The use of antibiotics in cattle is a subject of ongoing concern and debate. Furthermore, research suggests that antibiotic use could increase greenhouse gas emissions.
Antibiotics and soil carbon Researchers looked at soil that was exposed to manure from cows treated with antibiotics. They analyzed it and compared it to soil exposed to no manure and soil exposed to manure from antibiotic-free cows. While the exact cause isn’t clear, they found that the soil exposed to antibiotics stored less carbon than the others.
Why soil carbon matters High carbon levels are crucial to soil health. This is because soil that’s rich in carbon is much better at supporting the microscopic ecosystems on which plants rely on nutrients. In addition, when carbon can’t be stored in the soil, it’s released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas that plays a critical role in climate change.
The bottom line is that while manure is typically considered healthy for the soil, the presence of antibiotics in it could mitigate the benefits. To ensure soil health, antibiotic use in cattle should be closely reviewed.