Neutral and Regenerative Livestock


Greenhouse Gases


"In the last 100 years, due to a progressive increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases, the global temperature of the planet has increased, which is caused by, among others, human activity that emits greenhouse gases, such as cattle ranching, which accounts for 51% of emissions of greenhouse gases in Brazilian agriculture. The increase of the greenhouse effect can result in serious consequences for life on Earth in the near future.

Ecologists suggest that global warming changes the climate at a higher speed than the adaptation of organisms. The effect can be devastating for biodiversity and ecosystems worldwide (Ricklefs, 1996; ROMANINI, 2003). "



The greenhouse gas found in greater abundance in the atmosphere is carbon dioxide (CO2), although being found in lesser amounts, methane (CH4) has a global warming potential 21 times higher than CO2 (IPCC, 1997).

That is, each ton of methane (CH4) emitted is equivalent to the emission of 21 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2 eq).


The project named Neutral Livestock, consists of three producers: Leonardo de Oliveira Resende, Farm owner Triqueda in Coronel Pacheco; Elesier Lima Gonçalves, the Royal Treasury, in Juiz de Fora, both of Zona da mata Mineira; and Bruno Junqueira de Andrade, of the company Ecofarms, owner of Bugre Farm, in Prata, in the Triangulo Mineiro.

With a modest initial scale, the Neutral Livestock Project performs the slaughter of 600 animals per year.

Calculation of the Emission of Enteric Methane


The amount of enteric methane emitted by animals is calculated using as a database research conducted by Embrapa, through which the Rede Pecus developed equations for beef cattle.

"In the Rede Pecus various processes related to emission and mitigation of GHG are assessed following standard research protocols previously agreed to, which include soil-plant-animal-atmosphere set to generate the carbon balance of improved systems, compared to traditional pasture and native vegetation.

Extensive and intensive systems of pasture production, integration of crop-livestock, Silvipastoril, agrosilvipastoril and confinements for the production of cattle, buffaloes, goats, sheep, pigs and poultry and treatment of animal waste are evaluated."

Source: Embrapa Southeast: Network Pecus.

Available at:


The choice for the Rede Pecus is because Embrapa has research in five Brazilian biomes and thus best represents the characteristics of each region of the country. Added to this, research also included different forms of management, nutrition and genetics of animals for each of these biomes.


The values that can be used as reference are the following:


"1) The fixed value of Tier 1 of IPCC: 56 kg of CH4 / animal / year.

2) The estimated value using Tier 2 of IPCC: 70 kg CH4 / animal / year.

3) The average annual value using the empirical equation from the Rede Pecus: 66 kg CH4 / animal / year.

4) The average value obtained in IAFP systems of Embrapa Beef Cattle: 66 kg CH4 / animal / year. "

Source: DOCUMENTS 210. Neutral Meat Carbon: a new concept for sustainable meat produced in the tropics. Brazilian Agricultural Research; Embrapa Livestock Southeast; Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply. Brasilia, 2015. p.20.

It is worth noting that the IPCC data, described in items 1 and 2 in the above quotation, is based on the data available in all of Latin America and, therefore, may have a greater distortion than the data from Rede Pecus, and therefore were not used.

In this context emission was attributed to: 66 kg CH4 / head / year

Source: DOCUMENTS 210. Neutral Meat Carbon: a new concept for sustainable meat produced in the tropics. Brazilian Agricultural Research; Embrapa Livestock Southeast; Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply. Brasilia, 2015. p.20.

Figure 8 - Table of total emissions of enteric methane Neutral Livestock Project

Source: Neutral Livestock Project 2016

The figure above shows the calculation of the total emission of enteric methane of the Neutral Livestock Project, that achieves a total 39.6 tons according to the database of the Rede Pecus of EMBRAPA, as described previously.


Calculation of carbon dioxide recovery

For the calculation of carbon dioxide recovered by the trees of the system annual inventories were carried out to calculate the biomass volume of this component.

Figure 9 - Measurement of trees through cubage

Source: Livestock Project Neutral 2016

The figure above shows the fieldwork with forest inventories conducted through the technique of cubage of the trees.



The data collected in the inventories was inserted into the Siseucalipto software developed by Embrapa Forests, which made the conversion of timber volumes in cubic meters to obtain CO2 eq. recovered by trees.

Figure 10 - Data Processing in Siseucalipto

Source: Neutral Livestock Project 2016

In the figure above, we see highlighted in red, at the age of eight years a recovery 146.4 tons of CO2 eq. Processing of information collected in forest inventories Silvipastoril System by Siseucalipto software tool developed by Embrapa Forests, Colombo, PR, which produced reports with the total volume estimates, average annual increment (IMA) and the total CO2 eq. recovered.

