Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in livestock production


Mitigation of greenhouse
gas emissions in
livestock production

A review of technical
options for non-CO2 emissions

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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome 2013


Animal agriculture substantially contributes to the world economy by providing food, jobs, and financial security for billions of people. With increasing concerns over global climate change and pollution, efforts are underway to reduce the overall environmental impact of animal production. This document analyzes emission of non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases, an important segment of the environmental footprint of animal production. It has been developed by a team that included experts in animal/ruminant nutrition, manure and soil management, animal and whole-farm modeling, and animal reproduction. Over 900 publications focusing on nutritional and manure management mitigation strategies for methane (enteric or from manure) and nitrous oxide emissions were reviewed and analyzed, and a synthesis of feed-, animal managementand manure management-based mitigation approaches and interactions amongst them has been presented. This document will help researchers, animal industry consultants, policy-makers, animal producers, non-governmental organizations, and other groups with interest in maintaining a viable and environmentally-responsible animal production sector to make sound decisions on selection and adoption of effective and economically feasible greenhouse gas mitigation practices.

Table of Contents

Editors’ preface
Abbreviations and acronyms



Livestock global non-CO2 greenhouse gas emissions
Scope and approach


Mitigation practices

Enteric fermentation

Introduction to stoichiometry of rumen carbohydrate fermentation
Feed supplements


Electron receptors
Plant bioactive compounds (PBAC)
Dietary lipids
Exogenous enzymes
Direct-fed microbials
Manipulation of rumen archaea and bacteria

Feeds and feeding management


Effect of feed intake
Concentrate inclusion
Forage quality and management
Feed processing
Mixed rations and feeding frequency
Precision feeding and feed analyses
Mitigation options for production systems based on low-quality feeds

Manure and manure management

Diet manipulation and nutrient balance


Dietary management and N2O emissions from manure
Dietary protein content
Dietary tannins (ruminants only)
Dietary manipulation

Manure storage and separation
Manure storage covers
Manure acidification
Anaerobic digestion
Manure application
Urease and nitrification inhibitors
Control of manure greenhouse gas emissions through grazing practices
Cover cropping
Other manure treatments

Animal husbandry

Enhancing animal productivity


Recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST)
Animal genetics
Animal health and mortality

Animal fertility

Species summaries by management system


Interactions among mitigation practices

Interactions in the rumen

Protozoal-methanogen relationships
N retention and CH4 emissions

Interactions among feed additives, ration, enteric CH4 and animal productivity
Interactions among feeding practices, manure storage and land application
Interactions among nutrition, animal health and productivity


Appendix 1

Enteric methane prediction equations


Appendix 2

Mitigation options summary table



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