Methane from the agricultural sector derives mainly from livestock and rice cultivation. Agricultural methane solutions often make food production more efficient and profitable.


The Agricultural Methane Framework introduces governments of all levels to techniques for tracking, managing, and reducing methane emissions from livestock and rice operations. Agriculture is responsible for over 40 percent of human-caused methane emissions and presents a major opportunity to slow the pace of near-term global warming. Agricultural methane results from the storage of organic energy in oxygen-free conditions, including rice paddies, livestock manure storage lagoons, and the anaerobic digestive systems of some animals.

When methane escapes these systems, it causes global heating and represents a loss of energy that could otherwise be used productively (e.g. for animal or rice growth, as fertilizer, or as a fuel source). Agricultural methane reduction techniques can control emissions, and, in some cases, redirect this energy for productive uses, often boosting the profits of herds and farms.


Sorg (2022): Measuring Livestock CH4 Emissions with the Laser Methane Detector: A Review, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

This article considers factors affecting the accuracy of handheld laser methane detectors for measuring enteric emissions, finding that this technology may be more convenient but less accurate than other methods.

Palmer (2021): The added value of satellite observations of methane for understanding the contemporary methane budget, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society

This study concludes that satellite-based methane observation technologies provide coverage of previously unstudied areas and open a “new research frontier.”

Guha (2020): Assessment of Regional Methane Emission Inventories through Airborne Quantification in the San Francisco Bay Area, Environmental Science and Technology

This study uses low-flying aircraft to determine methane emissions from facilities, including dairies, and comparing these data to previous estimates.

Ortega et al. (2020): Construction and Operation of a Respiration Chamber of the Head-Box Type for Methane Measurement from Cattle, Animals

This article explains the proper use of head-box type respiration chambers, which provide accurate, low-cost enteric emissions measurements.

Vergote et al. (2020): Monitoring methane and nitrous oxide emissions from digestate storage following manure mono-digestion, Biosystems Engineering

This study demonstrates a closed chamber approach for precisely measuring anaerobic digester emissions at dairy farms.

International Rice Research Institute: Source-selective and Emission-adjusted GHG CalculaTOR (SECTOR)

This spreadsheet-based tool allows users to estimate rice emissions based on a series of factors.

UN Food and Agriculture Organization: Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model – interactive GLEAM-i

This online tool lets users estimate livestock emissions based on a series of factors.

Kiggundu et al. (2019): Greenhouse gas emissions from Uganda’s cattle corridor farming systems, Agricultural Systems

Using the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM-i), this study estimated greenhouse gas emissions in various types of Ugandan cattle operations, concluding that cattle emissions came predominantly from enteric fermentation, were largest at grazing operations, were higher than the global average, and could be lowered by reducing grazing and employing anaerobic digesters.

Huhtanen (2019): Enteric methane emission can be reliably measured by the GreenFeed monitoring unit, Livestock Science

This article finds that GreenFeed enteric methane measurements consistently correlate with models predicting emissions.

Garnsworthy et al. (2019): Comparison of Methods to Measure Methane for Use in Genetic Evaluation of Dairy Cattle, Animals

In this study, enteric methane measurement techniques are compared for large-scale use in livestock breeding programs.

Hristov et al. (2018): Symposium review: Uncertainties in enteric methane inventories, measurement techniques, and prediction, Journal of Dairy Science

This article examines uncertainties (e.g. diet and measurement techniques) that impact methane emissions estimates, determining that “dry matter intake” can be used to reliably predict emissions in simplified models.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018): Methane Emission Measurement and Monitoring Methods, National Academies Press

In this book chapter, methane measuring techniques from several sectors are discussed, including bottom-up estimation for enteric and manure emissions.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018): Addressing Uncertainties in Anthropogenic Methane Emissions, National Academies Press

This book chapter addresses drivers of uncertainty in methane emissions estimates, including those involving sampling procedures, activity data, emissions variability, and other factors.

Sander and Wassman (2014): Common practices for manual greenhouse gas sampling in rice production: a literature study on sampling modalities of the closed chamber method, Greenhouse Gas Measurement and Management

This article reviews rice emissions measuring techniques, which often vary in samplings per day, time of sampling, and sampling frequency.

Byrne (2022): DSM gets EU market approval for its methane-reducing feed additive,

This news article explains that the European Food Safety Authority found Bovaer, a 3-NOP-based feed additive for dairy cattle, to be safe.

