Low Carbon Livestock Farm

This is Christoph Wand, Livestock Sustainability Specialist with OMAFRA wondering what Ontario livestock farms will look like in the low-carbon economy of the future.

Climate Change is now widely accepted as being a major threat and that human activities that produce greenhouse gases will require attention. In agriculture the major greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane. Nitrous oxide and methane are much more potent at climate forcing than carbon dioxide. Each tillage, energy use, nitrogen fertilisation, livestock feeding and manure usage are agricultural activities that will see changes in the future.

I've said it on Sound Advice and I will keep saying that sustainable livestock need sustainable crops. That is because of the large portion of livestock's footprint that feed production represents. Changes to diesel use and tillage as well as nitrogen use whether from manure or commercial fertilizer will have trickle effects through the feeds produced on the sustainable livestock farm. It also means that livestock feed efficiency especially from grains will be a constant push in the future.

The barn envelope will change on the low-carbon livestock farm of the future too. The relationship between heat usage, barn design and animal management will be re-examined. There is already some evidence that swine and poultry barns could be run at lower temperatures. Barns for all species can be more efficient and even generate heat or electricity for use and sale. They can all be more labour efficient! It is time to start a new vision for making long-term decisions such as building anew or renovating.

This has been Christoph Wand, Livestock Sustainability Specialist with OMAFRA for Sound Advice suggesting that livestock farming in a low-carbon economy will look and be managed differently than today, so plan ahead. Follow me on Twitter @CtophWand

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Christoph Wand, Livestock Sustainability Specialist
Creation Date: 28 April 2017
Last Reviewed: 28 April 2017