Showing results for: Grazing and grassland
If the US were to shift to entirely grass-finished beef (vs. grain-finished), then the US cattle population would have to increase by 30% relative to today, because grass-fed cattle gain weight more slowly than those fattened in feedlots. Furthermore, existing pastures would have to become 40%-370% more productive to avoid converting more natural habitat to farmland or competition with human food supply. Methane emissions from the cattle’s digestive systems might increase by 43%, again because of slower growth rates.
FCRN member Eric Toensmeier, of Yale University, has written an op-ed for the Washington Post in which he discusses the potential of silvopasture - including trees on grazing land - to reduce agricultural emissions. Trees increase production by providing shade to livestock, according to the op-ed.
This study by researchers in the US used a theoretical approach to work out how much beef could be produced in the US if the cows were raised solely on pasturelands and by-products, and what the environmental and nutritional ramifications of repurposing the freed up cropland would be.
In November 2017, in response to the FCRN’s report Grazed and Confused, the Eating Better Alliance brought together a range of researchers and civil society to discuss pasture farming and in particular its contribution to climate change. The meeting began with a presentation by Tara Garnett. It was organised because Eating Better was keen to have a discussion about the implications of this research for civil society messaging toward ‘less and better’ meat and dairy, and farming in pasture-based livestock systems.
A new paper titled Distributions of emissions intensity for individual beef cattle reared on pasture-production systems details a new method, developed at the North Wyke Farm Platform, of assessing grazing livestock impacts and benefits at the level of individual animals.
This paper, by researchers from the US and the Netherlands, presents the findings of a model analysis that estimates how much soil organic carbon (SOC) has been lost, and from where, as a result of land use and land cover change (LU-LCC) associated with human agricultural activities.
The University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute have set up a blog to provide space for a conversation about the future of the British countryside.
This research measures dairy cows’ motivation to access the outdoors. The results show cows are highly motivated for outdoor access. The majority of the cows in this experiment pushed through a weighted gate at least as hard to access pasture as they did to access fresh feed.
What is the latest science on soil's ability to pull carbon pollution out of the atmosphere? Breakthrough Strategies hosted a webinar on April 24 on the Technical Potential of Soil Carbon Sequestration. It featured three of the world’s leading experts on strategies for drawing carbon pollution out of the atmosphere and storing it in soils: Keith Paustian, Jean-François Soussana, and Eric Toensmeier.
This research article provides a new quantitative analysis of data on global feed use and feed use efficiency by livestock, in order to help shed light on livestock’s role in food security.
The authors of this paper compare the impact of intensification in the beef and dairy sectors via two pathways; either intensification within a system (e.g. a mixed crop-livestock system) or through transitioning to another more productive system (from pasture to mixed crop-livestock production) and assesses the mitigation potential that could arise. It reviews the impacts of these forms of intensification on both GHG emissions, land occupation and land use change (LUC), the last of which has often been excluded in other similar analyses.
The FCRN’s Tara Garnett gave a short presentation at an event held in November by the Sustainable Food Trust. The question posed was ‘Do livestock hold the key to a healthy planet and population?’
This report by Zero Carbon Australia, outlines how research on greenhouse gas emissions from land use (agriculture and forestry) can be reduced to zero net emissions, coupled with economic opportunities and increased resilience in the face of climate change. The land use sector is the second largest source of emissions in Australia and is highly exposed to the impacts of climate change. 15% of total emissions in Australia are from the agriculture and forestry sectors, the largest component of which is land clearing for grazing.