Article

Carbon footprinting of lamb and beef production systems: Insights from an empirical analysis of farms in Wales, UK

Article

Carbon footprinting of lamb and beef production systems: Insights from an empirical analysis of farms in Wales, UK

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Abstract

Carbon footprinting is an increasingly important method of communicating the climate change impacts of food production to stakeholders. Few studies utilize empirical data collected from farms to calculate the carbon footprints of lamb and beef. Data from two farms in Wales, UK, were employed to undertake such an analysis for two system boundaries. Within a system boundary that considers the embodied greenhouse gases (GHGs) in inputs and on-farm emissions, producing 1 kg of lamb releases 1·3–4·4 kg CO 2 eq/kg live weight (case study farm 1) and 1·5–4·7 kg CO 2 eq/kg live weight (case study farm 2). The production of beef releases 1·5–5·3 and 1·4–4·4 kg CO 2 eq/kg live weight. Within a wider system boundary that also includes GHG emissions from animals and farm soils, lamb released 8·1–31·7 and 20·3–143·5 kg CO 2 eq/kg live weight on the two case study farms, and beef released 9·7–38·1 and 18·8–132·6 kg CO 2 eq/kg live weight. The difference in emissions for this system boundary relates to nitrous oxides emitted from the organic soils on case study farm 2. These values overlap with nearly all other studies of GHG emissions from lamb and beef production. No direct comparisons between studies are possible due to substantial differences in the methodological approaches adopted.

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... From the perspective of a carbon footprint, extensive livestock systems relate to low production efficiency, which then delivers high GHGs emissions per functional unit. This highlights the potential conflict between carbon efficiencies and other environmental objectives (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). Conducting LCA still presents significant challenges, particularly when applied to agriculture. ...
... Direct comparisons between LCA studies are difficult due to potentially large methodological differences such as the allocation method, the functional unit chosen or the system boundaries adopted (De Vries and De Boer, 2010;Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). Few studies on lamb meat production have been performed (Williams et al., 2006;Edwards-Jones et al., 2009;Ledgard et al., 2010), and results differ largely. ...
... Direct comparisons between LCA studies are difficult due to potentially large methodological differences such as the allocation method, the functional unit chosen or the system boundaries adopted (De Vries and De Boer, 2010;Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). Few studies on lamb meat production have been performed (Williams et al., 2006;Edwards-Jones et al., 2009;Ledgard et al., 2010), and results differ largely. Besides methodological differences, variability in results also reflects differences in sheep productive systems, in geographical locations and in market conditions. ...
... In this regard, the carbon footprint promises to become a determining factor for transactions of sheep products between countries. CFs can also provide an emissions benchmark against which mitigation targets can be set and progress measured, and enable carbon labeling of food products to inform sustainable consumer purchasing decisions [10,11]. Available evidence indicates that CF labeling in agriculture is an emerging reality, and many consumers evaluated through surveys in the United States and the European Union (approximately 65%) were willing to consider a product's CF when making their purchasing decisions [12]. ...
... The carbon footprints were calculated using an updated version of the livestock model used by Edwards-Jones et al. [10] and Taylor et al. [16]. The global warming potentials of emissions were reported relative to CO2 over a 100-year time horizon, where 1 kg CH4 = 25 kg CO2-eq and 1 kg N2O = 298 kg CO2-eq [17]. ...
... Carbon footprint Wool (kg CO2 eq/kg greasy wool) = 0.23941*ISO + 1.21981*TS - 10.5486*NDVI (2) When univariate correlations were performed these variables correlated strongly with the CFs of lamb and wool and there was no evidence of collinearity between them (p < 0.001). ...
Article
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Natural steppe grasslands are the principal food resource for sheep in the Patagonia region, reared for meat and wool. However, there is currently a concern about the relationship between ruminant livestock and climate change due to its contribution to anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The objective of this study was to determine the carbon footprints (CF) of sheep meat (lamb) and wool on a range of farms using empirical data collected on farm and then upscaled to the regional scale using models that use topographic, climatic, and vegetation indices as independent variables. At the regional level, the total CF of lamb and wool (the combination of emissions produced on farm, via transport, and via industrial processing) varied from 10.64 to 41.32 kg CO2-eq/kg for lamb meat (carcass) and from 7.83 to 18.70 kg CO2-eq/kg for fine-grade wool. For both, the predominant contribution was from primary production on-farm (75-90%), followed by industrial processing (2-15%), and transportation. We used multiple regression models to produce maps of lamb and wool CF at farm gate across Santa Cruz province. The model for variation of lamb CF explained 95% of the variance on the data and the most significant predictor variables were temperature seasonality and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI, dimensionless). The most important variables for the model of CF of greasy wool production at farm gate were isothermality, temperature seasonality, and NVDI explained 98%. The lowest CF values of both products (lamb and wool) were located in more productive grasslands. The successful management of livestock GHG emissions becomes an important challenge to the scientific, commercial, and policy communities. The results of CF for lamb and wool production found in the present work assist in characterizing the greenhouse gas emissions profile of livestock products in Southern Patagonia by providing a baseline against which mitigation actions can be planned and progress monitored.
... Empirical farm data were used to estimate the CF of beef and lamb production using an updated model to the one employed by Edwards- Jones et al. (2009); a model which has been recently used to assess the CF of sheep systems in England and Wales (Jones et al., 2014). The model calculates the total emissions associated with bringing 1 kg of beef or lamb to slaughter and includes emissions from direct and indirect inputs associated with production. ...
... Upstream emissions were also considered for the manufacture of fertiliser, concentrate feed production, bedding, etc. The final CF is subsequently expressed as a functional unit per kg liveweight (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). ...
... These continuous emissions are distinct from emissions arising from recent land use change and emissions associated with N input (Van Beek et al., 2010). Thus, 'area of managed peat soil' was included in the model in order to account for drainage-relate peat soil emissions, which have been shown to be significant for Welsh upland livestock production (Edwards- Jones et al., 2009). ...
Article
The livestock sector is under considerable pressure to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Repeated measurements of emissions over multiple years will indicate whether the industry is on course to successfully meet emission reduction targets. Furthermore, repeated analyses of individual farm emissions over different timeframes allow for a more representative measure of the carbon footprint (CF) of an agricultural product, as one sampling period can vary substantially from another due to multiple stochastic variables. To explore this, a CF was measured for 15 livestock enterprises that had been assessed three years previously. The aims of the research were to: (1) objectively compare CFs between sampling periods; (2) assess the relationship between enterprise CF and input efficiency; (3) use scenario analyses to determine potential mitigation measures. Overall, no significant difference was detected in beef and lamb enterprise CFs between the two sampling periods. However, when all observations were pooled together, the lowest-emitters were found to have more efficient systems with higher productivity with lower maintenance “overheads”, compared with their higher-emitting counterparts. Of significance, scenario analyses revealed that the CF of beef and lamb could be reduced by 15% and 30.5%, respectively, if all enterprises replicated the efficiency levels of the least-emitting producers. Encouraging and implementing efficiency gains therefore offer the livestock industry an achievable method of considerably reducing its contribution to GHG emissions.
... New Zealand beef production systems have GHG emissions broadly similar to those for Canada by Beauchemin et al. (2010) and for Wales by Edwards-Jones et al. (2009), and reflect high daily LW gain and enhanced animal performance. The difference between these two studies is that, unlike New Zealand, Canadian farms include supplements as grain, concentrate or silage in feeding. ...
... The difference between these two studies is that, unlike New Zealand, Canadian farms include supplements as grain, concentrate or silage in feeding. The differences recorded between farmers and countries in this study, and also illustrated in different studies (Table 6), highlight the inability to generalize carbon footprint claims for a whole country or region which are not based on a representative sample of the farm (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). ...
... LCA provides a framework by where the environmental impact of production can be estimated in terms of emissions per unit. In the case of GHG emissions this method is gaining increasing acceptance and beginning to have an influence on consumer choices and consumption patterns, thereby potentially giving the producers with the lowest carbon footprint a commercial advantage (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). Under this scenario, the best path for extensive systems to become more competitive for premium prices in the international context is by increasing feed quality, pasture yield patterns and improvement management practices through the year. ...
Article
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In order to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from beef production Uruguayan and New Zealand systems have a significant role to play. Despite the differences, both are exposed to the same threats, i.e. more profitable alternative systems competing for the land, with enhanced production through intensification being a common response, and increasing pressure on the environment. This issue has attracted attention around the world concerning climate change and GHG emissions associated with animal production systems. The comparison using a whole-farm model (OVERSEER®), shows clear differences in GHG emissions, with higher emissions (in carbon dioxide equivalents, CO2eq) per kilogram of beef on Uruguayan farms (18.4-21.0 kg CO2eq/beef) compared with New Zealand farms (8-10 kg CO2eq/beef) as a result of lower production efficiency. However, the emissions per hectare were higher on intensive New Zealand farms (3013-6683 kg CO2eq/ha/year) than on Uruguayan farms (1895-2226 kg CO2eq/ha/year) due to high stocking rates and increased inputs. Sensitivity analysis revealed a large effect of methodology and the benefit of using tier 2 factors that account for differences in animal productivity and feed quality. Nitrous oxide emissions factors for animal excreta determined in New Zealand are half of the default IPCC factors, while activity factors for indirect nitrous oxide emissions from excreta-ammonia and N leaching are 50% and 23% respectively. Increased feed conversion efficiency in the more intensive systems was associated with lower GHG intensity but farm systems also need to account for other environmental factors that are more important on a regional or catchment basis.