For the calculation of carbon recovery, the Neutral Livestock Project uses only the recovery of CO2 eq. from the root system.



By the cubage procedure of trees, a separate modeling equation was generated for each clone and equipment used, in these equations specific individual gravity was also considered, as shown below:

SisEucalipto: Eucalyptus grandis Hill ex Maiden

tCO2 = (Vol + 25%) x (Basic Dens:. 0.49) x (C: 0.42) x (CO2: 3.66)

SILVA, H. D. Mathematical models for estimating biomass and nutrient content in plantations of Eucalyptus grandis Hill (former maiden) at different ages. UFPR, Doctoral Thesis. 1996. 101p.


Watzlawick, L. F., Sanquetta, C.R., Arce, J., Balbinot, R. Quantification of total biomass and organic carbon in stands of Araucaria angustifolia (Bert.) O. Kuntze in the southern state of Paraná, Brazil. Academic Journal: agricultural and environmental sciences, Curitiba, v.1, n.2, p. 63-68, abr./jun. 2003.


Through a conservative approach, the methodology used did not consider the recovery of part of the crown and the stem of the tree, as well as the forage pasture system, that if counted, would enhance the system's ability to be a sinkhole of carbon.

Figure 11 - Table of recovery of carbonic gas equivalent to the Silvipastoril System

Source: Neutral Livestock Project 2016

The figure above shows the conversion of information from the calculation of the recovery of the tree stem (or trunk) at the age of 8 years, with a recovery of 146.4 tons of CO2 eq. This information is converted to the annual recovery of 18.3 tons (146.4 tons / 8 years old = 18.3 redeemed ton per year).

Still the same figure shows the conversion of information from the calculation of the recovery of the root system of the trees (or root), at the age of 8 years, with a recovery of 6.10 tons of CO2 eq.


The methodology used for the calculation of distribution of CO2 eq. was the database of various researches conducted by the Federal University of Viçosa (UFV), Minas Gerais, which has one of the most respected centers of studies and research on planted forests in the world, highlighting the work of Witschorecket et al. (2003), Passion et al. (2006), Barros et al (1996), Kings (2006), Gatto (2011) and Ribeiro (2011).


Conversion of CH4 for CO2eq

Figure 12 - Table with full calculation of issue and recovery of Silvipastoril System

Source: Neutral Livestock Project 2016

The figure above shows the joint form to obtain the total emission of CH4 and recovery CO2 eq Neutral Livestock Project.


Highlights on the:


1) Potentiation factor of CH4 to CO2 eq.

Before making the compensation for the recovery of Silvipastoril System, it is necessary to make the transformation of the two gases equitable comparison units or converting the enteric methane to CO2 eq.


According to data in the IPCC (1997) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - IPCC guidelines for national inventories of greenhouse gases, the potential of global warming of approved methane and with reference to carbon dioxide is 21 times higher.

2) A significant surplus of recovery of CO2 eq (388.40 ton).

Or being, CO2 eq stored in addition to the total enteric methane produced.


This strategic surplus is considered an important environmental asset for multiple use within the Neutral Livestock Project:

- The surplus neutralizes other animals involved in the custody chain of the final product, such as matrices and breeders who produce animals for slaughter.

- The surplus is also used to compensate for a small fraction of reemission of CO2 eq in the root system, as described below:

Figure 14 - Eucalyptus root system

Source: Smith, J. C. (2012).

Figure 15 - the root of the illustration above and below ground

Source: Neutral Livestock Project 2016

The above figures show the composition of the root system of the tree after harvest. This presents a small part lying above the ground (or shoots of the root), being that most of it is below ground.


It is known from scientific and academic circles that most of the root located below ground remains there after harvest in a stored carbon manner.

But the part located above ground, through contact with air, has a small fraction of the roots decomposed by the action of micro-organisms, and thus eventually emit CO2 into the atmosphere, which in this case is offset by the surplus recovery of CO2 eq in the Neutral Livestock Project.


Another possibility for use of the surplus would be to offset the emissions of greenhouse gases of other stages of the meat production chain, such as the complex logistics of the product until it reaches the final consumer.


This environmental asset (CO2eq surplus), as well as strategic, confirms the potential of the Silvipastoril System as a tool for sustainable development, capable of providing better harmony between the demands of man and nature through an attenuation of climate changes.

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