Poor manure management practices are common on much of the world’s farms, as farmers lack awareness about the value of livestock manure as a fertilizer and fuel. Manure is often disposed of in piles, slurries or lagoons, which can lead to significant emissions of the greenhouse gas methane, as well environmental degradation, negative health impacts, and the loss of valuable nutrients that could be added to soil.
The Coalition’s Agriculture Initiative promotes integrated manure and urine management practices that prevent harmful short-lived climate pollutant emissions while also providing added benefits for farmers through cost savings and additional income.
Livestock manure contributes to short-lived climate pollutant emissions through two processes:
- Through storage methods, especially liquid storage, which emit large amounts of methane
- Through the burning of pastureland and the use of dung as a fuel for heating and cooking, which emit black carbon
These pollutants in turn hinder agricultural production through their impacts on air quality and climate change.
The demand for livestock products, especially in developing countries, is expected to increase due to population growth and changes in dietary preferences. Without proper manure management practices, the increased animal numbers needed to meet this demand will result in an equal increase in emissions and other problems arising from manure collection, storage, treatment, and utilization.
While integrated manure management practices exist today, many farmers lack information to improve manure management or are faced with institutional, technical and socio-economic constraints that prevent them from adopting new practices.