It is inevitable that ruminants livestock is one source of CH4 emissions. However, various incriminating statements in the field of animal husbandry should be reviewed more wisely and balanced. It is because of the very low consumption of livestock products among Indonesian society and very slow growth of animal husbandry.
"Although livestock products are necessary, these conflicts of interest must be resolved. Therefore information on CH4 emissions and global warming and its alternative solutions are expected to be the consideration in determining a smart strategy for us to live healthily by eating healthy foods that are generated through environmentally friendly farming," Prof. Dr. Ir. Lies Mira Yusiati, S.U. said this at the Senate Hall on Monday (9/5), when she was inaugurated as Professor of UGM Animal Science Faculty.
Lies Mira said the process of fermentation in the ruminant gastrointestinal tract (rumen) and feces of livestock has a major contribution to the anthropogenic CH4 emissions. According to Lies Mira, when the content of organic compounds in the feces of cattle is high enough to be under anaerobic conditions, methanogenic bacterial populations will progress well and produce large amounts of CH4.
She explained the main factor influencing CH4 emissions from cattle feces is the presence of residual nutrients which are substrates for the growth of methanogens and the presence of microbes that can produce CH4 as a fermentation product. These factors depend on how the feces are handled, which includes the treatment and the storing time before being used for fertilizer. "If the feces are experiencing aerobic decomposition, the production of CH4 can be suppressed," she said.
Lies added that the other sources of CH4 emissions in Indonesia come from the trash and rice fields. The amount of CH4 emissions from rice fields depends on the frequency of planting or harvesting area in a year. Since 2006, the total CH4 emissions from rice fields have increased quite sharply, from an average of 1.5 million tons per year to around 1.8 million tons per year. In 2007, CO2 emissions from the use of urea fertilizer for agriculture was estimated to reach up to 850 thousand tons, while CO2 emissions from waste in 2008 was estimated to reach 1000 gigagrams and CH4 emissions reach 16 gigagrams.
The description suggests that global warming is the responsibility of all the people of Indonesia. It’s not only the responsibility of the animal husbandry field, but also the responsibility of the world because the CH4 emissions in some countries are quite high. "Global warming affects on the temperature rise, sea level rise, hurricanes and threatens marine animals. All of those would harm us all because the climate change affects on agriculture such as the sector of production, food availability, stability and food security," said Lies Mira who delivered a speech titled Global Warming, Methane, and Animal Husbandry.
Therefore, Lies suggested that the feed modifications to reduce CH4 production as a result of rumen fermentation should be followed by ruminant manure handling. This needs to be done because there is a compensation tendency for CH4 increase from livestock manure along with the decrease in CH4 emissions by livestock. "However we should not worry because the feces potential as a source of CH4 emissions if handled properly will produce CH4 which can be controlled and utilized, primarily as bio-gas for heat energy," she added.