Soil can store Methane

By Keva Gocher

Friday, 07/08/2009

Climate science has found the greenhouse gas methane can be absorbed by soil.”¨”¨Sydney University research on native grasslands near the Snowy Mountains has found healthy soil bacteria absorb more methane per day than a cow produces in an entire year.”¨”¨”We have a good news story and the farming community needs good news stories,” says Professor Mark Adams, agricultural sustainability researcher and Dean of Agriculture at Sydney University.”¨”¨

Flatulent cows may now graze in peace as agricultural science has found the greenhouse gas methane can be absorbed by soil.ӬӬSydney University research on native grasslands near the Snowy Mountains has found healthy soil bacteria absorb more methane per day than a cow produces in an entire year.ӬӬAs the nation grapples with climate change policies, his research shows livestock are a sustainable farming option on native grasslands near the NSW Snowy Mountains as soil bacteria absorb more methane than livestock produce.

“Typical methane production by beef cattle is round about 60 kilograms of methane per year, and some of the high country soils are taking more than that out of the atmosphere every day, so one hectare is taking out, or oxidising more methane than a cow produces in a year” says Professor Mark Adams.”¨”¨He says methane from grazing animals has captured world attention, but policy makers are ignoring the other side of the story that some soils will take more methane than livestock emit”¨”¨”Government need to look at both sides of the equation, same was as they are spending a lot of money on trying to figure out a how much methane the grazing stock are producing, let’s spend a bit of money working ut how much methane the soils are going to take out of the atmosphere.” he says.”¨”¨He says low intensity grazing, and sensible fire management, are the keys to success and sustainability for both the environment and farming.

“This is a part of the Australian landscape where we can say that grazing is a methane neutral or even methane positive land use” says Professor Mark Adams.”¨”¨”(The native grassland) are organically rich, well drained, well structured soils and we have a lot of great bacteria living in those soils that are doing the work for us” he says.

Dean of Agriculture at Sydney University, Professor Mark Adams

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