The CIRCASA project, to coordinate soil organic carbon research, are seeking stakeholder views on the role of Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) management for climate change mitigation and sustainable development.
If you are a farmer, landowner, public official, a non-profit organisation, private business, in academia, a member of civil society, a government authority, or dealing with soil organic carbon management in any other way, the CIRCASA project team would love to hear your opinions.
There are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers. The survey takes around 30 minutes to complete. It is available in seven languages. Your answers will be treated confidentially and anonymously. The data generated will be analysed to make comparisons across stakeholder groups and countries around the globe.
The results of the stakeholder survey will inform an international research agenda on SOC management. Such an agenda will strengthen coordination in global research on SOC management in agricultural soils, leading to improved understanding and scientific basis to target ambitious practices required to preserve and enhance SOC.
Follow the link below to contribute, the survey is open until 31 October 2018.
In a recent study by Wageningen University & Research Centre, management interventions to increase the supply of organic carbon were tested with a linear programming model called NutMatch. NutMatch was applied to crop rotations with different mixtures of organic cattle slurry, pig slurry or compost, or with a mineral fertiliser. The study found that rotational crop residues, cattle slurry and compost each substantially contributed to soil organic carbon accumulation (range 200-450 kg C ha-1 yr-1); contributions of pig slurry and cover crops were small (20-50 kg C ha-1 yr-1). In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, it appears that the trade-offs between carbon inputs and emissions of greenhouse gases (notably N2O) or other pollutants (NO3, NH3) can be substantial.
‘Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock: best practice and emerging options’ was jointly published by the GRA’s Livestock Research Group and the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform in late 2014. It is now one of the most downloaded documents on the GRA website.
With thanks to funding support from New Zealand and translation provided by LRG members in France, Chile and Colombia, this popular publication is now available in French and Spanish.
The guide is intended to help farmers and industry leaders make progress on meeting global food demand while reducing the industry’s contribution to climate change. It summarises current best practices ready for implementation at the farm level, as well as emerging options at various stages of research to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of livestock production across a range of farm systems. It covers intervention options for animal feed and nutrition, genetics and breeding, rumen modification, animal health, manure, and grassland management.
- Download the guidelines in English
- Download the guidelines in French
- Download the guidelines in Spanish
Hard copies of the guidelines in any of the three languages are available from the LRG: [email protected]
The college of Agricultural and Environmental Science, UC Davis has posted an interesting article on “Facts and Fiction on Livestock and Climate Change” by Frank Mitloehner, Professor UC Davis.
Professor Mitloehner shows the proportion of US total GHG emissions from livestock production (4.2%) in comparison with emissions from other sectors. Suggesting that a direct comparison between emissions from the US livestock sector and the energy (31%) and transport sectors (27%) brings into perspective the amount of difference that can be made by reducing livestock emissions.
Of course that is not to suggest that the livestock sector is not required to play its part in reducing emissions. The article shares impressive statistics from the US beef and dairy sectors showing how production from both sectors has increased over the last 50-65 years, although the total number of livestock has decreased.
- 1950: 22 million dairy cows produced 117 million tons milk
- 2015: 9 million dairy cows produced 209 million tons of milk. (Fifty-nine percent fewer cows produced 79 percent more milk than they did in 1950.)
- 1970: 140 million head of cattle produced 24 million tons of beef
- 2015: 90 million (36 percent fewer) head of cattle produce 24 million tons of beef
The full article can be read on the UC Davis website.
For information on some of the management practices that the US are using to continue reducing emissions from their dairy sector in particular see the case studies developed by the Livestock Research Group.
‘Reducing Enteric Methane for Improving Food Security and Livelihoods’, a project implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre in association with the Global Research Alliance (GRA), has a new website where you will soon be able to see results from the project. The project aims to identify system specific technologies and interventions to increase ruminant productivity and reduce the emissions intensity of enteric methane. Ruminant production systems with low productivity lose more energy per unit of animal product than those with high productivity. The solution is to identify and implement low cost or no cost technologies that offer win-win scenarios to increase productivity across production systems, strengthen farmer livelihoods, and increase food security, while reducing methane emissions intensity.
The Livestock Research Group has developed a set of country case studies demonstrating on-farm successes to reduce on-farm emissions from livestock production. The case studies demonstrate an increase in production and increase of resource use efficiency as well as a reduction in greenhouse gases. Six countries, Chile, Indonesia, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and USA have contributed success stories covering a range of livestock systems (beef, dairy and sheep) across different scales (local, state and national).
Each case study outlines the key management activities and the effect of these actions on productivity, income and food security, while also considering the trade-off implications and how this relates to climate change adaptation for this livestock system. The Livestock Research Group are continuing to build this library of on-farm examples as a useful resource that can be shared and provide a basis for research and uptake of similar activities in other countries. Visit the Livestock Research Group page to read the case studies. For more information on any of the case studies, or to share a similar story from your own research contact [email protected].
The Livestock Research Group of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform have joined forces to compile information about greenhouse gas mitigation options currently available, and a roadmap of emerging options based on current research, to help make progress on meeting global food demand while reducing the food industry’s contribution to global climate change.
Learn more about this collaboration from the LRG webpage.
A new report by the Technical Working Group on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (T-AGG) at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions synthesizes the fundamental information needed to design programs for livestock producers to report and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. It discusses in detail strategies to reduce enteric and manure methane emissions from dairy, beef, and swine systems.
The full report, released at the July C-AGG meeting, is available online along with a shorter companion brief. Learn more about the full T-AGG body of work, which provides a technical foundation for programs to engage farmers and ranchers on working agricultural land in the United States, on the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions website.
Researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) are working in four countries to assess the contribution that small farmers can make to carbon markets and ways to link them to these markets.
Greenhouse gas emissions can be significantly reduced and carbon sequestered through the adoption of climate-friendly agronomic practices – for example crop-residue management and no-tillage farming – and through improved use of organic and chemical fertilisers. By ‘trading’ carbon stored or emissions reduced, a carbon market provides a means to turn this useful activity into a profitable one. Read the full article on the New Agriculturist website.
Researchers at the University of British Colombia have won a major grant from Agriculture Canada to identify the best way to water and fertilize crops in order to maximize resources while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions. The $1.2-million grant is drawn from the $27-million Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Program (AGGP) to develop technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from farming.
The AGGP represents Canada’s initial contribution to the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, an international network of more than 30 member countries that will coordinate and increase agricultural research on greenhouse gas mitigation and make new mitigation technologies and beneficial management practices available to farmers. Read the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada media release for more on this project.