... The carbon footprint (CF) represents the amount of GHG release due to the production processes and all supporting activities (Wiedmann, 2009;Pandey et al., 2011), and it can be used as an indicator of the extent of compliance with the required decreases in GHG production. Relevant studies and research in Chile are very scarce, whereas international studies have developed models to estimate the footprint based on life cycle approaches (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009, Ripoll-Bosch et al., 2013and Jones et al. 2014b). Complementarily, Bell et al. (2012) estimated the expected impact of climate change in grazing ruminant systems of four climatic regions of South Australia, and Sise et al. (2011) developed a model to simulate GHG emissions of cattle jointly grazing with sheep. ...
... Transport of the lambs to the processing plant and related processes were not included as they are independent of the production system. Also, GHG emissions due to maintenance of the capital items, disposal of input containers, production of veterinary inputs and veterinary inspections were not included as proposed by Edwards-Jones et al. (2009), Jones et al. (2014b), de Boer (2003, Ripoll-Bosch et al. (2013), and consistent with the PAS Methodology 2050 (British Standards Institute, 2011). GHG emissions due to the use of fertilizers in cereal crops and forages were based on Saunders and Barber (2007) and Edwards -Jones et al. (2009). ...
... Also, GHG emissions due to maintenance of the capital items, disposal of input containers, production of veterinary inputs and veterinary inspections were not included as proposed by Edwards-Jones et al. (2009), Jones et al. (2014b), de Boer (2003, Ripoll-Bosch et al. (2013), and consistent with the PAS Methodology 2050 (British Standards Institute, 2011). GHG emissions due to the use of fertilizers in cereal crops and forages were based on Saunders and Barber (2007) and Edwards -Jones et al. (2009). Soil carbon sequestration, an ecosystem service, was estimated for soils and forages (Lal, 2004;Soussana et al., 2010;Petersen et al., 2013;Batalla et al., 2015). ...
Article
Grassland based sheep production systems in the semi-arid to sub-humid Central region of Chile are expected to improve technical and economic efficiency, while at the same time decreasing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG). An existing empirical, stochastic simulation model of grazing sheep production was modified to allow for a cradle-to-farm-gate quantification of GHG under a large number of scenarios. The model includes pasture availability and utilization, supplementation of sheep, milk and lamb production, and carbon sequestration by forages and soils among others. Simulated scenarios included factorial combinations of a range of farm types previously typified and a range of sheep management practices, and their interaction with dry, average, or rainy years that affected grass growth. The carbon footprint (CF) was calculated for 20 runs of each case. Numerous interactions between animal outputs, forage availability and CF, as well as trade-offs, were found. Rainfall patterns had a significant effect on range and sown pastures yields when other factors were kept constant. A decrease of 32% in average rainfall for a dry year resulted in a reduction of forage production of 13%, whereas a rainy year with rainfall 36% higher than average, increased it by 12%, Forage yields had a significant effect on CF. Three different farm types showed CF of 7.4 to 13.3 CO2-eq·kg− 1 LW− 1. Farms that used higher inputs had higher forage production and lower CF, which decreased further if soil C sequestration is accounted for. Large farms that had lower stocking rates than the rest, and that used Merino sheep with high reproductive rates, had lower CF than the smaller farms that make a more intense land use. Reproductive rates had a large and significant effect on CF as they determine the number of ewes required to maintain constant production and overall flock composition. The average CF for lamb production across all scenarios was 14.8 kg CO2-eq·kg LW− 1, and decreased by 2 kg CO2-eq·kg LW− 1 when carbon sequestration was accounted for. The simulated systems were stable in years with average rainfall, but their sustainability seems fragile if faced with a sequence of dry years. It is concluded that the abundant interactions between the rainfall pattern and management variables would be difficult to study in field experiments, and that simulation modelling is a powerful tool to assess the consequences of numerous climate and production scenarios.
... The relation between agriculture and climate change has become an important issue (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). The food sector is one of the largest industries in the world and hence uses a large amount of energy and resources and contributes to global warming and total CO 2 emissions (Roy et al., 2009). ...
... Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is commonly used to evaluate the environmental impacts of different products, processes and activities. Assessments can consider the entire life cyle or a determined time interval of the life cycle (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009;Roy et al., 2009). A LCA can be performed to identify ways to reduce pollution, excessive use of resources and may stop the mitigation of environmental impacts between different production stages (McManus, 2010). ...
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The use of dynamical information, which is temporally and spatially explicit, to quantify environmental impacts is gaining importance in recent years. Life Cycle Assessment has been applied to identify environmental impacts of, for example, wheat production. However, conventional Life Cycle Assessment is typically limited by its static nature and cannot explicitly consider temporal and spatial variability in its matrix-based mathematical structure. To address this limitation, a novel dynamical Life Cycle Assessment framework that applies spatio-temporal mathematical models in Life Cycle Inventory is introduced. This framework employs the existing Enhanced Structural Path Analysis (ESPA) method paired with a spatial dispersion model to determine the localised emissions over time within the Life Cycle Inventory. The spatially explicit calculations consider emissions to the surrounding area of an origin. A case study was undertaken to demonstrate the developed framework using the production of wheat at the Helford area in Cornwall, UK. Results show the spatio-temporal dispersion for four example emissions atmosphere, soil, flowing and groundwater. These outcomes show that it is possible to implement both spatial and temporal information in matrix-based LCI. We believe this framework could potentially transform the way LCA is currently performed, i.e., in a static and spatially-generic way and will offer significantly improved understanding of life cycle environmental impacts and better inform management of processes such as agricultural production that have high spatial and temporal heterogeneity.
... Thus, the impact of climate change is detrimental to countries that depend on agriculture as the main livelihood, many located in Tropical Africa (IAC, 2004). Agriculture affects climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) from different farming practices (Edwards et al. 2009;Maraseni et al. 2009). ...
... Agriculture also affects climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) from different farming practices (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009;Maraseni et al., 2009). Agriculture results in about 10-12% of total global human caused emissions of greenhouse gases including about 60% of nitrogen dioxide and 50% of methane, as well as significant amounts of carbon dioxide. ...
... Most of this research deals with the environmental sustainability of beef and pork production. Carbon footprint (CF) of lamb meat has received less attention [7], and studies were carried out mostly on the quantification of environmental performance of the heavy lamb with values ranging hugely from 2.8 [8] to 38.45 [9] kg CO 2 eq per kg of live weight (LW) [8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]. All research was carried out in Oceania (most of the studies), in Europe, US, China, and Chile [19]. ...
... Most of this research deals with the environmental sustainability of beef and pork production. Carbon footprint (CF) of lamb meat has received less attention [7], and studies were carried out mostly on the quantification of environmental performance of the heavy lamb with values ranging hugely from 2.8 [8] to 38.45 [9] kg CO 2 eq per kg of live weight (LW) [8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]. All research was carried out in Oceania (most of the studies), in Europe, US, China, and Chile [19]. ...
Article
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The aim of this study was to estimate the methane-linked carbon footprint (CF) of the suckling lamb meat of Mediterranean dairy sheep. Ninety-six Sarda dairy ewes, divided into four groups of 24 animals each, were assigned to 2 × 2 factorial design. The experiment included the suckling lamb feeding system: traditional (TS), in which lambs followed their mothers on pasture during grazing time, vs. separated (SS), in which lambs remained indoors, separated from their mothers during the grazing time. Each group was divided into high (HS) and low (LS) supplemented ewes (600 g/d vs. 200 g/d of concentrate). The estimated CH4 emission of the ewes, calculated per kg of body weight (BW) gain of the lamb during the suckling period, was then converted to CO2eq with multiplying factor of 25. The TS lambs showed lower methane-linked emissions than SS ones (p < 0.05). The sex of lambs affected their methane-linked CF, with males having lower (p < 0.05) values than females. Twins displayed much lower methane-linked CF than singles (4.56 vs. 7.30 kg of CO2eq per kg of BW gained), whereas the level of supplementation did not affect greenhouse gases (GHG) emission. Interaction displayed lower and not-different GHG emissions for both indoor- and outdoor-reared twins. In conclusion, the methane-linked CF of the suckling lamb meat can be reduced by maintaining the traditional lamb rearing system and by improving flock prolificacy.
... Data for monthly growth rates (kg DM/ha), digestibility of DM (%), and crude protein (%) were available. The inputs required for sowing and fertilization were measured in terms of CF based on Edwards-Jones et al. (46) and Saunders and Barber (47). For animals' supplementation with corn silage, energy concentration of 2.5 Mcal/kg DM, 7.5% crude protein, and 72% digestibility of DM (48) were used. ...
