Livestock and manure management

Facilitating policy and local-level practice change that will reduce methane emissions without compromising production levels
Manure management
Ongoing

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.

Challenges

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

Manure lagoon

Methane is the main greenhouse gas emitted by liquid manure in storage. Photo credit: Don Jenkins, Capital Press

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.

Objectives

The Coalition aims to facilitate changes in manure management practices at the policy and local levels.

The Coalition supports integrated practices that encompass all activities associated with the management of dung and urine: excretion, collection, housing and storage, anaerobic digestion, treatment, transport, application, and losses and discharge at any stage along the ‘manure chain’.

Manure chain

What we're doing

Our efforts are focused on mitigation opportunities in five regions, where we are carrying out studies of local conditions and partnering with agricultural producers and experts to facilitate knowledge sharing and access to resources. 

Key areas of work include:

  • Potential reduction of methane emissions from mixed dairy farming systems
  • Beef production
  • The small ruminant sector
  • Commercial pig production
  • Improved mixed dairy systems

Partners and stakeholders have coordinated efforts to reduce short-lived climate pollutant emissions by:

  • ​Raising awareness of manure management options at the level of policy, private sector and farmers organizations through outreach and communication
  • Establishing an Advisory Board of leading international institutions to provide strategic guidance
  • Establishing a Central Hub and three Regional Centres – Africa, Latin America, and Asia - working in close collaboration, to identify opportunities and conduct work in regions, build networks and partnerships, gather information, and implement projects
  • Establishing networks to exchange manure management information, connect people, and forge partnerships
  • Launching an on-line knowledge hub - Manure Management Kiosk – to provide remote access to best practices about manure management
  • Establishing a roster of experts to provide targeted technical assistance and training, analysis and practical implementation and policy support, relying heavily on co-financing and in-kind resources from partners
  • Launching projects and partnerships to improve manure management by providing information, experts, knowledge exchange, and access to resources

Key objectives include:

  • Integrating manure management practices into livestock systems
  • Improving existing practices to reduce short-lived climate pollutants and other harmful emissions to the environment
  • Capturing methane as an energy source
  • Optimizing nutrient utilization for crop production by managing and removing barriers to action with a view toward enhancing food security and sustainable development

Impacts & results

Coalition-funded work to date has resulted in:

  • 7 Opportunities for Practices Change (OPCs) in seven countries that include examples of actual changes in manure policies and manure management practices
  • 13 trainings for extension workers, with almost 300 extension workers trained
  • 5794 farmers directly trained by the above extension workers on better manure management to reduce SLCPs
  • 2 policies in integrated manure management drafted, 1 policy in development; 1 policy influenced
  • 52 regional events and 15 global events or meetings to raise awareness, with an estimated 2000 stakeholders directly reached on manure management

Together these activities have helped policymakers, practitioners and other key stakeholders acquire, share, and disseminate knowledge and leverage new and existing resource bases and institutions to enable the adoption of improved manure management practices at the regional, national, and local level.

Who's involved

Lead Partner: A Coalition partner with an active role in coordinating, monitoring and guiding the work of an initiative.

Implementer: A Coalition partner or actor receiving Coalition funds to implement an activity or initiative.

Got it

Resources & tools

Activity contact

James Morris,
Partnership & Programme Officer
James.Morris [at] un.org

Initiatives

Pollutants (SLCP)

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