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Technical options for the mitigation of direct methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock: a review

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 June 2013

P. J. Gerber*
Agriculture and Consumer protection Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Vialle delle terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy
A. N. Hristov
Department of Animal Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
B. Henderson
Agriculture and Consumer protection Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Vialle delle terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy
H. Makkar
Agriculture and Consumer protection Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Vialle delle terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy
J. Oh
Department of Animal Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
C. Lee
Department of Animal Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
R. Meinen
Department of Animal Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
F. Montes
Plant Science Department, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
T. Ott
Department of Animal Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
J. Firkins
Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus OH 43210, USA
A. Rotz
Department of Animal Sciences, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, University Park, PA 16802, USA
C. Dell
Department of Animal Sciences, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, University Park, PA 16802, USA
A. T. Adesogan
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA
W. Z. Yang
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge AB, Canada T1J 4B1
J. M. Tricarico
Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, Rosemont, IL 60018, USA
E. Kebreab
Department of Animal Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
G. Waghorn
DairyNZ, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
J. Dijkstra
Department of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
S. Oosting
Department of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Although livestock production accounts for a sizeable share of global greenhouse gas emissions, numerous technical options have been identified to mitigate these emissions. In this review, a subset of these options, which have proven to be effective, are discussed. These include measures to reduce CH4 emissions from enteric fermentation by ruminants, the largest single emission source from the global livestock sector, and for reducing CH4 and N2O emissions from manure. A unique feature of this review is the high level of attention given to interactions between mitigation options and productivity. Among the feed supplement options for lowering enteric emissions, dietary lipids, nitrates and ionophores are identified as the most effective. Forage quality, feed processing and precision feeding have the best prospects among the various available feed and feed management measures. With regard to manure, dietary measures that reduce the amount of N excreted (e.g. better matching of dietary protein to animal needs), shift N excretion from urine to faeces (e.g. tannin inclusion at low levels) and reduce the amount of fermentable organic matter excreted are recommended. Among the many ‘end-of-pipe’ measures available for manure management, approaches that capture and/or process CH4 emissions during storage (e.g. anaerobic digestion, biofiltration, composting), as well as subsurface injection of manure, are among the most encouraging options flagged in this section of the review. The importance of a multiple gas perspective is critical when assessing mitigation potentials, because most of the options reviewed show strong interactions among sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The paper reviews current knowledge on potential pollution swapping, whereby the reduction of one GHG or emission source leads to unintended increases in another.

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