... These equations relate gross energy intake to the production of methane. Carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), methane (CH 4 ), and nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emissions were transformed into CO 2 equivalents (CO 2 -eq) based on the conversion factors (1 kg of CO 2 -eq equal to 1 kg of CO 2 , 25 kg of CO 2− eq equal to 1 kg of CH 4 , and 298 kg of CO 2 -eq equal to 1 kg of N 2 O) as proposed by the IPCC (2,46). ...
Article
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One of the main production challenges associated with climate change is the reduction of carbon emissions. Increasing the efficiency of resource utilization is one way to achieve this purpose. The modification of production systems through improved reproductive, genetic, feed, and grazing management practices has been proposed to increase technical–economic efficiency, even though the “environmental viability” of these modifications has not always been evaluated. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of feeding and management strategies on the carbon footprint (CF) and economic variables in the traditional cow–calf system in southern Chile using a simulation model. The modifications evaluated corresponded to combinations of stocking rate, use of creep feeding practices with different supplementation levels, and the incorporation of feed additives to the supplement, using factorial experiments. Additionally, the scenarios were evaluated with and without carbon sequestration. The CF for the baseline scenarios was 12.5 ± 0.3 kg of CO 2−eq /kg of live weight (LW) when carbon sequestration was considered and 13.0 ± 0.4 kg of CO 2−eq /kg of LW in the opposite case. Changes in stocking rate, supplementation level, and consideration of carbon sequestration in pasture and soil had a significant effect on the CF in all simulated scenarios. The inclusion of additives in the supplement did not have a significant effect on production costs. With regard to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, incorporating canola oil presented the best average results. The model developed made the selection of environmentally viable feed strategies or management adaptations possible.
... Farm-level metrics Across the three farmlets, the average on-farm emissions of GHGs and ammonia were estimated to be 6.0 t/ha (CO 2 -e) and 25 kg/ha (ammonia), respectively, with slightly smaller values recorded for the green farmlet due to its larger area (Table 2). These values correspond to the upper-middle range reported by preceding studies carried out on UK commercial farms (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). Nevertheless, the results of such comparison should be interpreted with caution, as conventional analyses based on farm-level aggregate variablesas opposed to more disintegrated information adopted by the present analysisare known to underestimate the overall emissions (Dalgaard et al., 2001;McAuliffe et al., 2018). ...
Article
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For livestock production systems to play a positive role in global food security, the balance between their benefits and disbenefits to society must be appropriately managed. Based on the evidence provided by field-scale randomised controlled trials around the world, this debate has traditionally centred on the concept of economic-environmental trade-offs, of which existence is theoretically assured when resource allocation is perfect on the farm. Recent research conducted on commercial farms indicates, however, that the economic-environmental nexus is not nearly as straightforward in the real world, with environmental performances of enterprises often positively correlated with their economic profitability. Using high-resolution primary data from the North Wyke Farm Platform, an intensively instrumented farm-scale ruminant research facility located in southwest United Kingdom, this paper proposes a novel, information-driven approach to carry out comprehensive assessments of economic-environmental trade-offs inherent within pasture-based cattle and sheep production systems. The results of a data-mining exercise suggest that a potentially systematic interaction exists between ‘soil health’, ecological surroundings and livestock grazing, whereby a higher level of soil organic carbon (SOC) stock is associated with a better animal performance and less nutrient losses into watercourses, and a higher stocking density with greater botanical diversity and elevated SOC. We contend that a combination of farming system-wide trials and environmental instrumentation provides an ideal setting for enrolling scientifically sound and biologically informative metrics for agricultural sustainability, through which agricultural producers could obtain guidance to manage soils, water, pasture and livestock in an economically and environmentally acceptable manner. Priority areas for future farm-scale research to ensure long-term sustainability are also discussed.
... While studies applying LCA to dairy (Thomassen et al. 2009;van der Werf et al. 2009;Flysjö et al. 2011) and beef production (Williams et al. 2006;Lieffering et al. 2010;Peters et al. 2010;Nguyen et al. 2012;Wiedemann et al. 2015b) have been published for several major production regions of the world, there are fewer published LCAs on sheep and most of these have focussed on lamb production. Lamb LCA studies cover production in a range of regions, notably the Mediterranean (Ripoll-Bosch et al. 2013), New Zealand Gac et al. 2012), the UK (Williams et al. 2006;Edwards-Jones et al. 2009) and Australia (Peters et al. 2010;Wiedemann et al. 2015c). Only three published studies have specifically investigated the LCA of wool, with two examining meat and wool production from single-case study farms in Australia (Eady et al. 2012;Brock et al. 2013) and the most recent studying four case studies across three countries (Wiedemann et al. 2015a). ...
Article
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Abstract Purpose Australia is the largest supplier of high quality wool in the world. The environmental burden of sheep production must be shared between wool and meat. We examine different methods to handle these co-products and focus on proportional protein content as a basis for allocation, that is, protein mass allocation (PMA). This is the first comprehensive investigation applying PMA for calculating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for Australian sheep production, evaluating the variation in PMA across a large number of farms and locations over 20 years. Materials and methods Inventory data for two superfine wool Merino farms were obtained from farmer records, interviews and site visits in Study 1. Livestock GHG emissions were modelled using Australian National GHG Inventory methods. A comparison was made of mass, protein mass and economic allocation and system expansion methods for handling co-production of wool and sheep meat. In Study 2 typical crossbred ewe, Merino ewe and Merino wether flocks in each of 28 locations in 8 climate zones were modelled using the GrassGro/GRAZPLAN simulation model and historical climatic data to examine the variation in PMA values for different enterprise types. Results and discussion Different methods for handling co-products in Study 1 changed allocated GHG emissions more than four-fold, highlighting the sensitivity to method choice. In Study 2, enterprise, climate zone and year and their interactions had significant effects on PMA between wool and liveweight (LW) sold. The wool PMA (wool protein as proportion of total protein sold) least squares means (LSM) were: 0.61 ± 0.003 for wethers, 0.43 ± 0.003 for Merino ewes and 0.27 ± 0.003 for Crossbred ewe enterprises. The wool PMA LSM for the main effect of Köppen climate zone varied from 0.39 to 0.46. Two zones (no dry season/warm summer and distinctively dry and hot) had significantly lower wool PMA LSM, of 0.39 and 0.41 respectively, than the four other climate zones. Conclusions Effects of superfine wool production on GHG emissions differed between regions in response to differences in climate and productivity. Regarding methods for handling co-production, system expansion showed the greatest contrast between the two studied flocks and highlighted the importance of meat from wool production systems. However, we also propose PMA as a simple, easily applied allocation approach for use when attributional life cycle assessment (LCA) is undertaken.
... While several LCA studies have been published on smallruminant systems in Europe, most of them have focussed on meat (Williams et al. 2006;Edwards-Jones et al. 2009;Ripoll-Bosch et al. 2013;Jones et al. 2014) or milk production from sheep farms (Batalla et al. 2015;Vagnoni et al. 2015) and just a few have involved products from goat farming systems (Weiss and Leip 2012;Opio et al. 2013), and were mainly based on estimations from modelling approaches at a regional level. The main objective of the present study was to apply a LCA approach to explore the change in GHG emissions and other environmental impacts arising from the substitution of a typical dairy goat diet in southern Spain by the following two alternative diets including different by-products from local food industry: (1) leaves and olive cake from olive oil extraction process and (2) tomato waste from horticulture. ...
Article
Goat milk production is an important agricultural resource in the Mediterranean basin. Market demands and scarcity of pastures during drought periods has led to farms becoming more intensive and based on imported concentrate feeds. The use of alternative feedstuffs from agro-industry can help decrease dependence on external concentrates, while preventing the environmental issues associated with livestock production and by-product disposal. From a life-cycle assessment perspective, we investigated the change on greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions of replacing a conventional dairy goat diet in southern Spain with two alternative dietary strategies, including tomato waste or olive by-products silages. The effect on enteric methane emissions and milk productivity was assessed through specific feeding trials. Experimental data were integrated within a modelling framework comprising different submodels to describe the farm system and associated production chain. A new model describing carbon and nitrogen losses from solid waste was applied to estimate the emissions associated with the baseline scenarios for food by-product management. The assessment revealed that the two dietary strategies achieve GHG reductions (~12–19% per kg milk). In both cases, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions from crop production were partially reduced through the displacement of typical concentrate ingredients. An additional mitigation effect was obtained when including tomato wastes in the diet because it reduced the methane emissions from enteric fermentation. Results suggested that use of agro-industrial residues for feeding is a feasible mitigation option in this case. However, as organic by-products could have alternative uses (bioenergy, soil amendment), with different implications for land use and soil carbon stocks, a more complete overview of both scenarios is recommended. Potential trade-offs from non-GHG categories may play an important role in a decision-making process.
... The current study was not a life cycle assessment of GHG emissions. Several studies have looked at lifecycle assessments of GHG emissions associated with red meat production (e.g., Haas et al., 2001; Casey and Holden, 2006; Edwards-Jones et al., 2009; Beauchemin et al., 2010; Peters et al., 2010). Values of kg CO 2 -eq /kg of HCW for beef range from 5.9 to 25.5 (Peters et al., 2010 ). ...
