Focusing on improving animal efficiency provides benefits in the production of meat or milk, as well as the reduction of methane emissions. As noted by FAO[1], “Most mitigation interventions (in ruminant production systems) can provide both environmental and economic benefits.”  Practices and technologies that reduce emissions can often simultaneously increase productivity, thereby contributing to food security and economic development. Substantial emission reductions can be achieved across all species, systems and regions.  Mitigation solutions will vary as emission sources, intensities and levels vary amongst species, production systems and regions. However, since the mitigation potential can be achieved within existing systems, the potential can be achieved by improving practices rather than changing production systems.

The major mitigation potential lies in low productivity systems, where mitigation potential can be achieved by improved feeding, animal health and herd management.  In high productivity systems, small reductions in emission intensity can result in large emission reductions by improving other farm operations such as manure management, energy use, and sourcing lower emission intensity feeds.

[1] Gerber, P.J., Steinfeld, H., Henderson, B., Mottet, A., Opio, C., Dijkman, J., Falcucci, A. & Tempio, G.Tackling climate change through livestock – A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome.