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Methane emissions

See how soil fits into the methane profile of agricultural emissions

Methane cycle

Methane (CH4) is not a significant GHG for UK agricultural soils, where the UK is more of a sink due to the action of soil bacteria converting the methane into more complex soil carbohydrates.  Deciduous woodland with a relatively high pH soils has been shown to have the highest rates of methane uptake in the UK.

Soils which have had regular fertilizer additions or have high ammonium content have been shown to have much smaller populations of methanotrophic bacteria (those bacterial populations that remove methane) and are therefore not very effective methane sinks; while soils which have organic manures added to them have been shown to have higher than average populations of methanotrophic bacterial populations.

The main source of methane is from livestock – see the Livestock & Dairy section of the Toolkit for more information on reducing these emissions.

Click here to read more about the potential to sequester carbon on-farm.