Navigation Links
In beef production, cow-calf phase contributes most greenhouse gases
Date:1/30/2013

Jan. 30 2013 - Scientists have long known that cattle produce carbon dioxide and methane throughout their lives, but a new study pinpoints the cow-calf stage as a major contributor of greenhouse gases during beef production.

In a new paper for the Journal of Animal Science, scientists estimate greenhouse gas emissions from beef cattle during different stages of life. They show that, depending on which production system farmers used, beef production has a carbon footprint ranging from 10.7 to 22.6 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent per kg of hot carcass weight.

According to study co-author Frank Mitloehner, an associate professor in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis, one source of greenhouse gases was surprising.

"If you look at everything that contributes to greenhouse gases through the beef supply chain, then it is the cow-calf that produces the greatest greenhouse gases," Mitloehner said.

In the cow-calf phase, the cow gives birth and nurses the calf until the calf is six to 10 months old. During this time, the cow eats rough plants like hay and grasses. The methane-producing bacteria in the cow's gut thrive on these plants.

"The more roughage is in the diet of the ruminant animal, the more methane is produced by the microbes in the gut of the ruminant, and methane comes out the front end," Mitloehner said.

In feedlots, by contrast, cattle eat mostly corn and grains, which the methane-producing bacteria cannot use as effectively.

Methane is one of the most important greenhouse gases. Methane has a greater capacity to trap heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

The beef industry has been paying close attention to greenhouse gas emissions in recent years.

"We are doing a lot to measure and mitigate our impact," said Chase Adams, director of communications for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

In a 2011 paper for the Journal of Animal Science, researcher Jude Capper showed that the beef industry today uses significantly less water and land than 30 years ago. The industry has also reduced its carbon footprint by 16.3 percent per billion kilograms of beef produced.

According to Mitloehner, beef producers can further reduce their carbon impact by using new technologies like growth promotants. However, consumers are often uncomfortable with these methods, and they choose organic beef or beef with reduced amounts of growth promotants.

"The technologies many consumers are critical of are those that help us receive the greatest environmental gains," Mitloehner said.


'/>"/>
Contact: Madeline McCurry-Schmidt
madelinems@asas.org
217-689-2435
American Society of Animal Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Agricultural expert outlines path for developing nations to double food production, meet 2050 demand
2. F1000Research, the first Open Science publisher, launches following a successful beta testing phase
3. National Geographic unveils new phase of genographic project
4. King Richard III search in new phase after discovery has potential to rewrite history
5. Lack of vitamin D contributes to pain in black Americans with knee osteoarthritis
6. 23andMe contributes to genetic discoveries related to male pattern baldness
7. Toward reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the Internet and telecommunications
8. Agriculture & food production contribute up to 29 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions
9. Smart growth strategies curb car use, greenhouse gas emissions, SF State study suggests
10. Destroyed coastal habitats produce significant greenhouse gas
11. Caution needed with new greenhouse gas emission standards
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... LOS ANGELES , March 30, 2017  On ... Hack the Genome hackathon at ... This exciting two-day competition will focus on developing health ... experience. Hack the Genome is ... has been tremendous. The world,s largest companies in the ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... N.Y. , March 27, 2017  Catholic ... Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for ... EMR Adoption Model sm . In addition, CHS ... of U.S. hospitals using an electronic medical record ... for its high level of EMR usage in ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 2017   Neurotechnology , a provider of ... announced the release of the SentiVeillance 6.0 ... facial recognition using up to 10 surveillance, security ... The new version uses deep neural-network-based facial detection ... utilizes a Graphing Processing Unit (GPU) for enhanced ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... 21, 2017 , ... The University of Connecticut, in partnership ... three startups through the UConn Innovation Fund. The $1.5 million UConn Innovation Fund ... UConn. , The UConn Innovation Fund provides investments of up to $100,000 to ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... 21, 2017 , ... The AMA is happy to announce that $48,000 in ... nation. The scholarships are created through funds donated by model aviation organizations and individuals, ... by the AMA Scholarship Committee, which is made up of model aviation pilots and ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... Frederick Innovative Technology ... of emerging technology-based businesses, recently earned a $77,518 grant from the Rural Maryland ... in 2004, FITCI is Frederick’s first incubator. A non-profit corporation, FITCI is a ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Ultrecht, Netherlands (PRWEB) , ... April 20, 2017 ... ... Biometrics Technology today announced their strategic partnership to offer a full spectrum ... identity authentication, a comprehensive suite of biometric products and the ground-breaking proactive cybersecurity ...
Breaking Biology Technology: