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Farmer Stottmeister was already working to protect the climate before he joined Net Zero Farming. Now he is finding measures to become even more efficient.

Farmer Jörg Stottmeister is firmly behind making changes to his farm in the name of climate protection. He tried out several measures in the past which proved beneficial but felt there was room for improvement, as is the case on many other farms in Germany. Targeted measures and technical innovation can help many to further slash their greenhouse gases and become more efficient. Stottmeister managed to improve his farm’s carbon footprint by around 6 % in his first year, by applying a range of methods.

Low-N maize

Growing low-N maize keeps yields stable while reducing nitrogen fertilization by 30 %. Cutting nitrogen in cultivation saves greenhouse gas emissions. In a further benefit, this variety of maize is particularly resistant to drought stress. With runner beans as well, this is additional protein and boosts biodiversity in the fields. Also, legumes like beans fix nitrogen from the air. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, planting the two proved 10 % better compared to conventional maize.

Feed to cut methane

Bovaer is a feed additive that reduces enteric methane emissions, meaning it directly improves the environmental performance of meat, milk and dairy products. In the rumen of a cow, microbes help break down food, and release hydrogen and carbon dioxide. An enzyme combines these gases to form methane. Bovaer is a feed additive which suppresses the enzyme so that less methane is produced. This improved the carbon footprint at Bösdorf by around 10 %.

Catch crops

Some farms in Germany regularly cultivate catch crops, to cut down on nutrient leaching after the main crop, but there is room for improvement here, too. Alongside maintaining and improving soil structure and life, the build-up of humus binds carbon in the form of soil carbon.