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Because some degree of climate change is now inevitable, sustainable agricultural practices are critical to climate change adaptation. A focus needs to be on the implementation of farming practices that limit or reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from livestock production. Modifications to current practices will be necessary with environmental sustainability as the top priority.
Livestock production contributes 27 percent of overall agricultural GHGs in Manitoba (1), making this agriculture sector an important target for climate change adaptation. Livestock produce the largest amount of methane (CH4) in Manitoba. The gas is produced both directly and indirectly by animals.
- Animals directly produce emissions in the form of burps, a product of enteric fermentation.
- Indirect emissions are a result of manure storage practices. Manure storage and spreading also releases nitrous oxide (N2O), another potent GHG.
Manitoba’s agriculture is in a good position to influence GHG emissions,(2) because farming practices can be modified to become part of the climate change solution. There are practical on-farm techniques that can be implemented to help reduce GHG emissions from livestock production. Management strategies can include improving pasture and forage quality, using efficient feed rations to lower fermentation losses, following proper manure storage and spreading regulations and enhancing carbon (C) sequestration and storage on pastures.(3)
For more information, download our publication “Farming in a Changing Climate in Manitoba – Livestock Edition (2013)“