Canadian beef industry encourages investment in ag research to drive further methane reduction
On October 11, 2021, the government of Canada confirmed its support for the Global Methane Pledge. Canada joined the United States and the European Union, who on September 17, 2021, had launched the global pledge to reduce methane emissions by at least 30 per cent below 2020 levels by 2030 and implementation of related domestic actions.
The Canadian beef industry continues to be a global leader in sustainable beef production. Beef farmers and ranchers manage lands that store an impressive 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon, and the Canadian beef industry has half the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint per kilogram of production when compared to the global average. However, the industry is driving forward with further reductions as outlined in a multi-stakeholder strategy that includes goals and action plans to;
- Reduce primary production GHG emission intensity by 33 per cent by 2030
- Sequester an additional 3.4 million tonnes of carbon every year
- Safeguard the existing 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon stored on lands managed with beef cattle
- Reduce food loss and waste (from secondary processing to consumer) by 50 per cent by 2030
Key to achieving these goals is investment in research and extension for the application of the research on farm.
“We were pleased to see the government’s commitment to supporting Canadian farmers, ranchers and industry partners as we drive towards the implementation of climate change solutions,” said Bob Lowe, president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. “We need to increase our investments in research and the adoption of research to achieve our shared goals.”
The industry plans to reduce methane emissions through improvements in genetics, forage and feed production and management, and animal health amongst others. Researchers are particularly interested in feed additives, which have shown great potential for methane reductions from cattle in the range of 20 per cent to 70 per cent. As the government moves forward with its goals, environmental partners, such as the Canadian beef industry, should be included in the policy and investment development.
The Canadian beef industry is also globally engaged through initiatives such as the Global Agenda Towards Sustainable Livestock and the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. Global increases in agriculture research and extension will have rippling positive implications for methane reductions as well as the health and livelihoods of agriculture producers and rural communities worldwide.
Beef Cattle Research Council Factoids:
- In Canada, producing 1kg of beef now creates 15 per cent less greenhouse gases than in 1981, due to improved production practices.
- Feed efficiency in the 1950s was 10 to one. Today it is six to one.
- Learn more at beefresearch.ca