Animal Production / Dairying / Fodder / Livestock

More milk, less methane

By improving feed resources, more milk can be produced from fewer cows

Over the next two decades, rapid urbanisation and rising incomes in the developing world are expected to bring about a livestock revolution. In India, this boom in the production of animal products will be driven by a demand for milk, which is projected to increase by more than 80 million tons over 15 years.

Smallholder livestock producers will have new opportunities to raise their incomes on the back of this increasing demand, particularly among the vulnerable communities occupying dry, marginal and remote lands, that rely most heavily on their animals. At the same time, however, livestock production faces continuing global criticism for the environmental damage caused by its emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

To be environmentally friendly, further development of livestock production systems will have to rely on increased efficiency of production rather than increased numbers of animals.

Farmers are improving feed resources by selecting and breeding new cultivars that have a higher yield and fodder quality

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and its partners have identified livestock feed to be an issue at the interface of both positive and negative effects of livestock on livelihoods and the environment. Feeding strategies that increase the efficiency of livestock production by producing more milk from fewer animals and consuming less feed will reduce not only greenhouse gas emissions but also the amount of land and water required to feed the animals.

ILRI and its partners advocate animal feeding systems that make use of key feed resources that do not require additional land and water for their production. Chief among these is stover: the stalks, leaves and other residues of cereal and legume plants left over after the grain has been harvested.

Read more… (New Agriculturalist)

One thought on “More milk, less methane

  1. Despite the concerns raised about livestock production’s effect on global climate through methane emissions, and the acknowledged importance of livestock in the economies of vulnerable communities there is little (if any) research effort aimed at exploring ways this green house gas can be reduced by various systems.

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