... Historically, moderate levels of animal performance were achieved in many marginal grassland areas, but structural and compositional changes in vegetation following reductions in stocking rates have significantly lowered the production potential and related economic viability of many types of semi-natural grassland (Dumont et al. 2013). Furthermore, recent research has confirmed that enteric methane emission intensities are greater when animals consume poorer quality indigenous grassland (Fraser et al. 2014), and thus the carbon footprint per kilogram of output is considerably higher compared to more intensive production systems (Edwards-Jones et al. 2009;Gill et al. 2009). However, there are benefits both for human health and food security from grass-based meat production, particularly when forages from areas unsuitable for cultivation are turned into human-edible products (Lind et al. 2009). ...
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Grassland agriculture is experiencing a number of threats including declining profitability and loss of area to other land uses including expansion of the built environment as well as from cropland and forestry. The use of grassland as a natural resource either in terms of existing vegetation and land cover or planting of new species for bioenergy and other nonfood applications presents an opportunity, and potential solution, to maintain the broader ecosystem services that perennial grasslands provide as well as to improve the options for grassland farmers and their communities. This paper brings together different grass or grassland-based studies and considers them as part of a continuum of strategies that, when also combined with improvements in grassland production systems, will improve the overall efficiency of grasslands as an important natural resource and enable a greater area to be managed, replanted or conserved. These diversification options relate to those most likely to be available to farmers and land owners in the marginally economic or uneconomic grasslands of middle to northern Europe and specifically in the UK. Grasslands represent the predominant global land use and so these strategies are likely to be relevant to other areas although the grass species used may vary. The options covered include the use of biomass derived from the management of grasses in the urban and semi urban environment, semi-natural grassland systems as part of ecosystem management, pasture in addition to livestock production, and the planting and cropping of dedicated energy grasses. The adoption of such approaches would not only increase income from economically marginal grasslands, but would also mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production and help fund conservation of these valuable grassland ecosystems and landscapes, which is increasingly becoming a challenge.
... Within a system that considers GHG produced from cradle to farm gate, producing 1 kg of lamb releases on average almost 3 kg CO 2 eq/kg live weight and for the production of 1 kg of beef they estimated 3.15 kg CO 2 eq/kg live weight of GHG emissions. With wider system boundaries, that included production of farm crops for animal feed, the amount of GHG emitted was almost 15 times higher for both lamb and beef (Edwards-Jones et al. 2009). Likewise, differences in the amount of GHG emitted from beef production depend on the cattle farming system used (intensive fattening, extensive pastoral, etc.). ...
... The impact of this choice on the carbon footprint of Canadian sheep and lamb production must be determined to define the best role for this industry in Canadian agriculture. Since sheep and cattle are both ruminants, the carbon footprint of sheep has been defined by using beef cattle as a benchmark (Dyer et al., 2014a; Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). In addition to being the largest livestock industry in Canada, and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs) (Vergé et al., 2012), beef production is the most GHG-intensive source of protein of Canada " s five major livestock industries (Dyer et al., 2010a). ...
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Sheep production in Canada is a small industry compared to other livestock systems. This chapter assessed the potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions from expanding sheep production in Canada. The main expansion scenario was a co-grazing system for beef and sheep in western Canadian rangeland, an area of about 10 million ha in the three Prairie Provinces. The Unified Livestock Industry and Crop Emissions Estimation System (ULICEES) model was used to determine the GHG emissions from beef and sheep populations in Canada. Enteric methane accounts for more than two thirds of GHG emissions from sheep. A comparison of GHG emissions from sheep in the rangeland scenario with GHG emissions from the 2006 sheep population in the Prairie Provinces indicated that the GHG emissions per-ewe from the rangeland scenario was 10% lower at the same sheep population. This was because the higher enteric methane emissions was offset by the lower inputs and feed supplements for the rangeland sheep. Given that this uncultivated land would otherwise contribute little or nothing towards the growing global demand for food (and particularly protein), cograzing of sheep and cattle has greater potential to increase meat production than simply expanding either sheep or cattle on their own in these rangelands. The ability of sheep to graze forage species other than those preferred by cattle can also benefit the long term productivity and biodiversity of prairie rangeland. Although many questions remain unanswered, this scenario could potentially reduce the overall GHG emission intensity of the agriculture sector in Canada.
... The carbon footprint of a product or service represents the greenhouse gas emissions during the lifecycle of a product or service, usually from production, use/consumption, and disposal (Röös et al., 2014). Carbon footprint calculations differ with respect to two topics: the greenhouse gases considered and the boundaries of the calculation (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009;Pandey et al., 2011). The carbon footprint is reported as a mass of total CO 2 equivalents (CO 2 -eq). ...
... The higher Canadian GHG intensities are partly due to the more severe climate in Canada. They were also partly due to the intensive production system used in Canada compared to the offshore lamb industries (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009), particularly Ireland. Figure 2 suggests that beef from Eastern Canada has a higher carbon footprint than lamb from the five offshore lamb industries that were compared here. However, due to the differences in protein to LW ratios, emission intensity estimates based on LW mask 33% of the difference between Canadian lamb and beef based on edible protein. ...
Chapter
Sheep production in Canada is a small industry in comparison to other livestock systems. Because of the potential for expansion of the sheep industry in Canada, the GHG emissions budget of this industry was assessed in this paper. The GHG emissions from Canadian lamb production were compared with those from the Canadian beef industry using the ULICEES model. The GHG emission intensity of the Canadian lamb industry was 21% higher than lamb production in France and Wales, and 27% higher than northern England. Enteric methane accounts for more than half of the GHG emissions from sheep in Canada. The protein based GHG emission intensity is 60% to 90% higher for sheep than for beef cattle in Canada. The GHG emission intensity for sheep in Eastern Canada is higher than for sheep in Western Canada. Protein based GHG emission intensity is more sensitive to the difference between sheep and beef than LW based emission intensity. This paper demonstrated that protein based GHG emission intensity is a more meaningful indicator for comparing different livestock species than live weight (LW) based GHG emission intensity.
... Thus, the impact of climate change is detrimental to countries that depend on agriculture as the main livelihood, many located in Tropical Africa (Dixon et al. 2001; Houghton et al. 2001; IAC 2004). Agriculture affects climate change through the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) from different farming practices (Maraseni et al. 2009; Edwards-Jones et al. 2009). Agriculture is the main sector of the Ethiopian economy. ...
... The corresponding forecasted quantities of GHGs emissions are presented in Table 3 below. The conversion factors used in the estimates are obtained from Fiala [60] and Edwards-Jones et al. [61]. We use the carbon dioxide equivalent quantities (kg) emitted from one kilogram of production of beef, chicken, pork and lamb which are 14.8, 1.1, 3.8 and 10.1 respectively in our calculations. ...
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The Australian per capita consumption of ruminant meat such as beef and lamb has declined over the last two decades. Over the same period, however, per capita consumption of non-ruminant meat such as chicken and pork has continued to increase. Furthermore, it is now observed that the human consumption of kangaroo meat is on the rise. This study investigates the implications of these changes in meat consumption patterns on Green House Gases (GHGs) emission mitigation in Australia using a Vector Auto Regression (VAR) forecasting approach. Our results suggest that the increase will continue in non-ruminant meat consumption and this will not only offset the decline in ruminant meat consumption, but will also raise the overall per capita meat consumption by approximately 1% annually. The per capita GHGs emissions will likely decrease by approximately 2.3% per annum, due to the inclusion of non-ruminant meat in Australian diets. The GHGs emissions can further be reduced if the average Australian consumer partially replaces ruminant meat with kangaroo meat.
... However, only small differences in yield scaled CFs were observed for pork production across farm scales (Table 3). Edwards et al. (2009) indicated extensive farms have a heavy reliance on fossil fuels, and pressures on manure management in livestock production, which may in part explain this. Finally, we also found some vegetable production had higher CFs in glasshouses than under open fields (Table 2). ...
... While a number of LCA studies have been published on small ruminant systems in Europe, most of them have focused on meat (Williams et al., 2006;Edwards-Jones et al., 2009;Ripoll-Bosch et al., 2013;Jones et al. 2014) or milk production from sheep farms (Batalla et al., 2015;Vagnoni et al., 2015) and just a few involved products from goat farming systems (Weiss & Leip, 2012;Opio et al., 2013), which were mainly based on estimations from modelling approaches at regional level. The main objective of the present study was to apply a LCA approach to explore the change on GHG emissions and other environmental impacts arising from the substitution of a typical dairy goat diet in Southern Spain by two alternative diets including different by-products from local food industry: (i) leaves and olive cake from olive oil extraction process and (ii) tomato waste from horticulture. ...
