Canadian farmers cutting emissions while producing more beef
Researchers at the University of Manitoba and Agriculture Canada found a 15 percent reduction in methane emissions on a production basis between 1981 and 2011, and a 16 percent cut in nitrous dioxide from manure.
The results were achieved partly by feeding cattle grain instead of grass and other forage when they are being fattened before slaughter, says the study published in the journal Animal Production Science.
Changes in management practices have allowed cattle to be sent for slaughter at a younger age, around 18 months, rather than 24 months in the past.
The study compared the cattle herd, the amount of land required for beef production and the change in greenhouse gas emissions in the production of Canadian beef.
The results show the industry has become more efficient, with about 15 percent fewer emissions overall. ■