Livestock and greenhouse gases

By Cacilda Borges do Vale

Portal Dia de Campo – The Climate change observed in this last century throughout the world is indisputable facts that cause controversy and speculation. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere are credited as the villains of global warming, but if they were not, there would be no life possible on Earth, because the temperatures were at least 30 degrees lower. The problem is to increase the concentration thereof. In fact, the main gases in the atmosphere are nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2), which together make up about 99% of the atmosphere. Since the greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and water vapor are present in small quantities.
These gases absorb infrared radiation emanating from Earth and not allow it to escape into space, keeping the Earth warm. The higher the concentration of gases is more difficult the heat exchange. The concentration of greenhouse gases has increased due to human activities such as the use of fossil fuels, biomass burning, etc., but also the agriculture and livestock is liable as a part of this increase and the potentiating of greenhouse effect, that could have serious consequences for life on Earth. Hence the importance of studying, clarifies record and finally take steps to mitigate the greenhouse effect in order to preserve biodiversity and quality of life on our planet.
Since Brazil is a major producer and largest exporter of beef has become the target of allegations of major world polluter. Cattle are capable of converting plants into meat and milk, but the anaerobic digestion of organic matter in the rumen, releases the methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent in causing the greenhouse effect than CO2. This gas is eliminated mainly through the mouth of the animal, therefore is the way that the animals cause the pollution. Less than 10% of the methane is removed from the gut.
Thus, those who invest in training, recovery and management using improved cultivars will be able to increase the carrying capacity of grazing animals per unit area and more is reflected in younger plants in the field, which in turn are higher quality and digestibility producting less methane that is released to atmosphere. The intensification of this system results in higher production volume of live weight per hectare, finishing cattle sooner and with less environmental impact. It is good to get the useful and profitable.
It is important to remember that there are always advantages and disadvantages to each situation and, to find a sensible balance between them. If in one hand is necessary to feed a growing population with high-value protein as in meat and milk, it is also important to minimize the emission of methane and other gases with a more rational agriculture and livestock efficiently, generating forage cultivars with high nutritional value and effective for animals transform them. It is now possible to increase significantly the productivity of a pasture without having to deploy new areas. Pastures of better quality, efficient selection of animals on feed conversion and intensification of production system with finishing animals like bull early should be encouraged and even rewarded by bonuses of companies and governments aware. The Good Manufacturing Practices, encompassing the factors of production, social and environmental factors in cattle can minimize criticism and countering the barriers non-tariff to our valuable product and thus benefit the entire supply chain as well as the final consumer.

Source: Portal Dia de Campo, August 3rd, 2011
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