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The indispensability of livestock farming for sustainable and circular agriculture

In the current discussion about sustainability and the circular economy in agriculture, livestock farming plays a crucial role. While the negative aspects of animal husbandry, such as emissions and resource consumption, are often emphasized, it is important to recognize and appreciate the indispensable contributions of livestock farming to a truly sustainable and circular agriculture.


Significance of Livestock Farming for the Circular Economy

Livestock farming is an integral part of the circular economy in agriculture. Animals play a key role in the utilization of resources that are not usable by humans. For example, cattle convert grass and other plants, which humans cannot digest, into high-quality food such as milk and meat.


Natural Fertilizers

The production of natural fertilizer is also an essential part of a well-functioning agriculture. Animal manure is rich in essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are indispensable for plant growth. Unlike artificial fertilizers, which often contain only individual nutrients, manure offers a balanced mix that meets the natural needs of plants. This leads to healthier growth and improved crop quality.


Biodiversity and Landscape Maintenance

Grazing animals contribute to landscape maintenance and the preservation of biodiversity. Grazing creates diverse habitats for a variety of animal and plant species. They also help prevent overgrowth and maintain open landscapes.


Sustainability Potential and Innovation

Modern approaches in livestock farming show that animal husbandry can be sustainable and environmentally friendly. Through innovative methods such as precision farming, improved feeding strategies, and sustainable herd management, emissions can be reduced and resource efficiency increased.


Integration into Renewable Energies


The integration of livestock farming into renewable energy concepts offers additional potential. Biogas plants powered by animal waste are an example of the sensible use of by-products from animal husbandry for energy production. In biogas plants, organic material – in this case, animal waste such as slurry and manure – is broken down by microorganisms under anaerobic conditions. This process produces biogas, a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide, which can be used as a renewable energy source. Methane production through the fermentation of animal waste is an effective method to utilize the energy contained in the slurry and manure.


Final Consideration: The Central Role of Livestock Farming in Sustainability and the Circular Economy


Livestock farming is indispensable for sustainable and circular agriculture. It significantly contributes to resource efficiency, biodiversity, and landscape maintenance.

The challenge lies in further strengthening these positive aspects with innovative methods and minimizing negative impacts. Through a balanced and responsible approach, livestock farming can be a pivotal pillar in a sustainable and circular agricultural system.

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