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Animal Frontiers Abstract - Feature Articles

Management options to reduce the carbon footprint of livestock products


This article in

  1. Vol. 1 No. 1, p. 33-39
    Published: December 22, 2014

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. John E. Hermansen and
  2. Troels Kristensen
  1. University of Aarhus, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agroecology and Environment, Research Centre Foulum, PO Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark


Livestock products carry a large carbon footprint compared with other foods, and thus there is a need to focus on how to reduce it. The major contributing factors are emissions related to feed use and manure handling as well as the nature of the land required to produce the feed in question. We can conclude that the most important mitigation options include

  • better feed conversion at the system level,

  • use of feeds that increase soil carbon sequestration versus carbon emission,

  • ensure that the manure produced substitutes for synthetic fertilizer, and

  • use manure for bio-energy production.

Basically, it is important to make sure that all beneficial interactions in the livestock system are optimized instead of focusing only on animal productivity. There is an urgent need to arrive at a sound framework for considering the interaction between land use and carbon footprints of foods.

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Copyright © 2011. © 2011 Hermansen and Kristensen