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Treatment technologies can play a key role aiming to reduce the environmental burdens associated to agricultural organic waste management. Simultaneously, they can help to improve production efficiency and convert by-products into valuable resources while enhancing land functions linked to the role of soil in closing nutrient cycles. Moreover, choosing the most appropriate strategy amongst the different methods of valorization, recycling and/or reutilization of organic waste resources is key to reduce total N losses and mitigate both greenhouse gas (GHG) and ammonia (NH3) emissions. The basis to reach such decision is far from trivial due to the large and complex interactions between the different levels of organization (e. g. soil-plant-animal-waste), the biogeochemical cycles, (e.g. the C and N cycles are intimately coupled), the water cycle, energy flows, human decisions, technological possibilities and local conditions (i.e. soil and climate). The main objective of this thesis was to develop and test a methodology that, striking a reasonable compromise between right complexity and utility, could be useful to evaluate GHG and NH3 mitigation strategies involving management of organic resources under different soil and climatic conditions. With this view and based on the most updated state-of-the-art scientific information, an integrated methodology that can be used across scales and production systems, and which coupled mathematical modelling and life cycle assessment has been developed. The specific steps to achieve this goal involved: (i) quantifying through a systematic review which strategies have the potential to reduce GHG emissions and N losses from solid waste management, (ii) based partly on this review develop and test a composting model (SIMSWASTE-CO) to identify potential mitigation strategies involving solid waste management, (iii) develop and test an anaerobic digestion model (SIMSWASTE-AD) to identify potential mitigation strategies involving liquid waste management, (iv) evaluate the environmental impacts of including agro-industrial by-products in the diet of dairy goats in Spain and compare this strategy against other potential competing uses of these by-products (e.g. Anaerobic digestion and composting) and (v) evaluate at the regional level the effect of different management strategies of organic resources on soil organic carbon accumulation in orchards and horticulture in the Spanish Mediterranean coastal area. The systematic review showed that different management strategies of organic waste in solid form have a significant influence on GHGs and N emissions. Improving the structure of the solid waste heap was one of the most effective measures to mitigate GHGs, simultaneously reducing methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions without increasing substantially N losses through NH3 volatilization. Amongst composting methods, turned systems have potential for reducing GHGs emissions. Aerobic conditions enhanced in both composting methods guarantee the hygienization of the material by reaching high range temperatures (>60ºC), but they involve the risk of pollution swapping due to enhanced NH3 emissions. Covering or compaction help decrease N losses via NH3 volatilization, thus enhancing nutrient conservation. However, these practices did not show significant effects on reducing GHG emissions (CH4, N2O), and they may result in negative agronomic trade-offs. The use of specific additives can be a successful strategy for reducing gaseous losses during treatment of solid waste depending on the target substance, additive dosage and operational conditions of the process. There is evidence to assume that N2O emissions from solid storage systems are at least in the same range as those from turned composting in passive windrow, thereby the respective EFs should be refined in the development of the future IPCC methodology. The new models for composting (SIMSWASTE-CO) and anaerobic digestion (SIMSWASTE-AD) validated reasonably well, showing good agreement between modelled and measured values from existing experiments. Whereas SIMSWASTE-CO validation exercise indicated good model performance for the simulation of carbon dioxide (CO2) and NH3 emissions and was able to capture the effect of different management practices on GHG emissions, SIMSWASTE-AD validation exercise reflected a good model capability to predict biogas production and N mineralisation under a range of substrate mixtures and operational conditions. More measurements are still needed in order to fully validate N2O and CH4 emissions though. The importance of climate, post-digestion emissions and its relationship with the anaerobic digestion (AD) performance and feedstock composition was identified as crucial factors in order to reduce the net GHG emissions of the whole process, but also to enhance digestate fertilizer potential. Beyond the effects on the waste management stage, SIMSWASTE-CO and SIMSWASTE-AD aim to help account for potential effects of organic waste treatment on other stages and spatial scales by providing the C and nutrient flows. Its mass balance basis allows them to interact with other models, so they can be easily integrated in more holistic (e.g. LCA) and broader (e.g. regional studies) approaches. Such system scope is essential for stakeholders in order to help developing the most appropriate strategies involving the management of agricultural organic waste management. As a way to show the capability of the methodological framework on different scales, the two models were coupled to (i) an LCA analysis and to (ii) soil C model within a regional assessment. Firstly, the integrated approach coupling mathematical models and LCA was applied to investigate the GHG mitigation potential of including agro-industrial by-products in the diet of dairy goats. From an environmental point of view, the results indicated that the application of the selected by-products as dairy goat feed was the best management option in comparison to the baseline management strategies considered: composting and anaerobic digestion. In fact, the two dietary strategies tested offered promising overall reductions on the environmental burdens associated with goat milk production. Finally, the integrated approach coupling mathematical models (e.g. SIMSWASTE) with a dynamic model of SOC turnover (RothC) allowed to investigate the potential of different management strategies of organic resources to enhance SOC stocks in orchards and horticultural system in the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Sowing cover crops in orchards systems showed the largest SOC accumulation potential. Whilst this practice is currently not widely used in the area, it could also provide other additional benefits such as soil erosion protection and water holding capacity, which are of paramount importance to the Mediterranean conditions. Other combinations, for example including composting or anaerobic digestion, did not lead to large increases in soil C but, on overall (e.g. including the effect of producing biogas) reduced largely the GHG emissions.
... Unfortunately, as in the current study, these grazing benefits (e.g., carbon sequestration, biodiversity) are excluded due to the lack of approved assessment methods, and thus intensive systems are likely favored [35]. As a result, our study highlights the potential conflict between GHG emission and land use efficiencies and other environmental objectives, similar to Edwards-Jones et al. [36], and further emphasizes the need for the development of scientifically robust methods to assess carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and social impacts. Carbon sequestration is not covered by this study, but it is clear that optimized grazing, pasture improvement, and the restoration of degraded pastures are critical in increasing grassland carbon sequestration [37]. ...
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Increasing pressures surrounding efficiency and sustainability are key global drivers in dairy farm management strategies. However, for numerous resource-based, social, and economic reasons sustainable intensification strategies are herd-size dependent. In this study, we investigated the environmental impacts of Latvia’s dairy farms with different management practices. The herd size-dependent management groups varied from extensively managed small herds with 1–9 cows, extending to stepwise more intensively managed herds with 10–50, 51–100, 100–200, and over 200 milking cows. The aim is to compare the environmental impacts of different size-based production strategies on Latvia’s dairy farms. The results show that the gross greenhouse gas emissions differ by 29%: from 1.09 kg CO2 equivalents (CO2e) per kg of raw milk for the farms with 51–100 cows, down to 0.84 kg CO2e/kg milk for farms with more than 200 cows. However, land use differs even more—the largest farms use 2.25 times less land per kg of milk than the smallest farms. Global warming potential, marine eutrophication, terrestrial acidification, and ecotoxicity were highest for the mid-sized farms. If current domestic, farm-based protein feeds were to be substituted with imported soy feed (one of the most popular high-protein feeds) the environmental impacts of Latvian dairy production would significantly increase, e.g., land use would increase by 18%, and the global warming potential by 43%. Environmental policy approaches for steering the farms should consider the overall effects of operation size on environmental quality, in order to support the best practices for each farm type and steer systematic change in the country. The limitations of this study are linked to national data availability (e.g., national data on feed production, heifer breeding, differences among farms regards soil type, manure management, the proximity to marine or aquatic habitats) and methodological shortcomings (e.g., excluding emissions of carbon sequestration, the use of proxy allocation, and excluding social and biodiversity impacts in life-cycle assessment). Further research is needed to improve the data quality, the allocation method, and provide farm-size-specific information on outputs, heifer breeding, manure storage, and handling.
... Farm-level metrics Across the three farmlets, the average on-farm emissions of GHGs and ammonia were estimated to be 6.0 t/ha (CO 2 -e) and 25 kg/ha (ammonia), respectively, with slightly smaller values recorded for the green farmlet due to its larger area (Table 2). These values correspond to the upper-middle range reported by preceding studies carried out on UK commercial farms (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). Nevertheless, the results of such comparison should be interpreted with caution, as conventional analyses based on farm-level aggregate vari- ables -as opposed to more disintegrated information adopted by the present analysis -are known to under- estimate the overall emissions ( Dalgaard et al., 2001;McAuliffe et al., 2018). ...