Temegsen et al. (2021): Nutritional Mitigation of Enteric Methane Gas Emission from the Livestock Sector: A Review, Indian Society of Forage Research

For enduring enteric methane reductions, this article recommends quality forages, improved concentrate proportions, and locally available feed additives.

Haas (2021): Selective breeding as a mitigation tool for methane emissions from dairy cattle, Animal

This article describes how low-methane qualities could be included in breeding standards to produce “cost-effective, permanent, and cumulative” methane reductions in cattle populations.

Gittelson et al. (2021): The False Promises of Biogas: Why Biogas Is an Environmental Justice Issue, Environmental Justice

This article argues that livestock biogas projects like dairy digesters bring health hazards to local communities, entrench systems of unethical industrial farming, and promote reliance on fossil fuel infrastructure.

Figueroa et al. (2021): CA Environmental Groups: State Should Not Subsidize Dairy Biogas Production,

This letter, submitted to California officials, outlines concerns about air and water quality resulting from that state’s dairy biogas subsidies while arguing that such policies delay a full transition to clean energy.

Honan et al. (2020): Feed additives as a strategic approach to reduce enteric methane production in cattle: modes of action, effectiveness and safety, Animal Production Science

This article reviews several feed additives, finding promise in rumen inhibitors (e.g. 3-NOP) and rumen modifiers (e.g. tannins) but limited evidence in favor of microbials and probiotics.

Melgar (2020): Dose-response effect of 3-nitrooxypropanol on enteric methane emissions in dairy cows, Journal of Dairy Science

This study finds that the 3-NOP feed additive reduces daily enteric methane emissions in dairy cows by an average of 31 percent without altering milk yield.

Vijn et al. (2020): Key Considerations for the Use of Seaweed to Reduce Enteric Methane Emissions From Cattle, Frontiers in Veterinary Science

This article is based on the views of expert participants at a workshop who describe factors for the industrial use of seaweed additives, including seaweed production and storage, species diversity, regulatory compliance, carbon trading markets, quality control, and research variability.

Kinley et al. (2020): Mitigating the carbon footprint and improving productivity of ruminant livestock agriculture using a red seaweed, Journal of Cleaner Production

This study determines that, in beef cattle, red seaweed produces an ”unprecedented” reduction in enteric methane emissions of up to 98 percent while enhancing the growth rate of steers.

Min et al. (2020): Dietary mitigation of enteric methane emissions from ruminants: A review of plant tannin mitigation options, Animal Nutrition

This literature review explores various dietary strategies for lowering enteric methane, finding that they can “improve animal performance and feed efficiency.”

Haque (2020): Dietary manipulation: a sustainable way to mitigate methane emissions from ruminants, Journal of Animal Science and Technology

This article determines that no enteric methane mitigation strategy is both “simple and enduring” but that dietary manipulation is an approach that can immediately reduce emissions while improving milk and meat production.

Gastelen et al. (2019): Are dietary strategies to mitigate enteric methane emission equally effective across dairy cattle, beef cattle, and sheep?, Journal of Dairy Science

This article finds that forage-related enteric methane strategies work best on dairy cattle, have some effect on beef cattle, and have little effect on sheep.

Hart et al. (2019): An Essential Oil Blend Decreases Methane Emissions and Increases Milk Yield in Dairy Cows, Open Journal of Animal Sciences

This study finds that a commercial essential oil additive improved milk yield while reducing methane emissions by 20 percent per unit of milk.

Arcipowska et al. (2019): 5 Questions About Agricultural Emissions, Answered, World Resources Institute

This web article describes the sectors and countries driving agricultural emissions, as well as strategies for their reduction.

Arcipowska et al. (2019): 5 Questions About Agricultural Emissions, Answered, World Resources Institute

This web article describes the sectors and countries driving agricultural emissions, as well as strategies for their reduction.

World Resources Institute (2019): Creating a Sustainable Food Future: A Menu of Solutions to Feed Nearly 10 Billion People by 2050

This report provides an accessible and comprehensive inventory of sustainable agricultural strategies, including those designed to lower cattle and rice methane production.

SoCalGas and Sempra Energy (2018): Getting the Facts on Renewable Natural Gas

This slide presentation argues that renewable natural gas, including that from dairy digesters, is part of a practical and cost-effective strategy for meeting California’s climate goals.

