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Management also expects that its continued investment in advertising and demand for high-quality nutritional products will fuel business growth in the coming quarters. To further support its business in China, Herbalife started operations at its new production facility in Nanjing. Goldcorp will form a joint venture with Barrick Gold for the Cerro Casale project, which will help jointly advance the project.

Last week, the overall cannabis sector remained subdued. The online streaming landscape was once owned by a few companies, largely Netflix and Hulu, but each of which offered a different type of content. It was a leader with few competitors and a subscriber base of over million. President Trump is not happy with the present Fed rate cut.

He wants the cutback to be higher. So high that the interest rates are negative. It has been estimated that 30 per cent of the total fossil energy used in maize production is accounted for by nitrogen fertilizer production Tilman and that fertilizer production is responsible for up to 1. Fertilizer application can also lead to further emissions.

Nitrification and de-nitrification of mineral and organic nitrogen fertilizers leads to the release of large amounts of nitrous oxide from soils Snyder et al. The IPCC tier 1 estimate is that 1 per cent of all applied nitrogen is emitted in the form of nitrous oxide, although there is considerable uncertainty over this figure. Loss of nitrous oxide from arable soils accounts for around 1. Emissions vary according to cultivation technique and crop type. Anaerobic turnover in rice paddies is a major source of methane Olesen et al. Ploughing soils encourages microbial digestion of soil organic matter SOM , leading to greater net carbon dioxide emissions.

Energy use at all stages of arable production represents another significant source of carbon dioxide. However, differences in farming techniques, levels of mechanization, scales of production and soil and weather conditions in different regions make it difficult to quantify total fossil energy use and to extrapolate data from one agricultural system to another. Meat, egg and milk production are estimated to account for half of all the GHG emissions associated with food production and represent about 18 per cent of global anthropogenic emissions Garnett In the UK, livestock farming generates Global demand for meat and dairy products is predicted to increase over the next 50 years owing to human population growth and increased wealth.

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An important source of GHGs in livestock farming is enteric fermentation in ruminants, such as sheep and cattle, which produces significant quantities of methane Olesen et al. Growth of crops to feed livestock is another major source of GHG emissions. Around 37 per cent of global cereal production and 34 per cent of arable land is used to provide animal feed FAO , and so meat, egg and milk production also contributes to the release of nitrous oxide and other gases as described above.

A further consideration is the efficiency with which animal feed is converted to meat. A large proportion of animal feed is respired or accumulates in non-edible parts of the animal. In the case of cattle, up to 10 kg of cereal may be required per kilogram of meat produced and so cattle farming can represent a significant demand for land and resources Garnett Substantial differences exist between the different forms of livestock production in terms of net energy and protein feed requirements per kilogram meat produced.

Increasing and volatile fossil fuel prices, unless mitigated, could drive both reductions in meat demand owing to increased prices, but also switching to the lower energy intensity, higher efficiency, forms of meat production, possibly favouring mono-gastric rather than ruminant supply chains.

On a global scale, 75 per cent of anthropogenic GHG emissions are the result of fossil fuel combustion. However, land also continues to be a net sink for carbon, absorbing about 29 per cent of total emissions, with the oceans taking up a further 26 per cent.

Deforestation involves the removal of large above-ground biomass stocks, which represented an important carbon sink during the twentieth century Bondeau et al. Below-ground biomass is lost as woody root systems and replaced by the smaller, finer roots of grasses and crop plants. Disturbance during cultivation breaks down SOM and accelerates decomposition, leading to further losses of soil carbon and, consequently, carbon dioxide emissions IPCC It is thought that between 50 and years are required for soil carbon content to reach a new equilibrium following LUC Falloon et al.

It is generally assumed that there is little difference in soil carbon between annual and perennial food crops, including fruit orchards and plantation crops IPCC However, detailed information is lacking and further research is needed to determine the real effects of perennial crops on emissions from soils. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon basin to provide land for cattle ranching and soya bean cultivation for animal feed accounts for a loss of 19 km 2 of rainforest each year. This alone accounts for 2 per cent of global anthropogenic GHG emissions.


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While complex interlinkages and causality chains exist as drivers for deforestation, much of the soya bean grown in Brazil is exported for use as animal feed in Europe, Asia, the US and Russia. Soya bean expansion is more closely associated with Amazonian deforestation than the expansion of other crops Volpi Overall, 7 per cent of anthropogenic emissions, totalling 2. Consequently, livestock farming is a major cause of LUC. Use of former forest land for cattle ranching represents a direct LUC; use of the land to grow feed for livestock overseas represents a major indirect LUC.

Each process results in further GHG emissions. Fossil energy prices directly affect the costs of tillage and fertilizers and indirectly affect almost all aspects of agricultural production, through to the prices of food seen by the end consumer. The previous sections of this paper have outlined the different energy inputs and GHG emissions energy and non-energy related of a range of agricultural production pathways for the major food commodities. The results strongly suggest that the production costs of some agricultural commodities will be more sensitive to changing fossil fuel prices than others and that the options for mitigating the risks of fossil energy prices will also differ between those chains.

This section assesses the trends in the price of oil, natural gas and coal over the last four decades and uses differences between projections for future oil prices to as a proxy for overall fossil fuel price volatility in this period. Since , prices have increased first for oil then for gas and finally followed by coal. By , prices for oil and natural gas had more than quadrupled, while for coal they had nearly trebled.

Since then, as a result of recession and also from increased investment in new supply and refining capacity, prices have fallen sharply but more recently, since the beginning of , have started increasing again, particularly for oil, although not yet to the levels seen in BP ; IEA ; US EIA It is also a result of conventional supplies becoming constrained and the resulting increase in prices making previously too expensive reserves possible to access profitably. A major question remains as to whether increasing overall prices and increasing volatility in those prices will drive further diversity in energy supply resources, or reductions in overall energy intensity, or even in the total supply of agricultural products.

If tight gas is found elsewhere in substantial volumes, as seems possible, then the historic link between oil and gas prices will be broken, with oil prices likely to increase significantly and gas remaining competitive with coal. If bioenergy, particularly biodiesel and biogas, becomes cheaper than the direct fossil fuel inputs into agriculture, primarily diesel, then a rapid switch to on-farm bioenergy is likely to occur where rotary power, transport and thermal processing are required.

Whether this switch to bioenergy production is competitive or synergistic with food production will mainly depend on: the strength of the linkage between energy and food prices; the rate of increase of demand for bioenergy feedstocks as commodity crops; the impact from increased investment from bioenergy and the resultant increase in yields of both conventional crops food and fuel and advanced lignocellulosic crops; and, the availability of new land or recovered degraded or abandoned land. The impact of climate change on agricultural production is still uncertain.

However, reports of the potential outcomes for agriculture are well documented AEA Farmers in general face the looming spectre of climate change at two levels; firstly, by having to adapt existing practices to cope with the outcomes of climate change i. While it is likely that farmers will readily adopt measures that will benefit their productivity and financial outcomes, adopting practices at a cost to farming businesses is more likely to require policy intervention.

Developing mechanisms to improve GHG abatement in the agricultural sector is complex, not least because policy mechanisms are often devised through different departmental policy-making regimes. Agriculture, as a non-EU ETS sector, is charged with reducing emissions to 10 per cent below levels by , and it is anticipated that this will be through binding national targets.

In the policy context, the farming industry faces many challenges before carbon trading as an economic strategy becomes a reality. The Plan's main points for agriculture are to:. The Government will publish options for such intervention in Spring ;. The study does not include mitigation potential from biomass production, soil carbon sequestration or options for anaerobic digestion of farmyard waste, and does not expand on further economic or market-based policy mechanisms e. The policy instruments identified are as follows:. Policies to reduce emissions from the fossil energy sector may impact on agriculture in two different ways.

Firstly, by promoting crops that can be used as feedstocks for biofuel or bioenergy; different growing regimes and more efficient energy inputs may be adopted. Secondly, GHG emission reporting requirements that are being developed for biofuels may affect farming practices, particularly if benefits for improved emissions are transferred down the supply chain to the feedstock producers.

In the EU, the climate and energy package committed the 27 member states to reduce CO 2 emissions by 20 per cent, and to target a 20 per cent share of energy supply from renewable energy by i. The RED aims to promote renewable energies and has a component that addresses sustainability of biofuels and the land used to grow biofuel feedstocks.

This standard is under review by a number of individual states in the US, which are also looking to adopt an emissions approach to the inclusion of biofuels in transport fuels. Nationwide in the US, the Environmental Protection Agency EPA has developed, under the Energy Independence and Security Act of , a renewable fuel standard programme RFS2 that aims to increase the volume of renewable fuel in gasoline from 9 billion gallons 34 billion litres in to 36 billion gallons billion litres by In many ways, these policies are leading the development of methodologies that will improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions across supply chains.

Improving emissions and ensuring the sustainability of biofuels have led to the development of variety of policy-specific methodologies.

They have also encouraged the formation of global stakeholder interactions, which address environmental, economic and social issues e. The RTFO's carbon and sustainability methodologies cover biofuel supply chains from feedstock source, by country and by on-farm production inputs and outputs. In a biofuel supply chain, this may encourage farmers to improve management practices, providing that a share of the value or benefits feed back to farmers. Currently, carbon and sustainability reporting is not mandatory under the RTFO and better practices leading to improved carbon and sustainability profiles are not rewarded.

Many farmers in the UK have been encouraged by the idea of reducing on-farm diesel costs by producing their own biodiesel from oilseed rape. However, the market value of vegetable oil and costs for processing oils into biodiesel will always be calculated against fossil diesel costs for farm use Lewis Furthermore, farm vehicles will generally be under warranty from the vehicle manufacturer and it is unlikely that farmers would risk using out-of-spec fuel, to the detriment of these costly machines.


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  • As noted by Monbiot , addressing energy needs using on-site, renewable energy options only reduces dependence on diesel for on-farm use by a quarter. Options for farmers to use renewable energies, such as biomass or biogas for electricity and heat production, are often limited to on-farm use only, as there are not the facilities or incentives to connect to the electrical grid.

    Allowing access to the national grid would give farmers an option to trade renewable energy under the RO, whereby the mandatory renewable requirement of 15 per cent electricity by could potentially be met in part by surplus on-farm energy generation, traded as renewable energy certificates ROCs. Land preparation has become increasingly mechanized over the years. However, mechanical tillage systems are energy-intensive and expose SOM to decomposition, leading to enhanced GHG emissions, reduced SOM concentration in soil and, potentially, in the short and longer term, to soil erosion and degradation.

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    Book Managing Inflation In China Current Trends And New Strategies Volume 1

    The potential for reducing the energy intensity of agricultural production by adopting alternative tillage systems may occur from decreased fuel use in mechanical operations or as the result of better long-term soil productivity. Alternative methods of land preparation and crop establishment have been devised to reduce energy requirements and maintain good soil structure. Robertson et al. The consequences of reduced tillage on soil carbon are not straightforward.


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    Baker et al. They did, however, highlight that there were several good reasons for implementing reduced tillage practices. In contrast to Baker et al. Energy balance calculations resulting from fertilizer application are more difficult to assess, as interactions with increased SOM become more complex.

    Studies that focus on energy inputs, attributed to soil preparation, tend to be regional and crop-specific. A study that compares conventional and integrated farming in the UK attributed energy savings in integrated farming almost entirely to the reduction in energy required for mechanical operations Bailey et al. The study also considered the effects on energy of multi-functional crop rotation, integrated nutrient and crop protection methods, and ecological infrastructure management i. A study for wheat grown in Iran provides a more detailed evaluation of five specific tillage regimes Tabatabaeefar et al.

    Energy consumed for 1 Kg wheat production in Maragheh region of Iran. Source: Tabatabaeefar et al. Soil carbon as a component of SOM is important in carbon turnover within the carbon cycle, and in maintaining soil fertility, water and nutrient-holding capacity, ecosystems functions and preventing soil degradation. Understanding the processes of carbon interaction in soils is complex, both at local and national levels. Other farming options, such as residue mulching and the use of cover crops, aim to conserve and enhance SOM or soil carbon sequestration Lal The subsequent effects of nutrient availability on crop productivity vary between cropping systems e.

    Studies carried out on sites in Belgium have been used to demonstrate nitrogen interactions under various planting regimes and to demonstrate the action of tillage on organic matter degradation and the subsequent availability of nitrogen in the nutrient pool over time Van den Bossche et al. They report higher SOM, microbial biomass and enzymatic activity for conservation tillage, which increases with time. The anticipated effect is slower mineralization or immobilization of nitrogen, leading to enhanced soil fertility as the result of long-term build-up of nutrient reserves of the soil.

    Understanding the interaction between soil carbon and nitrogen also adds further complexity to determining the benefits of increasing soil carbon through changes in tillage systems. While increasing fertilizer inputs may increase the soil carbon pool, the poorer GHG balance from the increased use of nitrogen fertilizers may negate the sequestration benefit. The reasons for changing agricultural activities should be clear from the outset.

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    Is the anticipated benefit to reduce energy inputs, reduce GHG emissions, improve soil carbon sequestration or to maintain the long-term productivity of soils? Land management choices may then follow, with trade-offs expected and accepted—for example, planting marginal lands with biomass crops to improve carbon sequestration versus maximizing yields on productive lands by increasing fertilizer use, or adopting min-till systems on land areas where mechanical activities are also degrading soil quality or causing soil erosion, such as on sloping sites.

    Energy inputs into the main fertilizer building blocks; European average technology. The energy inputs needed to produce and supply fertilizers and pesticides substantially outweigh the energy required to apply the products in the field. However, for nitrogen fertilizers, the GHG emissions arise both as a result of the fossil energy inputs needed to capture and process atmospheric nitrogen, and also from complex soil-based processes that result in the production and release to the atmosphere of nitrous oxide N 2 O in-field.

    GHG emission factors for fertilizers, seeds and pesticides. Source: Woods et al. Carbon dioxide emissions account for 98 per cent of the GHG emissions on a mass basis, but only 33 per cent on a global warming potential CO 2 equivalent basis. N 2 O accounts for 0. Primary energy inputs and greenhouse gas emissions associated with ammonium nitrate manufacture in Europe. Source: Elsayed et al. Historic development in energy requirements in N-fixation for nitrogen fertilizer.

