Addressing the carbon footprint of beef has long been in discussions with politicians, consumers and cattle producers. One way that researchers and cattlemen are addressing emissions is through the creation and adoption of technology that introduce efficiency to the beef production cycle. During the Alltech ONE Conference in Lexington, Kentucky on May 20, attendees listened in on a variety of topics impacting beef producers from across the globe.
The session was covered by Drovers’ Twitter account with some live tweets. Here is a breakdown on what we heard:
Frank Mitloehner, professor and air quality expert from University of California-Davis, also known as @GHGGuru on Twitter, is no stranger to the Drovers audience offering his research perspective on methane and carbon emissions in cattle production. Prior to speaking before a U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on climate change, Mitloehner shared some stats on beef’s carbon footprint.
Golablly 2/3 of land that is marginal can only be used for grazing. The 1/3 of land left is for crops, that's how resource limited we are. In the U.S. only 7.5 million acres of cropland is used to grow grain for cattle says @GHGGuru #one19— Drovers (@DroversCTN) May 20, 2019
Half of the fertilizer that is used in crop production is supplied by livestock. Without animal food production we don't have organic manure for fertilization. Without animals there is no organic crop production says @GHGGuru #one19— Drovers (@DroversCTN) May 20, 2019
Frank Mitloehner, professor and air quality expert from University of California, Davis (aka @GHGGuru) did an interview with @Greg_Drovers to talk about some of the research he's working on regarding beef's carbon footprint #one19 #eatbeef https://t.co/9CiePDhKbh— Drovers (@DroversCTN) May 20, 2019
Frank Mitloehner (aka @GHGGuru) has shared his thoughts on the #GreenNewDeal with @AOC and her staff regarding the mention of "farting cows." Dr. Mitloehner went on @agritalk to discuss the policy issue #one19 #eatbeef #beefmonth https://t.co/kuMKwNjTEa— Drovers (@DroversCTN) May 20, 2019
Frank Mitloehner (aka @GHGGuru) was recently awarded the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) as 2019 Borlaug CAST Communication Award for his work discussing greenhouse gas emissions in livestock production #one19 #eatbeef https://t.co/FWj74w99I5— Drovers (@DroversCTN) May 20, 2019
Technology Innovations in Beef Production
Several different technologies are being created to help beef producers be more efficient that are participating in the The Pearse Lyons Accelerator. A session called Ag-Tech in Beef Production: A Startup’s Journey featured two startups, AgriWebb and Vence, which are looking at changing how cattle management and grazing are done.
. @AgriWebb is an Australian farm management software company that has been helping cattle raisers more efficiently do their job. They are looking at launching in the United States during 2020 #one19 https://t.co/XhJ42wuA82— Drovers (@DroversCTN) May 20, 2019
Vence is a technology company that specializes in improving grazing "virtual grazing" https://t.co/gWWa16puVw— Drovers (@DroversCTN) May 20, 2019
Another session was given in the business track of the conference that looked at a new technology called Breedr, an application that is helping producers market cattle. Claire Lewis, co-founder of Breedr, offered up some thoughts on the kind of productivity technology can deliver in a presentation entitled Efficiency Experts: What Do Startups Know That You Don't?. The topic also pertains to the issue of food waste, which impacts beef’s carbon footprint.
Our food industry deals with a very complex farm. We’re operating in a volatile marketplace. It is very, very difficult. We’re seeing more consolidation in agriculture says Claire Lewis, co-founder of @_Breedr #one19— Drovers (@DroversCTN) May 20, 2019
Antibiotics have been a hot button issue for consumers, policy makers and livestock producers for the past few years because of discussions like antimicrobial restraint bacteria and non-antibiotic labeling. Most people don’t remember a time without antibiotics says Brian Lubbers, DVM and director of clinical microbiology at the Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
Drovers covered this topic more in-depth from Lubbers’ presentation in an article titled: The Future of Antibiotic Use in Beef Production.
With antimicrobial stewardship in livestock we want to improve patient outcomes. Minimize harm to individuals, populations and communities. Optimize finical resources. Preserve availability and effectiveness of antimicrobials says Brian Lubbers, DVM at @KStateVDL #one19— Drovers (@DroversCTN) May 20, 2019
Not all systems of raising cattle have the same types of disease challenges says Brian Lubbers, DVM at @KStateVDL Weather, location, type and age of cattle will all have impacts on what diseases are being dealt with and the type of antimicrobial needed #one19— Drovers (@DroversCTN) May 20, 2019
Trace minerals not only benefit cow health but translate into producing better calves. Alltech research scientist Anne Koontz detailed how important it is to keep trace minerals as part of a cow herd’s nutrition program.
Some take home points that @FindingNRG offers to implementing a trace mineral program in your cow-calf herd include:— Drovers (@DroversCTN) May 20, 2019
1. Sub-clinical deficiencies are real
2. Focus on the cow, set her up for success
3. Effects echo through the system@Alltech #one19