Livestock plays a very important role in Agriculture & Dairy Domain. Livestock systems, including energy use and land-use change along the supply chain, accounted for an estimated 14.5% of total global gas (GHG) emissions from human activities as per the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Cattle related GHG is at 65%. Direct emissions from livestock and feed production constitute some 80% of total agriculture emissions and thus have to be a part of any effort to scale back the contribution of food production to global climate change. Methane gas, which is produced in the stomach by a ruminant animal, release 95% through the mouth while ruminating.
Emission of Green House Gas in livestock systems imply losses of nitrogen, organic matter, and energy. Increasing overall productivity and efficiency of farm systems and recovering energy and nutrients are key mitigation strategies to reduce the greenhouse emissions from dairy cattle. The advantages include economic efficiency because the productivity of animals is more per unit milk production will increase with relevance the resources used by them. This may contribute to the overall reduction in Greenhouse gases emission because the environmental impact of cattle is going to be lesser.
Mitigation Methods to cut back Greenhouse Gases for Indian Landscape:
1.Improving feed quality and digestibility
By providing nutritious feed and fodder, the productivity of cattle will increase. Likewise, the probability of contracting diseases reduces. Therefore, the total production time of livestock on the field increases, and hence they’ll strongly influence the GHG emissions per unit product. Low digestible feeds affect nutrient uptake and end in low animal productivity. For ruminants, an outsized fraction of GHG emissions are caused by enteric methane production within the rumen. While total enteric emissions may be lower with low digestible feed, so is overall production; as a result, emissions intensity tends to be much higher. There are multiple ways during which feed quality and digestibility are often improved altogether production systems. Care must even be taken that the overall cost of feed & fodder mustn’t increase to such a grade that profitability goes down. A balance must always be kept.
2. Improving Animal Health
Livestock health may be a crucial aspect of animal welfare, food safety, human health, and production efficiency. Healthy animals are more productive and hence use more of their feed to induce the required products. Unhealthy animals tend to possess lower productivity resulting from reduced growth and performance, lower reproductive success, an increased need for treatment, resulting in higher emissions per unit of material. Improving the animal health status thus offers the possibility to boost emissions per unit of stuff, while also improving productivity, with important positive consequences for food security, animal welfare, food safety and public health. For a few parts of the livestock sector, extending the productive lifetime of animals will decrease the whole GHG emissions per total product over the animal’s lifecycle. Relevant approaches include improved conception rates, earlier time of first reproduction and increasing reproductive lifetime, and adjusting overall lifetime to minimize overall GHG emissions per unit of product (which implies increasing longevity for dairy cow). This could be achieved by breeding and selection, improved feeding, and wider husbandry practices to forestall a decline in productivity.
Manure management includes all activities involving the handling, storage, and disposal of urine and feces from livestock (other than manure deposited directly onto pastures by grazing animals). Proper manure management is important to mitigate GHG emissions, and it offers benefits of decreasing the nutrient losses from cattle production farms and also helps in reducing the environmental impacts. Although manure management accounts for fewer than 10% of total livestock emissions, it offers key and technologically mostly mature opportunities for mitigation that also deliver on other economic, social, and environmental objectives, although cost-effectiveness can rely upon the dimensions of operation. Transferring the fundamental principles, education, information, policies, and an enabling environment (financial and technical infrastructure) are fundamental to the success of improving collection, storage, and application. Especially for marginal dairy farmers, customized training programs are needed (in combination with training on health/hygiene, feeding, access to finance, opportunities to share equipment, etc.). Broader environmental regulations (for odor and water quality) will be important drivers for the adoption of manure management practices, as may be energy access through the employment of biogas digesters in remote rural areas.
In Conclusion, the concept of Greenhouse Gases Emission from Dairy Cattle in India is relatively a new concept. Awareness drives need to be conducted for Leading Dairy Industries as well as Dairy Farmers to make them understand about the effects of GHG Emissions. Also, the government needs to bring in the specific policy’s in this domain to make an overall impact. The above three methods suggested are as per Indian context that can be applied, there is research going on in developed countries on Genetics & Breeding, Rumen Modification and Animal & Farm System Management.
- Symposium review: Modelling greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farms, J. Dairy Sci. 101:6675–6690
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock: Best practice and emerging options, Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases
- Reducing methane and other greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farming, Delaval Position Paper 4, IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations