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K-State Today

August 24, 2016



K-State Climate Change Group to discuss measuring greenhouse gas emissions from livestock

By John Ruberson

Eduardo Santos

Eduardo Alvarez Santos, specialist in micrometeorology and assistant professor in the agronomy department, will present the seminar "Greenhouse gas emissions measurements from livestock production systems" at the Kansas State University Climate Change Group meeting from 10-11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 26, in 1063 Rathbone Hall. All are welcome to attend.

The livestock sector plays an important role in the world economy by providing food, fiber, fertilizer and draft power to a large proportion of the world population. With the predicted increase of the global population — 9 billion people by 2050 — production of animal protein will be crucial for food security and for the diversification of people's diet in the coming decades. In addition, animal agriculture often utilizes marginal lands that could not be otherwise used for crop production.

In developing countries, livestock is vital for food security and for the economic stability of small farmers. However, livestock production also has important impacts on the environment, such as deforestation, land degradation, water pollution and emission of greenhouse gases. The greenhouse gas emissions by the livestock sector are estimated to be 17.5 percent of the total anthropogenic emissions of GHG (IPCC, 2007). These relatively high emissions by the livestock sector also open opportunities for the adoption of mitigation strategies to minimize the impact of animal production on the environment. Feed production, enteric fermentation and manure management are major sources of greenhouse gases from the livestock sector (FAO, 2013).

On the other hand, some of these greenhouse gas emissions can be offset by the carbon uptake in grazing systems. The development of accurate inventories of greenhouse gas emissions is challenging due to the limited number of observations and the variability among different greenhouse gas sources, animal diet and management practices. Micrometeorological techniques can provide accurate estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from animal production systems, help reduce the uncertainties of current greenhouse gas inventories, and assist in the selection of effective mitigation strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.