    Source: Konshaug However, while ammonia production is the most energy-intensive part of the production of nitrogen fertilizers, nitric acid production causes the release of N 2 O during its production. Nitric acid is needed to produce AN through a reaction with ammonia.

    The N 2 O leaks to the atmosphere in the nitric acid plants and between 70 and 90 per cent of this N 2 O can be captured and catalytically destroyed. European plants are now being fitted with this nitrous oxide abatement technology and as a result overall AN GHG emissions could be reduced, by 40 per cent overall, from 6. The production of woody biomass on land unsuitable for intensive arable farming or extensive grazing is widely seen as a low-energy input option, for the production of such biomass for material or energy usage.

    A recent geospatial study by Zomer et al. Percentage of world agricultural land that can be regarded as being under agro-forestry systems to varying intensities. Source: after Zomer et al. Zomer et al. Agro-forestry systems are found in developed as well as less-developed regions. The widespread and significant proportion of agricultural land under agro-forestry management e. This indicates a capacity for agricultural land management to accommodate integrated energy production; currently, in most cases, the woody biomass is used for immediate local needs such as fuelwood for cooking.

    However, there is also considerable scope for more widespread introduction of tree or coppice material to agricultural land specifically to meet on-farm energy needs and, subject to transportation constraints, as an economic product for off-farm sale. For example, in the UK, a number of estates are currently using wood produced on the estate for biomass heat schemes, which is encouraged under the UK's Bioenergy Capital Grant Scheme.

    Recent studies by Hillier et al. Attention is also being given to the use of biochar 2 as a potential energy source during the charring process and significantly as a soil-based carbon sequestration and storage approach that can also offer soil fertility benefits Collison et al. Biomass supply for biochar production can be drawn from diverse sources, including woody biomass from agro-forestry systems as well as from existing UK farm biomass, such as hedgerow management A.

    Gathorne-Hardy , personal communication. This paper has identified that there are significant risks to future farming and yields owing to increasing and increasingly volatile fossil fuel prices. While it has been difficult to obtain robust projections for oil, natural gas and coal prices, it is clear that:. Unless substantive agreements emerge from the UNFCCC's inter-governmental negotiations that limit access to coal, its large and widely distributed reserves will mean that it is the least vulnerable of the fossil fuels to price increases; a switch to coal away from oil and natural gas is probably where that is possible e.

    Thus, relative changes in fossil fuel prices will affect each crop type differentially. Increasing oil prices will directly affect the price of diesel used for tillage, transport of crops from fields, and from storage to processing and end use. Increasing natural gas prices will have the most immediate effect on nitrogen fertilizer prices. Coal is still used for nitrogen fertilizer production, particularly in China, and is likely to be least affected by worries about reserve depletion. From a GHG perspective, a switch away from oil and gas to coal, rather than to renewable, would be detrimental.

    Increased costs for direct and indirect energy inputs into agriculture may lead to lower yields for the world's major agriculture commodity crops. In turn, this is likely to lead to an expansion of land areas under these crops, leading to increased GHG emissions, as a result of LUC, and increased prices owing to less efficient production.

    Significant land expansion will also have detrimental effects on biodiversity and possibly on water resources. Substantial gains in efficiency of energy use and GHG emissions are possible in all areas of food and bioenergy supply chains and from both conventional and advanced supply chains. Recent policy developments for bioenergy, and in particular, biofuels, have demonstrated that the highly complex and heterogeneous systems necessary to account, monitor, reward and penalize good or bad GHG and wider sustainability criteria, are amenable to policy.

    It is possible, and indeed necessary, that many of the lessons learnt in developing these policies and mechanisms for biofuels can be applied to any form of biological production including food.

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    New tools, in particular spatial zoning and land management tools, are highlighting the potential for revised management and crop choices that could allow enhanced carbon stocking and biodiversity from integrated land management and planning that couples annual and perennial agriculture. While increasing fossil fuel prices could pose a major risk to agriculture as production costs increase, and also cause increased volatility in prices between the different major agricultural commodities, there is substantial scope for technological and management innovations to occur, decreasing the dependence on fossil energy supplies and creating opportunities for new markets e.

    The opportunities and threats will vary substantively between the different crops and a careful review on a crop-by-crop basis is necessary to understand and manage these threats and the risks to future production posed by increasing fossil fuel prices. When biomass is turned into charcoal and applied to soils it is believed to have a half-life in the soil in order of years. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Hughes , 4 Mairi Black , 1 and Richard Murphy 2. John K. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

    While the Government Office for Science commissioned this review, the views are those of the author s , are independent of Government, and do not constitute Government policy.