Climate impact of beef: an analysis considering multiple time scales and production methods without use of global warming potentials

An analysis of the climate impact of various forms of beef production is carried out, with a particular eye to the comparison between systems relying primarily on grasses grown in pasture ('grass-fed' or 'pastured' beef) and systems involving substantial use of manufactured feed requiring significant external inputs in the form of synthetic fertilizer and mechanized agriculture ('feedlot' beef). The climate impact is evaluated without employing metrics such as ${\mathrm{CO}}_{2}{\rm{e}}$ or global warming potentials. The analysis evaluates the impact at all time scales out to 1000 years.

Income disparities and the global distribution of intensively farmed chicken and pigs

The rapid transformation of the livestock sector in recent decades brought concerns on its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, disruptions to nitrogen and phosphorous cycles and on land use change, particularly deforestation for production of feed crops. Animal and human health are increasingly interlinked through emerging infectious diseases, zoonoses, and antimicrobial resistance. In many developing countries, the rapidity of change has also had social impacts with increased risk of marginalisation of smallholder farmers.

An inhibitor persistently decreased enteric methane emission from dairy cows with no negative effect on milk production

Methane from enteric fermentation in the ruminant digestive system is a major contributor to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and worldwide. Methane is also a net loss of feed energy to the animal. This study was undertaken to investigate the effect of a methane inhibitor on enteric methane emissions from lactating dairy cows. The experiment demonstrated that, under industry-relevant conditions, the inhibitor persistently decreased by 30% enteric methane emissions, without negatively affecting animal productivity.

Global trends in antimicrobial use in food animals

Antimicrobials are used in livestock production to maintain health and productivity. These practices contribute to the spread of drug-resistant pathogens in both livestock and humans, posing a significant public health threat. We present the first global map (228 countries) of antibiotic consumption in livestock and conservatively estimate the total consumption in 2010 at 63,151 tons. We project that antimicrobial consumption will rise by 67% by 2030, and nearly double in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

The sustainability challenges of our meat and dairy diets

Continuing high consumption of livestock products in nearly all developed countries, and increasing demand for livestock-based foods in large transition economies, are creating serious problems of prolonged and persistent environmental and social degradation. These problems are further exacerbated and affected by climate change and risks, biodiversity loss, water stress, and water pollution.

On-farm solid state simultaneous saccharification and fermentation of whole crop forage rice in wrapped round bale for ethanol production

In an attempt to reduce environmental loading during ethanol production from cellulosic plant biomass, we have previously proposed an on-site solid state fermentation (SSF) method for producing ethanol from whole crops, which at the same time provides cattle feed without producing wastes. During the ensiling of freshly harvested plant biomass with cellulase and glucoamylase, the added yeast and lactic acid bacteria induced simultaneous saccharification and production of ethanol and lactic acid in hermetically sealed containers on-farm.

A nitrogen budget for Denmark, developments between 1990 and 2010, and prospects for the future

A nitrogen (N) budget for Denmark has been developed for the years 1990 to 2010, describing the inputs and outputs at the national scale and the internal flows between relevant sectors of the economy. Satisfactorily closing the N budgets for some sectors of the economy was not possible, due to missing or contradictory information. The budgets were nevertheless considered sufficiently reliable to quantify the major flows. Agriculture was responsible for the majority of inputs, though fisheries and energy generation also made significant contributions.

Reducing uncertainty in nitrogen budgets for African livestock systems

Livestock is poorly represented in N budgets for the African continent although some studies have examined livestock-related N flows at different levels. Livestock plays an important role in N cycling and therefore on N budgets including livestock-related flows. This study reviews the literature on N budgets for Africa to identify factors contributing to uncertainties. Livestock densities are usually modelled because of the lack of observational spatial data.

Producing more grain with lower environmental costs

Agriculture faces great challenges to ensure global food security by increasing yields while reducing environmental costs. Here we address this challenge by conducting a total of 153 site-year field experiments covering the main agro-ecological areas for rice, wheat and maize production in China.

The supply and demand of net primary production in the Sahel

Net primary production (NPP) is the principal source of energy for ecosystems and, by extension, human populations that depend on them. The relationship between the supply and demand of NPP is important for the assessment of socio-ecological vulnerability. We present an analysis of the supply and demand of NPP in the Sahel using NPP estimates from the MODIS sensor and agri-environmental data from FAOSTAT. This synergistic approach allows for a spatially explicit estimation of human impact on ecosystems.