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Global demand for livestock products continues to increase as a consequence of population growth, changes in consumer preferences and income levels. Increased efficiency of food production to meet consumer demand must also focus on reducing the environmental impact of production and for the livestock sector there is also growing interest in the quality and traceability of products. In many countries, increasing demands on land use (production of food, fuel, industrial use, leisure) mean that its use for food production must compete with other land uses, and this has major implications for the grassland sector. Improving the sustainable production of livestock products is a recurring research theme among grassland scientists, and provides many challenges but also opportunities for the grassland sector. These include increasing the utilisation of grasslands to improve nutritional quality for livestock production, increasing sustainability by using fewer inputs, and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with agricultural production. Balancing these “traditional” objectives with delivery of ecosystem services and opportunities for exploiting grasslands for energy use is also required. This volume reviews a range of research on the sustainable use of grasslands to optimise livestock nutrition whilst protecting biodiversity and delivering a range of broader environmental benefits. It assesses the latest research on how temperate grasslands function, surveys best practice in sustainable grassland management and considers wider aspects of sustainability, such as the maintenance of ecosystem services and biodiversity _____________________________________________________________________________________https://shop.bdspublishing.com/checkout/Store/bds/Detail/WorkGroup/3-190-56369
... Life cycle assessment is a systematic tool for determining the environmental impact of a product or process across its entire life cycle or a portion of interest (Klopffer 1997; Sheenan et al. 1998;Hass et al. 2001;Phetteplace et al. 2001;Berlin 2002;Silvenius and Gronroos 2003;Ziegler et al. 2003Ziegler et al. , 2011Cederberg and Flysjo 2004;Zhu and Van Ierland 2004;Basset-Mens and van der Werf 2005;Eriksson et al. 2005;Nempecek et al. 2005;Casey and Holden 2006;Mollenhorst et al. 2006;Weiske et al. 2006;Williams et al. 2006;Katajajuuri 2007;Ogino et al. 2007;Verge et al. 2007Verge et al. , 2008Verge et al. , 2009Blonk et al. 2008;Hirschfeld et al. 2008;Thomassen et al. 2008;Ziegler and Valentinsson 2008;Aubin et al. 2009;Blonk et al. 2009;Cederberg, Meyer et al. 2009;Edward-Jones et al. 2009;Ellingsen et al. 2009;Flachowsky and Hachenberg 2009;Pelletier et al. 2009;Peters et al. 2009;FAO 2010;Iribarren,Vazquez-Rowe et al. 2010;Nyugen et al. 2010;Pelletier and Tyedmers 2010;Ponsioen et al. 2010;Vazquez-Rowe et al. 2010, 2011Sheane et al. 2011;Ramos et al. 2011;Svanes et al. 2011. Finnveden et al. 2009). ...
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Global population growth will increase pressures on current food systems in order to supply adequate protein and produce to the increasingly urban world population. The environmental impact of food production is a critical area of study, as it influences water and air quality, ecosystem functions, and energy consumption. Aquaponics (where seafood and vegetables are grown in a closed loop system), has the potential to reduce the environmental impact of food production. A review of the current environmental and economic considerations is provided in order to identify current research gaps. Research gaps exist with respect to 1) diversity of aquatic and plant species studied, 2) inconsistent bounds, scope, and lifetime across studies, 3) diverse allocation of the environmental and economic impacts to the co‐products, 4) scale of systems considered, 5) transportation of produced food, and 6) presence of heavy metals, pests and pathogens with human health implications. These aspects require increased attention to close the existing gaps prior to widescale deployment of these systems for increased sustainable food production towards satisficing human needs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
... In this paper, LCA methodology has been followed as a basis for CF evaluation (McAuliffe et al., 2016). Nevertheless, the lack of consensus on a method selection -system boundaries, functional units, allocation approaches-and the assumptions under consideration hinder the feasibility of a comparative analysis against other studies (de Vries and de Boer, 2010;Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). Besides methodological differences, variability in results also reflects differences in animal productive systems, geographical locations and market conditions. ...
Article
Dehesa agroforestry systems (rangelands located in Southwest Spain) are characterised by their semi-arid and often marginal conditions. These features are behind the low supply of pastures available for livestock use, which leads to proper management being based on the use of reduced stocking rates which imply minimal animal pressure on the territory. In this sense, the study of the role of carbon footprint in extensive systems is of great interest by analysing, within a case study framework, the various production systems available in dehesa farms and providing the methodological adjustments required to generate results that are comparable with other livestock systems and species. Results have revealed that beef farms with fattening calves are those with the lowest carbon footprint levels (8.62 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq)/kg live weight), followed by meat production sheep farms and farms selling calves at weaning. Enteric fermentation accounts for 64.10% to 43.63% of the total emissions, and it is linked to the extensification of these systems and to the grazing diet of the animals. The system’s own emissions could reach up to 78% in meat production systems. Undoubtedly, feeding is the input that amounts for the highest percentage of off-farm emissions, as it can reach up to 44.60% of the total emissions in dairy sheep farms and 21.20% in the meat production sheep farms. Soil sequestration has also been observed to range between 270.02 and 334.01 kg CO2eq ha-1 y-1 in the extensive farms under study, which represents considerable carbon compensation. It should be noted that these systems cannot compete in product units with the more intensive ones and, therefore, carbon footprint in dehesa agroforestry systems should be referred to the territory.
... Machinery and fertilizers were used in the establishment and maintenance (every three years) of the B. decumbens pastures and their CO 2 -eq emissions were estimated based on published reports (Edwards-Jones et al., 2009, Kim et al., 2011; University of Arkansas 2019), and these values were prorated over time assuming the duration of the pastures as 15 years before reseeding is necessary. For the estimation of differences in overall C balance between the three different animal phases, the CO 2 -eq GHG emissions from soil and also emissions from tillage and application of inputs to the Bd scenario were included. ...
Article
Beef cattle production constitutes the main land use in the neotropical savannas of the eastern Colombian Orinoquia. However, the effects of Brachiaria decumbens Stapf (Bd) pastures and the alternative combination of savanna and B. decumbens pastures (SaBd) to raise and breed tropical beef heifers and cows, and their impacts on methane (CH4) emissions and overall carbon (C) footprint are still unknown. This study aimed to predict CH4 emissions, animal-environmental metrics and overall C footprint across heifers' growth, cow-calf-bull and cull cows' fattening productive stages of Brahman (Bos indicus) breeding herds, lifetime-grazing on B. decumbens pastures or a sequence of native savanna and B. decumbens pastures. A dynamic model-method was used with detailed liveweight (LW) and productive lifetime-cows' data together with estimated values of above- and belowground pasture biomass and soil C stocks. This framework recognized commercial farming practices such as growing and mating female herds on Bd (Bd scenario) or rising them on savanna and grazing Bd pastures (SaBd scenario) during the herd's breeding life. The study complemented this socio-economic, cultural and productive tradition by fattening cull cows using the improved Bd pasture and illustrated the cointegrating relationship with structural-flows of LW-derived CH4 emissions. As heifers aged, accumulated CH4 emission efficiencies [t carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent (CO2-eq) head ⁻¹] were lower in the Bd scenario than in the SaBd scenario from birth to conception (2.67 ± 0.087 vs 3.49 ± 0.087; P < .0001), while following the same trend, emissions from the first to the fourth lactation were in the range of 0.821–0.865 (P < .05) between scenarios, but similar in the two other lactations. Methane efficiency estimates from cow-calf pairs (t CO2-eq kg ⁻¹ calf born) tended to be lower in the Bd scenario than in the SaBd scenario up to the fourth lactation. In the extreme, calculated values during the fattening phase were 0.935 t CO2-eq head ⁻¹. In this context, the estimated animal greenhouse gas emissions and annual soil C accumulation values revealed not only a differentiation of the estimated C footprint at system level between animal productive stages, but also more likely natural CO2 removal from the atmosphere with all three animal phases of Bd scenarios. Hence, this study provides evidence for the experimental hypothesis that dynamic modelling based on long-term research results on improved Bd pastures would allow the estimation of the overall C footprint of Brahman breeding herds and their sustainable performance in the Colombian neotropical savanna environment.
... First within a specific food type, emissions can vary markedly with multiple factors including geographic location, type of production system, species, soil, climate, production inputs, land degradation, lactation stage and age, animal weight, diet, travelling distance, type of transportation, processing, packaging and storage, and more (Garnett 2007;Scollan et al. 2010). For example estimation using real world farm data (Edwards-Jones et al. 2009) showed that even within the same farm and same LCA system boundary, outcome emission factors could range between 20.3 and 143.5 kgCO 2 -e/kg live weight for ovine, and 18.8-132.6 kgCO 2 -e/kg live weight for beef. ...
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This study aimed to synthesize mean cradle-to-cooked-edible-meat greenhouse gas emission factors for bovine, ovine, pig, and poultry meat through a systematic review process. 64 studies involving 42 countries/regions, published between 1997 and 2015 were identified meeting selection criteria using Cochrane search strategies. Major emission activities were identified and synthesised into a cradle-to-cooked-edible-meat lifecycle system. 270 emission factors were identified from publications and taken as baselines. 67% baseline evaluation boundaries stopped at farm-gate, only 3% at home/restaurants. Baseline emission gaps were identified by comparing baseline evaluation systems against the synthesised system. Emission factors for major activities were identified from publications and mean values were used to fill emission gaps in order to obtain the cradle-to-cooked-edible-meat emission factors, which were then grouped to obtain a mean cradle-to-cooked-edible-meat emission factor for each meat type. Mean emission factors (kg CO2-eq/kg) for adjusted cradle-to-cooked-edible-meats were: Bovine 61.3 (n = 124), Ovine 61.2 (n = 38), Pig 15.8 (n = 56) and Poultry 9.4 (n = 52), which are significantly higher than the adjusted means for carcass at regional-distribution-centre: Bovine 23.9 (n = 118), Ovine 23.3 (n = 9), Pig 5.0 (n = 51) and Poultry 3.6 (n = 45); or the adjusted means for saleable meat at retail: Bovine 32.3 (n = 122), Ovine 31.2 (n = 36), Pig 7.9 (54), and Poultry 4.2 (n = 50). This study confirmed current meat emission evaluations reflect only a fraction of dietary impacts. Emission factors for cooked-edible-meat could be three times the amount of meat commodities at farm-gate. Emission factors vary significantly within and between meat types.
