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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Agricultural Contributions to Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Authors
item Reicosky, Donald
item Hatfield, Jerry
item Sass, R. - RICE UNIVERSITY, TX

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 11, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Agriculture serves as both sources and sinks of greenhouse gases. Intensification of food and fiber production requires understanding management factors that influence greenhouse gas emissions. More than 97% of the world's food supply is produced on land that emits carbon dioxide when intensively tilled and fertilized and/or grazed by animals. Minimizing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture requires better understanding of how to manage soil carbon, how to minimize emissions from animal waste and lagoons and to decrease methane emission in rice production. This work reviews fossil fuel used in agriculture, soil carbon loss from intensive tillage, emissions associated with fertilizers, animal production, manure management and rice production. There are ample opportunities for agriculture to mitigate climate change by stashing carbon dioxide as carbon in soils, crop biomass and trees, and displacing use of fossil fuels required for tillage, chemical manufacture, equipment manufacture and grain handling operations. Other strategies include eliminating fallow and using cover crops, improve irrigation scheduling, solar drying of crops, improve soil fertility and manure management. Mitigation of methane emissions will require improved diets and rations for animals and aerobic conditions in manure management. Mitigation of methane emissions from rice production requires improved water and carbon management, soil preparation, variety selection, and fertilizer type and amount. Acceptance of the mitigation options will depend on the extent to which sustainable agriculture production can be achieved and the combined social, economic and environmental benefits of that agriculture.

Last Modified: 7/22/2014
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