With world leaders having returned from the recent gathering at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, there is much talk of methane emissions and belching cows. The Global Methane Pledge, led by the US and EU and now with many country signatories, aims to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030. This is seen as a ‘quick win’ to reduce global warming and will have major implications for livestock production.
Livestock have become the villain of climate change. Some researchers claim that 14,5% of all human-derived emissions come from livestock, either directly or indirectly. There have been widespread calls for radical shifts in livestock production globally to address climate chaos. But which livestock, and where? As a new report that I co-authored, ‘Are livestock always bad for the planet?’, argues, it is vitally important to differentiate between production systems.
Not all milk and meat are the same. Extensive and often mobile pastoral systems of the sort commonly seen across Africa, as well as in Asia, Latin America and Europe, have hugely different effects to contained, intensive and industrial livestock production.
Yet, in standard narratives about diet and production shifts, all livestock are lumped together. Cows are misleadingly equated with polluting cars and beef with coal. The simplistic ‘all livestock are bad’ narrative is promoted by campaign organisers, environmental celebrities, rich philanthropists and policymakers alike. Inevitably, it dominates media coverage. A much more sophisticated debate is needed.
DELVING INTO DATA
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
‘COVID-19 deaths help drive up goat sales'
Communal goat farmers in South Africa can set their own prices due to a shortage of the animals brought about by COVID- 19-related deaths, according to Gugu Mbata, project manager of the Mdukatshani Rural Develpment Project.
SA breeder's new cultivar sparks fresh love for passion fruit
Mpumalanga-based granadilla breeder Darryn Stoltz has developed a delicious new passion fruit cultivar that offers several advantages over previous varieties. One of these is longer shelf life, enabling the export of better-quality fruit. He spoke to Lindi Botha.
The layperson's guide to ley farming
Over the past few years, monocropping has largely given way to the crop rotation system, and ley farming has gained popularity in grain-producing areas such as KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Free State and North West, where many farmers also produce livestock. Prof Chris Dannhauser spoke to Susan Marais about how the rotating of grain crops with planted pastures can be a highly useful practice.
The good and the bad of chimera
Chimera can be mistaken for a viral or bacterial infection, but it is actually a genetic disorder that could benefit some producers.
Massey Ferguson launches new tractor for orchards
With interest in the production of orchard crops on the rise, Massey Ferguson has launched the MF 3300 narrow-width tractor series in SA.
John Deere self-driving tractor is ready for commercial use
John Deere recently launched a fully autonomous tractor at the Consumer Technology Association’s show in Las Vegas, and it will be on sale in the US later this year.
Making it with medical cannabis
Thinking of producing medical cannabis? Glenneis Kriel spoke to industry pioneers about the opportunities and pitfalls for growers of this crop.
Indigenous veld goats: the ideal option for extreme conditions
Changing weather conditions and Africa’s severe poverty demand tough, easy-to-care-for livestock. The answer, says breeder Deon Vlok, is indigenous veld goats. Annelie Coleman reports.
Combating the effects of soil pollution
Soil pollution is a serious challenge worldwide, resulting in environmental damage and potential health hazards to people and animals. This report examines affordable ways in which farmers can limit its effects on their crops and reduce further soil degradation.
A matter of finetuning
Making money from an egg unit depends on many factors, and each has to be fine-tuned to optimise profits, as this article revealed.
THE SECOND COMING OF NUCLEAR POWER
As the demand for energy rises, MINIATURIZED nuclear power plants could be a climate-friendly new source. Critics aren’t so sure
'The World Is On the Brink'
Less than a year before president john F. Kennedy delivered his Commencement Address at the American University in 1963, the Cuban Missile Crisis had brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
'The World Is on the Brink'
Prince Charles offers his plan for a healthier planet
Clippings Calls for Sustainable Gardening
Our roundup of the month’s latest gardening news and views
CHAOS In The Palace
WITH QUEEN ELIZABETH II’S HEALTH IN CRISIS, THE ROYALS ARE IN A SCRAMBLE TO PROTECT THE MONARCHY BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
Mottley Wins Second Term As The Prime Minister Of Barbados
Mia Mottley, who gained international fame during the Cop26 climate talks and oversaw Barbados’s break with the Queen last year, has won a second term as the Caribbean nation’s prime minister.
A COMPUTER ON WATER
With the Earth 300 superyacht, Singapore-based entrepreneur Aaron Olivera is embarking on a radical and highly ambitious quest for climate solutions.
Lost and found
Val is saddened by wildlife habitat loss due to HS2, but is cheered by the discovery of rare wild honey bees
For A Sustainable Farm Sector
A look at strategies and pathways to make Indian agriculture resilient in a changing climate and help the country fulfil commitments it made at COP26
Cautious Steps Toward Green Power
With the last-minute tweaking of a crucial clause at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, India has set the tone for a new balance it aims to establish in tackling climate change