... The rise in temperature, variability in precipitation, and reduction in crop productivity directly affect the food security in less developed and agro-based economies. Consequently, the influence of climate variability is unfavorable to the regions where their livelihood depended mainly on agriculture (Edwards-Jones et al. 2009). ...
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Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries especially in Southeast Asia experiencing floods and droughts as a result of climate change. Variation in climate adversely affects agriculture sector, ground water, nutrition, soil quality and soil organic matter, health conditions, and poverty. The main purpose of this study is to review the impact of climate change and adaptation strategies used at farm level in response to variation in temperature and precipitation. As per literature, Pakistani farmers adopt several adaptation strategies in response to climate change, like change in fertilizer, change in crop variety, pesticide, seed quality, water storage, farm diversification, plant shade trees, irrigation practices, off-farm activities, permanent and temporary migration, and selling of assets. Literature also showed that farmers living wetland area perceived less variation in climate than farm households living in dry area.
... In general, more abundant livelihood capital endowments (including human capital, natural capital, physical capital, financial capital, and social capital) and higher income diversification appear to enhance farmers' capabilities for risk response [13]. A number of studies have shown that factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, education level, household structure, productive experience, cognitive bias, media information, geographic location and farm soil type are all important influences on risk perception [14][15][16][17][18]. Additionally, the impact on risk perceptions of farmers' information acquisition about favorable market environments, public opinion, and convenient credit services (such as more flexible patterns of lending and usage modes, and lower loan thresholds) cannot be ignored [19][20][21][22][23]. ...
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Using data collected from semi-structured interviews with 485 households, this research evaluates the effect of perceived livelihood risk on livelihood strategies within farming households in China’s Shiyang River Basin. Perceived livelihood risk was evaluated by establishing an index system of livelihood risk (health, environmental, financial, social, and information and connectivity risks). Different livelihood strategies were identified, including reducing consumption, seeking help from relatives and friends, securing loans, seeking employment, and converting assets into cash. The effect of perceived livelihood risk on livelihood strategies was measured and evaluated using multinomial logistic regression. The results indicate that the effect of different perceived livelihood risk on livelihood strategies varies. Personality traits, as well as perceived health risk, financial risk, social risk, and environmental risk influence livelihood strategies, while perceived information risk and connectivity risk do not appear to have obvious relationships to livelihood strategies. Finally, we present proposals for ensuring farmers’ livelihood strategies are more effective.
... Dans la littérature, plusieurs études ont utilisé l"ACV comme méthode d"évaluation des performances des exploitations ovines allaitantes (Benoit et al., 2010;Biswas et al., 2010;Edwards-Jones et al., 2009;Ledgard, 2010;Ripoll-Bosch et al., 2013;Williams et al., 2008). Les résultats de ces études sont assez divergents notamment en raison des aspects méthodologiques, mais également des caractéristiques propres aux divers échantillons utilisés. ...
Article
Les auteurs de ce travail ont évalué les émissions de Gaz à Effet de Serre (GES) et les consommations d‟énergie non renouvelable (ENR) dans un échantillon de 1250 années-éleveurs en ovin-viande, évoluant dans des productions dites biologiques (AB) et conventionnelles (AC) et suivies sur la période 1987-2012, par la méthode de l‟Analyse de Cycle de Vie (ACV). Il n‟y a pas de différence significative pour la consommation d‟ENR (79.6 MJ en AB et 79.7 MJ en AC, par kilo de carcasse). En effet, le gain réalisé en AB par la faible utilisation d‟engrais chimiques et l‟achat de moins d‟aliments concentrés est compensé par le niveau élevé de mécanisation (ici carburants et matériels). Quant aux émissions de GES, on observe une différence significative favorable à l‟élevage biologique de l‟ordre de 5% (31.1 contre 32.7 kg CO2 eq/kg carcasse).
... It is adversely affecting agricultural systems, ecosystem services, water supply and food security, mostly in developing countries (Komba & Muchapondwa, 2018;IPCC, 2014). The main cause of climate change is greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel combustion (Muhati et al., 2018;IPCC, 2007) and agricultural practices Edwards-Jones et al., 2009). Efforts to mitigate climate change have been directed towards reducing atmospheric carbon concentration either by reducing the sources of these gases (for example, substituting burning of fossil fuel with electricity) or enhancing the sinks that accumulate and store these gases such as forest and soils. ...
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Food's environmental impacts are created by millions of diverse producers. To identify solutions that are effective under this heterogeneity, we consolidated data covering five environmental indicators; 38,700 farms; and 1600 processors, packaging types, and retailers. Impact can vary 50-fold among producers of the same product, creating substantial mitigation opportunities. However, mitigation is complicated by trade-offs, multiple ways for producers to achieve low impacts, and interactions throughout the supply chain. Producers have limits on how far they can reduce impacts. Most strikingly, impacts of the lowest-impact animal products typically exceed those of vegetable substitutes, providing new evidence for the importance of dietary change. Cumulatively, our findings support an approach where producers monitor their own impacts, flexibly meet environmental targets by choosing from multiple practices, and communicate their impacts to consumers.
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This study aims at comparing GHG emissions and non-renewable energy use in meat sheep production, in organic farming (OF) and conventional farming systems. These two criteria have been calculated ex-post on 1261 French year-farms monitored over 26 years. The functional unit used is t he carcass weight. Regarding GHG emissions, the results show that OF emit 5 % less GHG than conventional ones, with a higher proportion of methane and less indirect CO2 associated to less inputs use. Given the methodological d difficulties, it is hard to argue if carbon sequestration in soil is different between OF and conventional. For non-renewable energy, there is no significant difference between OF and conventional farms, due to compensations (more mechanization and less concentrates and fertilizer purchased in OF). Note the great variability in the results, both in OF and conventional farms. The two main explanatory factors are ewe productivity (for GHG) and forage self-sufficiency (energy consumption).
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Current food production and consumption practices are depleting natural resources and polluting ecosystems at a rate that is unsustainable and are one of the main causes of anthropogenic climate change. If this trend does not change, externalities of food production will be exacerbated in future decades due to population growth and increasing living standards. A shift towards low impact diets has been proposed as part of the solution. The public food sector offers tremendous potential for influencing such a shift; however currently in the UK this potential is only partially exploited as national guidelines for public food procurement avoid promoting the adoption of low impact menus. This doctoral research aims at addressing this shortfall by creating a procedure for the design of low impact primary school menus. This is informed by a life-cycle based tool (the Environmental Assessment Tool of School meals, EATS) that enables catering companies and local authorities to self-assess the environmental impact of a meal in terms of its carbon and water footprint, with the purpose of identifying hotspot meals and comparing alternatives in the design of new menus. The data underlying EATS includes the results of a meta-analysis of the existing literature on the carbon footprint of 110 food products commonly used in the preparation of primary school meals in the UK. To validate EATS, a statistical analysis of the underlying data was performed, feedback from its potential users was collected, three case study analyses were developed, and the results provided were compared with existing studies.
Article
CONTEXT The discussion on the sustainability of beef production has grown considerably, but the research on this topic has mainly been focused on farm-model studies considering a single year and only assessing the environmental impacts while neglecting the temporal representativeness of the data (variability) and the economic sustainability of beef production systems. OBJECTIVE This work is aimed at evaluating the environmental impacts and economic performances of beef production through a joint assessment based on a dataset compiled on commercial farms to take into account the variability of the environmental impacts and economic performances over a 4-year period. Farms rearing suckler cows and fattening animals (whole cycle farms) in Northern Italy were taken as a case study. METHODS Data have been collected from detailed on-farm questionnaires, field books, and invoices on 10 whole-cycle Piedmontese beef farms for four consecutive years (2016-2019). The collected data enabled to evaluate the environmental impacts by means of the global warming potential (GWP) LCA category, and economic efficiency indicators. Furthermore, correlations between the environmental impacts, economic performances and productive efficiency have been investigated. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS The assessment of the environmental impacts showed a mean GWP value of 15.0 kg CO2 eq/kg LW, thus highlighting a high variability between farms and years. It has been found that farms characterized by a better productive efficiency had lower GWP emissions. The studied farms also showed high variability, in terms of economic performances, especially for the productivity of family work and farm household income. It has also been found that the environmental and economic sustainability of beef cattle farms is linked by a negative correlation (Pearson's r = −0.707 and P -value <0.001), thus implying that the farms that show lower environmental impacts tend to be characterized by better economic results. SIGNIFICANCE From the findings of this study, it therefore seems appropriate that efficient production practices, especially improvements in productive and reproductive efficiency, coupled with high farm feed self-sufficiency and low concentrate consumption, should be applied as mitigation strategies to reduce the environmental impacts of beef farms, thereby allowing good economic results to be achieved at the same time. Furthermore, to obtain more reliable results, the study indicates that it is advisable to carry out evaluations of environmental impacts and economic performances over several consecutive years. However further research involving a bigger farm sample and different production systems is needed to confirm the findings of this case study.
