The international agreement reached at the last climate conference expects to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030. Livestock, as one of the activities that emit this gas, will have to adapt.
The good news for Brazilian ranchers is that the country already has the technology to adapt and has good examples of this. The statement was made by Embrapa researchers Alexandre Nascimento and Roberto Giulo, who spoke during the Norte Show in Sinop (MT).
The exhibition takes place from April 19-22, in the Acrinorte Exhibition Garden. Embrapa participates in the event with a platform and a showcase of technology.
Before an audience consisting of rural producers, technical advisors and students, they presented the results of research developed by Embrapa on greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture and spoke about the testimonials of meat produced in sustainable systems.
Alexandre Nascimento, of Embrapa Agrossilvipastoril, has demonstrated the results of research conducted in Sinop with the support of the productive sector, through Acrimat and Acrinorte, to evaluate different integrated agricultural production systems, such as Crop and Livestock Integration (ILP), Livestock Forest (IPF) and Crop and Livestock and forests (ILPF).
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The data indicate greater productivity in the same area in the most intensive regimes and a lower balance of carbon-equivalent emissions.
According to Alexandre, in well-managed systems there is an increase in soil organic matter and carbon storage in the form of forage roots and trees, when they are part of the system.
At the same time, pastures with proper management are more productive, which leads to increased animal weight and an increase in the sexual speed of cows.
There are three ways to reduce methane emissions from livestock. One is by genetics, but we still have little information. Another method is to move the animal’s rumen, either with antibiotics or electrodes. But they are very expensive and still useless methods. And the third, which is the easiest, by food. The less time it takes to complete an animal’s cycle, the fewer emissions per kilogram of meat or milk produced”Alexandre Nascimento explained.
Systems such as the ILP and ILPF are important tools for intensifying land use and reducing the carbon footprint of livestock.
But even on traditional pastures, if well managed, good results are indeed possible. According to Alexandre, well-managed pastures can offset the emissions of two animals. On the other hand, systems with trees can offset the emission of up to ten animals.
“We already have all the practices ready. We have the technologies and we have to make adjustments for each case. The certification is missing. This is a great opportunity to increase the added value of production”says Alexandre Nascimento.
The ABC Program (2010-2020) and the ABC + Program, launched in 2021, have been cited as examples of the most recent and far-reaching Brazilian public policies that have contributed to the adoption of low carbon agricultural practices in the country.
As a way to encourage the adoption of more sustainable technologies, Embrapa Gado de Corte researcher Roberto Giulo introduced the Carbon Neutral Meat (CCN), which Embrapa launched guidelines in 2015.
He highlighted the pioneering spirit of the initiative, which was followed by national low-GHG livestock programs in Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Colombia, Uruguay and Argentina.
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In addition to CCN, which has already obtained certification for characteristics and marketing of products in large Brazilian centers, he mentioned the Low Carbon Meat program, the guidance of which is supposed to launch later this year. Whereas a CCN must necessarily include trees in a production system, a CBC will include ILP systems and exclusive livestock on well-managed pastures.
“The perspective of the seal is to increase the value of the meat product. By adopting the protocols, which are monitored by the certification body, the product will actually gain in productivity by simply adopting the protocol. Of course, there are certification costs, but there is the possibility of evaluating the product and paying a reward for the meat that exceeds the cost of certification. “.Giulo explains.
Another advantage of adopting low-carbon technologies is access to cheaper lines of credit, such as the ABC program.
However, Roberto Giulo in his presentation warned that it is pointless for a producer to do everything right on the farm if the agricultural sector as a whole is not united in the claim to combat illegal deforestation.
According to him, all efforts within the portal are monitored by international markets in the face of the problem of deforestation, which, in addition to reducing forests, increases Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The industrial and oil sectors, two other sectors responsible for Brazilian emissions, will not work together against deforestation, because their businesses will not be affected. It is up to the agricultural sector to do so. There is no point in doing everything right and continuing to deforestation illegally in the country “pointed out.