Environmental stewardship is compatible with or inherent in modern beef cattle production practices. Rangelands and pasture play a huge role in maintaining plant biodiversity, wildlife habitats, watersheds, and reducing soil erosion and greenhouse gases (GHG). Rangelands and tame pastures remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In fact grasslands are capable of storing about twice the carbon as woodlands. Canada's world-class efficiencies in cattle production continue to decrease the carbon footprint of our beef.
Feedlot practices that improve growth performance and feed efficiency also have environmental benefit by using, for example, less feed per pound of beef and thus reduced manure output. The numbers reflect that we're doing more with less: between 1977 and 2007 Canadian domestic slaughter decreased 20 per cent while beef production increased 11 per cent (domestic slaughter only). During that same period, Canada marketed 10 per cent more slaughter cattle but produced 39 per cent more beef (includes live slaughter cattle exports to the U.S.) The gain in marketings reflect that Canada increased its cow herd from 1987 to 2005.
Canadian cattle producers care about the environment and the land they work on. Using management practices that protect the health of the animal and the environment go a long way towards the maintenance of a sustainable agro-ecosystem.