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Breeding and climate change: the final report of Life Forage4Climate project

Techniques to reduce GHG emissions and increase soil carbon uptake/Report attached

Everyday we have signs of the climate that is changing: temperatures higher than the seasonal average, extreme events such as water bombs and heat waves and agriculture pays the consequences, with droughts alternating with storms and the spread of new diseases of plants and animals and alien species. It is now certain that the phenomenon of global warming largely depends on human activities, even if it is the sectors of production and use of energy that produce and emit more than 80% of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. However, all production systems can make a contribution to the mitigation and slowdown of climate change, in fact even agriculture can take action to preserve the environment and combat climate change.

Life Forage4Climate project wanted to raise awareness among companies that produce milk, involving them in the implementation of concrete actions for the mitigation of climate change. Thanks to a network of dairy animal breeders in the Po Valley, Sardinia and Greece, who collaborated with researchers and technicians from the partner group, it was possible to demonstrate in practice how new agricultural techniques and different ways of managing farming can lower the heating power due to milk production on average by 10% and without penalizing company efficiency.

The report contains information and results on forage systems: Forage4Climate described the production of milk in the continental and Mediterranean climatic areas through 14 forage systems, or crop alternations applied for the production of feed for livestock. With regard to the carbon footprint of milk, it was highlighted how the production of milk generates and releases gases that can alter the climate, i.e. greenhouse gases (Ghg). Forage4Climate used Lca-Life Cycle Assessment methodology to quantify the environmental impact parameters of milk.

The report contains information on mitigation techniques: interventions that contrast and slow down climate change by containing and eliminating the factors that cause it. For agriculture, the techniques aim at reducing GHG emissions and increasing the absorption of carbon from the soil and, more generally, at a more efficient use of the resources used in the field and in the barn. The results of mitigation techniques for sheep, goats and cattle are then illustrated, through examples of some demonstration farms. Finally, the report deals with carbon sequestration: livestock farms have the waste produced in the barn (manure and slurry), which if managed and used correctly (doses per hectare, period and distribution methods) represent a means of restoring carbon to the soil and nitrogen which are removed from the crops.

More than 200 people contributed to the realization of the report: first of all the breeders, then teachers and researchers, technicians, PhD students, fellows and students, in addition to the support staff for the dissemination, demonstration and technical-financial management activities, and the team monitoring. Among the participants: from the Agricultural University of Athens, George Zervas and Eleni Tsiplakou; from the University of Milan, Anna Sandrucci and Gianni Matteo Crovetto; from the University of Sassari, Antonello Cannas and Alberto Stanislao Atzori; from the university of Turin, Giorgio Borreani and Ernesto Tabacco; the animal production research center - Crpa SpA with Maria Teresa Pacchioli , Elena Bortolazzo and Aldo Dal Prà .

Attached is the final report of the Life Forage4Climate project.

hef - 16047

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