Evans (2018): The role ensiled forage has on methane production in the rumen, Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Veterinary Science

This study finds that ensiled forages provide an effective strategy to reduce livestock methane emissions and improved productivity but recommends accounting for multiple greenhouse gases when selecting forages.

Aguirre-Villegas (2017): Solid-Liquid Separation of Manure and Effects on Greenhouse Gas and Amonia Emissions, Sustainable Dairy

This article explains how solid-liquid manure separation reduces methane emissions and results in useful products.

Lee et al. (2017): Effects of encapsulated nitrate on growth performance, nitrate toxicity, and enteric methane emissions in beef steers, Journal of Animal Science

This study finds that, in beef cattle, encapsulated nitrate can be used as a feed additive, resulting in long-term methane reductions without harming growth performance.

Meale et al. (2014): Including essential oils in lactating dairy cow diets: effects on methane emissions, Animal Production Science

This study did not find evidence that juniper berry essential oils reduced methane production.

Peterson et al. (2013): Manure management for greenhouse gas mitigation, Animal

This article reviews current manure management practices in Sub-Saharan Africa, Vietnam, China, and the European Union before outlining a range of techniques for reducing manure emissions.

Benchaar and Greathead (2011): Essential oils and opportunities to mitigate enteric methane emissions from ruminants, Animal Feed Science and Technology

This literature review explores the opportunities for and limitations of essential oils, including thymol, carvacrol, eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, garlic oil, horseradish oil, peppermint oil, rhubarb/frangula oils, and combinations thereof.

Van Zijderveld et al. (2011): Persistency of methane mitigation by dietary nitrate supplementation in dairy cows, Journal of Dairy Science

This study concludes that nitrate persistently lowers methane production in dairy cattle.

Archimède et al. (2011): Comparison of methane production between C3 and C4 grasses and legumes, Animal Feed Science and Technology

This meta-analysis finds that C4 grasses trigger more enteric methane than C3 grasses, that cold-climate legumes produce more methane than warm-climate legumes, and that grasses result in higher methane releases than legumes.

Woodward et al. (2004): Condensed tannins in birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) reduce methane emissions from dairy cows, New Zealand Society for Animal Production

This study concludes that, when fed lotus, grazing dairy cows can see improved milk production and lower emissions per milksolids yield and per dry matter intake.

Milhorst et al. (2002): Reduction of Methane Emissions from Manure, Non-CO2 greenhouse gases: scientific understanding, control options and policy aspects

This study finds that keeping manure outside in a well-covered storage facility is the most cost-effective methane reduction method in colder climates.

World Resources Institute (2019): Creating a Sustainable Food Future: A Menu of Solutions to Feed Nearly 10 Billion People by 2050

This report provides an accessible and comprehensive inventory of sustainable agricultural strategies, including those designed to lower cattle and rice methane production.

Arcipowska et al. (2019): 5 Questions About Agricultural Emissions, Answered, World Resources Institute

This web article describes the sectors and countries driving agricultural emissions, as well as strategies for their reduction.

Environmental Defense Fund (2018): Global risk assessment of high nitrous oxide emissions from rice production

This white paper warns that efforts to reduce methane emissions in the rice sector through water management could significantly boost emissions of nitrous oxide, another powerful greenhouse gas.

LaHue et al. (2016): Alternate wetting and drying in high yielding direct-seeded rice systems accomplishes multiple environmental and agronomic objectives, Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment

This study finds that the alternate wetting and drying method decreases the global warming potential for rice cultivation by 57 to 74 percent without harming yield.

World Resources Institute (2014): Wetting and Drying: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Saving Water from Rice Production

This report identifies water management techniques for methane emissions reductions, outlines barriers to their adoption, and makes concrete recommendations to promote their widespread use.

Gutierrez et al. (2013): Effect of rice cultivar on CH4 emissions and productivity in Korean paddy soil, Field Crops Research

This article finds that methane emissions are variable among rice varieties, that short flooding periods do not reduce methane emissions, and that choosing productive but low-emitting rice varieties could be a promising methane reduction strategy.

AGRICULTURE RESOURCES – Baseline And Monitoring Resources

AGRICULTURE RESOURCES – Livestock Emissions Resources

AGRICULTURE RESOURCES – Rice Emissions Reductions Resources