Greenhouse gas abatement strategies for animal husbandry

Wageningen University and Research Centre, Agrotechnology and Food Innovations, Livestock Environment, P.O. Box 17, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands; Wageningen University and Research Centre, Department of Nutrition and Food, Animal Science Group, Lelystad, The Netherlands; Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research, North Wyke Research Station, Okehampton, Devon, UK
Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 02/2006; DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2005.08.015
Source: OAI

ABSTRACT Agriculture contributes significantly to the anthropogenic emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide. In this paper, a review is presented of the agriculture related sources of methane and nitrous oxide, and of the main strategies for mitigation. The rumen is the most important source of methane production, especially in cattle husbandry. Less, but still substantial, amounts of methane are produced from cattle manures. In pig and poultry husbandry, most methane originates from manures. The main sources of nitrous oxide are: nitrogen fertilisers, land applied animal manure, and urine deposited by grazing animals. Most effective mitigation strategies for methane comprise a source approach, i.e. changing animals’ diets towards greater efficiencies. Methane emissions, however, can also be effectively reduced by optimal use of the gas produced from manures, e.g. for energy production. Frequent and complete manure removal from animal housing, combined with on-farm biogas production is an example of an integrated on-farm solution. Reduced fertiliser nitrogen input, optimal fertiliser form, adding nitrification inhibitors, land drainage management, and reduced land compaction by restricted grazing are the best ways to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions from farm land, whereas, management of bedding material and solid manure reduce nitrous oxide emissions from housing and storage. Other than for methane, mitigation measures for nitrous oxide interact with other important environmental issues, like reduction of nitrate leaching and ammonia emission. Mitigation strategies for reduction of the greenhouse gases should also minimize pollution swapping.

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