The issue of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture is being increasingly recognised by government and consumers. Lowering greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture - and in particular red meat production - in Wales can be achieved through small changes to management techniques and also through the use of best practice.
Firstly the basics;
There are three main greenhouse gases:
While livestock farming is responsible for the production of some carbon dioxide it is nitrous oxide and methane which make up the majority of emissions.
Nitrous oxide and methane are the results of different processes. Nitrous oxide is largely released from soils and the use of fertilisers, whilst methane is produced from ruminant digestion and the storage of manure. Where carbon dioxide is produced it is generally as a consequence of soil disturbance, fuel use and manufacturing processes.
In July 2011 Hybu Cig Cymru produced a document entitled A Sustainable Future- The Welsh Red Meat Roadmap. The Roadmap examines how livestock farmers and processors in Wales can achieve new and agreed industry and government goals for GHG emissions.
10 steps to a lesser footprint
Targetted at farmers this leaflet highlights 10 achievable strategies that can be implemented on farm with the aim of developing a profitable, sustainable business with a reduced impact on the environment.
A Sustainable Future - The Welsh Red Meat Roadmap
A far-reaching document that outlines the industry's current position with regard to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. It also outlines the challenges faced by the Welsh red meat sector and suggests strategies that can be implemented throughout the supply chain to safeguard the industry's future while improving its 'green credentials'.
Industry Action Plan
A comprehensive list of what the industry can do to reduce its impact on the environment. Covering all sectors of the supply chain the emphasis is on improving efficiency of production to ensure the longterm economic viability of the Welsh red meat industry.