Study Assesses Strategies for Reducing Beef Production Emissions

Colorado State University researchers evaluated 12 strategies for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of beef production. Their published study, Reducing Climate Impacts of Beef Production: A synthesis of life cycle assessments across management systems and global regions, showed that emissions could be reduced by as much as 50% in certain regions, with the most potential in the United States and Brazil. The study found that increased efficiency to produce more beef per unit of GHG emitted and enhanced land management strategies to increase soil and plant carbon sequestration on grazed lands offered significant means of emissions reduction. The research team found a 46% reduction in net GHG emissions per unit of beef was achieved at sites using carbon sequestration management strategies on grazed lands, including using organic soil amendments and restoring trees and perennial vegetation to areas of degraded forests, woodlands and riverbanks. Additionally, researchers found an overall 8% reduction in net GHGs was achieved at sites using growth efficiency strategies. Net-zero emissions, however, were only achieved in 2% of studies.