Good grass management cuts carbon emissions

Good grass management could cut greenhouse gas emissions from livestock by up to 15%, according to EBLEX.

Feeds low in indigestible fibre, like high quality grass, lead to less methane being produced in the rumen and therefore, burped out, says EBLEX head of research and development Duncan Pullar.

“So by spending greater attention on selecting grass types and ensuring grasslands are properly managed helps cuts emissions.” This will hopefully go some way to helping the industry meet its target of cutting emissions by 11% by 2020.

But the potential to reduce emissions purely by using new varieties is limited, so there is now a focus on improving grassland management, in particular sward height targets and maintaining soil fertility, adds Dr Pullar.

“At this time of year, realistically, average cattle weight gain on grass in 0.5kg a day. We know that 1.2kg a day from grass is achievable, so there is significant scope for improvement and that is down to managing grass as a resource.

“If we take an average pasture and focus on its management, and increase the amount of clover, for example, this can lead to a 15% reduction in global warming potential for a kilogram of carcass in cattle and a 10% reduction in sheep.”

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