Beef cattle grazing on American rangelands—not feedlots—could be net carbon sink

Beef cattle grazing on American rangelands—not feedlots—could be net carbon sink

Susan MacMillan

ILRI Clippings

‘Beef cattle have been identified as the largest livestock-sector contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Using life cycle analysis (LCA), several studies have concluded that grass-finished beef systems have greater GHG intensities than feedlot-finished (FL) beef systems. These studies evaluated only one grazing management system—continuous grazing—and assumed steady-state soil carbon (C) to model the grass-finishing environmental impact. However, by managing for more optimal forage growth and recovery, adaptive multi-paddock (AMP) grazing can improve animal and forage productivity, potentially sequestering more soil organic carbon (SOC) than continuous grazing.

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