Practical solutions for mitigating GHG emissions in the beef sector 

12th March 2024

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In response to the increased pressure on the European beef industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the European Roundtable for Beef Sustainability (ERBS) hosted a GHG Knowledge Share Webinar on 05th March to address the practicalities of mitigating on farm GHG emissions. The engaging webinar introduced members to a range of tangible, outcome focused methods that can be applied directly on-farm.   

As one of the ERBS’s aligned targets, reducing GHG emissions is a key topic for the European beef industry and this webinar continues the work that the ERBS has been conducting on GHG reduction since 2022. This includes the publication of a practical guide for mitigating GHG emissions in the beef and dairy sectors, in partnership with Wageningen University which is available for download on the SAI Platform website.  

A diverse range of external speakers provided expert knowledge on the latest science, research, and innovative data measurement solutions for reducing  on-farm GHG emissions. Paul Crosson, Head of Beef Enterprise at Teagasc, opened the webinar by reminding participants of why this topic is so critical – the average contribution of agriculture to GHG emissions across Europe is 11%. Current research being undertaken at Teagasc Grange includes the development and evaluation of feed additives to reduce methane emissions from beef cattle.  

Providing a software demonstration, Eric Oancea, Founder & Managing Director at Root Global provided a practical approach to collecting, verifying, and reducing on-farm emissions data. Discussing the market pressure and the importance of collaboration, Eric explained that “with 95% of emissions stemming from up and downstream supply chain activities, engaging with the entire supply chain is an imperative.” 

Marco Winters, Head of Animal Genetics at AHDB, introduced the work of the Enviro Cow Index, designed to help farmers breed cows with longer lifespans and improved production, fertility, and feed efficiency. He explained that direct and indirect effects due to genetic improvement reduced co2e/kg FPCM by just over 1% each year.

Dr Hassan Pishgar, and Dr Theun Vellinga, Researcher & Senior Researcher at Wageningen University shared their four-step  ‘check, act, plan, do’ approach for emission reduction; monitoring GHG emissions, comparison with the company/national goals, using decision support tools and implementation.  

“In addition to GHG emissions, it is important to also concentrate focus on the co-benefits, trade-offs, and synergies, like environmental, ecological, economic, institutional, and societal.” 

Dr Hassan Pishgar, Researcher, Wageningen University.

The ERBS would like to thank all external speakers for providing valuable insight into the practical solutions available for monitoring and reducing on-farm GHG emissions.  

SAI Platform members can access a recording of the webinar and the presentations shared on our dedicated member’s portal, My SAI Platform.