted a full life-cycle assessment of our product carbon footprint. We are now adding to this knowledge with analysis of the variation that exists between New Zealand farms. Understanding the relationship between farming management practices and carbon footprint will allow better emissions management by farmers.
- Nitrification inhibitors provide a tool to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural soils. Currently their uptake in New Zealand has been mainly limited to Canterbury, as the climate conditions in this region are optimal for their use. We have partnered with the New Zealand fertiliser industry, DairyNZ and Government to invest in further field trials of nitrification inhibitors. These tests aim to establish efficacy and best use parameters of nitrification inhibitors in a range of regions throughout New Zealand. If the positive effects can be confirmed in other regions this will increase farmer confidence and uptake .
- Fonterra is supporting a LandCorp Farming application for funding for research into the benefits of effluent methane digesters. We know that this technology has the ability to reduce methane emissions from effluent, but we are interested in assessing a possible further reduction in nitrous oxide emissions and an improvement in the economics of this option when the ‘digestate’ is applied to pasture.
feeding+ manual and campaign – United Kingdom
|Source : DairyCo|
- One of the key areas in reducing the emissions of green house gases from dairy farming is the efficient feeding of the dairy cow. DairyCo has developed a detailed research based feeding manual for dairy farmers with the aim of increasing the feed efficiency of their dairy herd.
- In acknowledging the importance of this, combined with the opportunity to improve the farms business efficiency, the DairyCo Extension Team are operating a feeding campaign, working with farmers in applying the feeding+ manual to the unique circumstances of their production systems. Currently over 400 dairy farmers are working with the extension team with the aim of saving 2 pence per litre through new management strategies/techniques as well as reducing emissions of greenhouse gases associated with inefficient feeding practices.
PH.D SCHOLAR on Livestock production Management - India
|Source : National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI), Karnal, 132001|
Modifying farm management practices to minimise gaseous nitrogen losses, e.g., the use of stand‐off pads or herd homes during wet periods in winter, and storage of carbon in
regenerating shrubland or planted forests are the most promising ways to reduce farm
greenhouse gas emissions at present. Investment in research to develop cost‐effective ways to reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions is a high priority for the dairy industry.
Improved productive efficiency demonstrably reduces the GHG emissions and overall environmental impact of dairy production
Carbon storage in soils - France
|Source : IDF National Committee of France|
Permanent grasslands capture carbon and, doing so, compensate partially GHG emissions of dairy farming. The essential role of theses permanent grasslands has been recognised by the Kyoto protocol (article 3.4). France is covered with 8,5 millions hectares of permanent grassland, of which 3 million are dedicated to dairy farming.
Research to identify mechanisms which are still not well known :
- experimentation and measure of carbon storage under grassland
- development of a model for the assessment of carbon storage in soils
- identification of agricultural practices favouring carbon storage
INRA Theix, J-P Soussana
The annual carbon storage of French permanent grassland of less than 30 years is estimated to 500 kg/ha & year, which compensates around 45% of GHG emissions of grass-based farms. Keeping this grassland maintains carbon stocks, and prevents the reducing of carbon stock observed when soils are brought under cultivation. Thanks to these results the carbon print of dairy products will be calculated with more accuracy
Research: reducing dairy emissions - Australia
|Source : Autralian Government|
- The Australian Government plans to introduce emissions trading into Australia in 2011 – a cap and trade system called the CPRS (Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme). Including agriculture is problematic, so a decision has been made that emissions trading (either the CPRS or an alternative scheme) will not apply to agriculture till 2015.