Low-Carbon Agriculture: Brazil Shows the Way Low-Carbon Agriculture: Brazil Shows the Way
Lifestyle

Low-Carbon Agriculture: Brazil Shows the Way

by Nicola Twilley

December 13, 2010

Restoring Degraded Pasture

Mozzer claims that "a well-managed pasture can accumulate carbon. In fact our research shows it can accumulate so much that it more than cancels out the warming effect of methane and other emissions from cattle production." The trick, EMBRAPA has found, is something called "forest, agriculture and livestock integration," in which trees and other perennial crops are threaded through fields, and used for cattle forage.

Extending No-till Agriculture

Brazil pioneered "no-till agriculture," which helps the soil retain carbon. Crops are harvested high on the stalk, which is then left to rot into a woven organic layer, into which next year's seeds can be sown without needing to plow.

Bacterial Engineering

EMBRAPA has already created new varieties of soya and a super-productive grass variety called brachiaria to give to farmers. Its scientists are engineering new strains of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which help enrich soil and reduce the need for artificial fertilizers.

Images: (1) Gustavo Mozzer speaking, via EMBRAPA; (2) No-till farming, by Gene Alexander for the USDA, via Wikimedia.

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Low-Carbon Agriculture: Brazil Shows the Way