Journal article
Procedural and system-orientated strategies for reducing emissions in livestock production

Publication Details
Sundrum, A.
Publication year:
Berichte über Landwirtschaft
Pages range:
Volume number:
Start page:
End page:

In the efforts to reduce the emissions from livestock production various competing strategies exist with respect to effectiveness, practicability and sustainability. In conventional livestock production the emphasis lies on strategies covering a range of procedures aimed at reducing the application of home-grown and imported nutrients in down-stream stages of the processing chain. In contrast, the system-orientated approach used in organic livestock production is based on the principle of avoidance. This implies that hazardous means of production will not be employed, and that nutrient input into farms will be drastically reduced by purposeful cutting back of resources.
The opportunities for reducing emissions by specific feeding and other procedural measures are clearly limited in alternative animal husbandry in comparison to conventional livestock production practices. On the other hand, at farm level, the quantities of substances in circulation, due to the drastic restrictions on nutrient imports and a system-orientated reorganisation of the farm, have sunk to a clearly lower level than on comparative conventional farms. A comparison of the various approaches leads to the working hypothesis that, as far as the farm as a whole and unit animal production are concerned, the level of pollution caused by emissions from alternative farming lies below that arising from conventional production. Moreover, the systematic approach offers the prerequisite for a high degree of effectiveness in the application of internal and external farm resources, and is thus an economical and sustainable method for the creation of animal products. At the same time, however, it also involves drops in productive performance and animal-related productivity.
The complex interactions between the different groups of substances, the constantly varying environment in which animals are reared, and the considerable fluctuation found in the quantities of substances in circulation mean that any quantification of the emissions emanating from animal husbandry must of necessity be only very approximate. Any assessment of the efficiency of individual measures or specific rearing systems can only be of limited scope, and the resulting data can scarcely be considered valid, if the farm context is left out of consideration. In view of the future challenges facing farm policy in the sphere of environmental protection, it must be concluded that greater attention will have to be afforded to the systematic approach, taken in conjunction with specific procedural measures and the development of methods for weighing up the relative factors in an interdisciplinary and farm context.


Last updated on 2019-25-07 at 16:46