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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION PRACTICES TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY IN AGROECOSYSTEMS OF THE NORTHEASTERN US

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: Mitigation of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from animal operations: III. A review of animal management mitigation options

Authors
item Hristov, A -
item Ott, T -
item Tricarico, J -
item Rotz, Clarence
item Waghorn, G -
item Adesogan, A -
item Dijkstra, J -
item Montes, F -
item Oh, J -
item Kebreab, E -
item Oosting, S -
item Gerber, P -
item Henderson, B -
item Makkar, H.P. -
item Firkins, J -

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: August 18, 2013
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Citation: Hristov, A.N., Ott, T., Tricarico, J., Rotz, C.A., Waghorn, G., Adesogan, A., Dijkstra, J., Montes, F., Oh, J., Kebreab, E., Oosting, S., Gerber, P.J., Henderson, B., Makkar, H.S., Firkins, J. 2013. Mitigation of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from animal operations: III. A review of animal management mitigation options. Journal of Animal Science. 91:5095-5113.

Technical Abstract: The goal of this review was to analyze published data on animal management practices that mitigate enteric methane and nitrous oxide emissions from animal operations. The review is part of a series of reports evaluating methane and nitrous oxide mitigation practices for livestock operations commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Increasing animal productivity can be a very effective strategy for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit of livestock product. Improving the genetic potential of animals through planned cross-breeding or selection within breeds and achieving this genetic potential through proper nutrition and improvements in reproductive efficiency, animal health, and reproductive lifespan are effective approaches for improving animal productivity and reducing GHG emission intensity. In subsistence production systems, reduction of herd size would increase feed availability and productivity of individual animals and the total herd, thus lowering methane emission intensity. In these systems, improving the nutritive value of low-quality feeds for ruminant diets can have a considerable benefit on herd productivity while keeping the herd methane output constant or even decreasing it. Residual feed intake may be an appealing tool for screening animals that are low methane emitters, but there is currently insufficient evidence that low residual feed intake animals have a lower methane yield per unit of feed intake or animal product. Reducing age at slaughter of finished cattle and the number of days that animals are on feed in the feedlot can significantly reduce GHG emissions in beef and other meat animal production systems. Improved animal health and reduced mortality and morbidity are expected to increase herd productivity and reduce GHG emission intensity in all livestock production systems. Pursuing a suite of intensive and extensive reproductive management technologies provides a significant opportunity to reduce GHG emissions. Recommended approaches will differ by region and species, but should target increasing conception rates in dairy, beef and buffalo, increasing fecundity in swine and small ruminants, and reducing embryo wastage in all species. Mitigation practices are often studies in isolation. However, while interactions among individual components of livestock production systems are very complex, they must be considered when recommending GHG mitigation practices.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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