Article
While a rich body of literature has looked at greenhouse gas emissions in biogas production systems and the potential impacts of biogas production on food supply, broader issues relating to the economic, environmental and social pillars of sustainability need to be carefully considered. Drawing upon experiences from European countries, key outcomes associated with large-scale implementation of biogas and biomethane production are identified. Topics of particular interest include policy instruments, farm intensification, and supply chain risks. Conclusions are drawn by recommending policy directions for countries such as Ireland that are at earlier developmental stages for biogas and biomethane deployment.
Article
Agriculture is a major contributor of green house gas emissions and livestock component have significant contribution, sheep being an important part of animal husbandry also contributes to carbon footprints (CFs) of environment through enteric fermentation, manure emissions and inputs used in sheep husbandry. Toaugment productivity and lower environmental impact of livestock, intensive farming is a promising strategy; yet, the approach of feeding more amount of concentrate to increase the productivity of animals was less competent and severed environmental effects compared to increasing fodder production. Furthermore, to avoid dependence ongrazing pasturesand provide year round quality fodder to the animals, carbon foot print from forage production required for stall feeding should be taken in to consideration along with other practices for conducting life cycle assessment of sheep farming. In this study, sheep rearing of popular breeds (Malpura, Avishaan, Patanwadi and Kheri) altogether with dominant forage production systems (napier, perennial grasses, forage legumes and bajra) was assessed in terms of carbon foot prints and output of crops as well as sheep. Among all the crops, perennial grasses required less input and very low CFs of inputs followed by forage legumes. The mean carbon foot print of finished lambs was 8.9, 9.5, 9.3 and 5.7 kg CO2e/kg live weight in Malpura, Avishaan, Patanwadi and Kheri, respectively. For production of 1 kg fodder on dry matter basis, Napier required around 224.6% higher carbon input than perennial grasses along with maximum productivity (carbon output) of 67.4% as compared to other crops. Grasses being marginal crops required very low carbon input approximately 794.5% lower as compared to Napier production. For meat, Avishaan proved its superiority in terms of higher meat production which resulted in higher CFs from meat in Avishaan which was around 89.9 and 85.5% higher than Malpura and Patanwadi, respectively. In case of milk, Patanwadi was the highest contributor having 20.1 and 14.3% higher CO2-e as compared to Malpura and Avishaan, respectively. The CFs for wool production was also more for Patanwadi by about 15.0 and 22.9% higher than Malpura and Avishaan, respectively. When the CFs of fodder production and sheep farming was studied together, it was revealed that Napier production with Patanwadi rearing contributed maximum CFs over other systems. Grasses cultivated with Avishaan resulted in least CFs contribution. The results suggest that growth of meat/animal production should be done in consideration with the mean carbon footprints of all correlated variables impacting the environment.
Article
Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production have a major impact on the environment. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is an accepted method to assess those environmental impacts associated with all stages of products life from cradle to grave, and is used to determine the carbon footprint (CF) of animal origin products. CF is just an environmental indicator to assess sustainability of livestock products, such as milk, beef, pork, chicken, eggs, etc. and is used on products packaging as a so-called carbon label to inform supply chain professionals about the relative impacts of different products and activities. From the published studies who assessed the impact of production of milk, beef, lamb, pork, chicken and eggs using LCA, it is concluded that production of 1 kg of beef used most land and energy and had highest global warming potential, followed by production of 1 kg of lamb, pork, chicken, eggs and milk. However, it should be pointed out that LCA results for livestock products do not include environmental consequences of competition for land between humans and animals, and consequences of land-use changes.
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This research explores logistics-related leverages in the responsibility of retailers for improving the environmental performance of a Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) distribution network. We examine opportunities for modifying the network carbon footprint by changing network design variables. To do so, a quantitative distribution network model is established, and 150 scenarios are calculated by modifying real-world shipment data from an existing multinational FMCG manufacturer. Four distribution variables are identified for a many-to-many and a hub-and-spoke network structure. Two variables affect the distribution network and two interfere in the shipment structure by manipulating weight and/or the delivery date. This research sheds light on the extent of the changes in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the distribution network that result from modifications in the logistics variables. The greatest effect on the quantity of GHG emissions can be observed when an anticipation horizon for orders is introduced. When shipments are consolidated and delivered only weekly or biweekly from the manufacturer to the retailers, GHG emissions drop significantly. Another opportunity for retailers to cut down GHG emissions is based on the concept of minimum order quantities where shipments to a retailer location are bundled until a certain weight is reached. Additionally, total GHG emissions of distribution may be reduced by raising the tonnage limit, thereby triggering direct shipments between the manufacturer’s facilities and the retailer locations, or by raising the tonnage limit, which triggers direct shipments in the logistics service provider network. The extent of GHG reduction is assessed for all investigated variables.
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Ethiopia is one of the most vulnerable countries experiencing drought and floods as a result of climate variability and change. Climate change in the form of higher temperature, reduced rainfall and increased rainfall variability reduces crop yield and threatens food security in low income and agriculture-based economies. This study reviews impact of climate change and variability, and climate change adaptation strategies employed at farm level in response to perceived changes in temperature and precipitation. Climate change negatively affects agriculture, nutrition, ground water availability, soil organic matter and soil quality, health conditions, growth and poverty. The survey reveals that Ethiopian farmers adopt many strategies in response to climate change. These strategies include “use of improved crop varieties,” “agroforestry practices,” “crop diversification,” “soil conservation practices,” “tree planting,” “off-farm activities,” “irrigation practices,” “adjusting planting dates,” “selling of assets,” “food aid,” and “permanent and temporary migration in search of employment” are the most important adaptation strategies by smallholder farmers. However, “level of education,” ‘gender,” ‘age,’ “wealth of the head of household,” “access to extension and credit,” “information and climate social capital,” “agro-ecological settings,” and “temperature” all influence farmer’s choices; “lack of information on adaptation methods,” “financial constraints,” and “lack of access to land “as main barriers to adapt climate change and variability. Another investigator also revealed that farmers living in the dry lowland area perceived more change in climate than farmers in the wet lowland area.
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There is widespread interest on the impacts of climate change on agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and on the most effective investments to assist farmers to strengthen factors influencing their choice of adaptation measures. This study uses the Heckman probit model to analyze the two-step process of adaptation measures to climate change, which initially assesses a farmer’s perception that climate is changing and followed by an examination of the response to this perception in the form of adaptation. Simple purposive random sampling was used to select two states out of six states. Random sampling was used to select Ondo and Oyo States, while communities that are prone to climate change were purposively selected. The study administered the questionnaire and held Focus Group Discussions to elicit information, where 350 valid responses were used for further analysis. The dependent variables are adaptations measures adopted by There is widespread interest on the impacts of climate change on agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and on the most effective investments to assist farmers strengthen factors influencing their choice of adaptation measures. This study uses the Heckman probit model to analyze the two-step process of adaptation measures to climate change, which initially assesses a farmer’s perception that climate is changing and followed by an examination of the response to this perception in the form of adaptation. Simple purposive random sampling was used to select two states out of six states. Random sampling was used to select Ondo and Oyo States, while communities that are prone to climate change were purposively selected. The study administered questionnaire and held Focus Group Discussions to elicit information, where 350 valid responses were used for further analysis. The dependent variables are adaptations measures adopted by farmers, where the independent variables are those natural, socio-economic, institutional and physical factors influencing the choice of these measures. The analysis indicate that 53.4% of the investigated farmers have observed increasing temperature over the past 10 years whereas 58% have observed that they noticed decreasing rainfall over the past 10 years. Findings from the FGDs conform to secondary data gathered. This analysis show that 64.57% of farmers have adopted one or more of the major adaptation options identified through the research survey. Education of the head of household, livestock ownership and extension for crop and livestock production, availability of credit and temperature are factors influencing the choice of adaptation. farmers, where the independent variables are those natural, socio-economic, institutional and physical factors influencing the choice of these measures. The analysis indicates that 53.4% of the investigated farmers have observed increasing temperature over the past 10 years whereas 58% have observed that they noticed decreasing rainfall over the past 10 years. Findings from the FGDs conform to secondary data gathered. This analysis shows that 64.57% of farmers have adopted one or more of the major adaptation options identified through the research survey. Education of the head of household, livestock ownership and extension for crop and livestock production, availability of credit and temperature are factors influencing the choice of adaptation.
Technical Report
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This report reviews the current literature on meat, milk and dairy, with a special focus on Norway. To understand differences in reported emissions, the report explains the variation in methodological approaches such as division over co-products, functional unit selection, and system boundaries. Cattle meat, milk and dairy emissions are analyzed and compared with selected other foods that could act as a replacement, according to the various system boundaries used in the studies. Emissions from meat and dairy in Norway are compared with the Nordics and west-Europe, and other regions where relevant. Comparisons are also made between different production systems, including conventional and organic, intensive and extensive, and beef production from different types of cows. Finally, the report analyses the relative impacts of the different life cycle stages of meat and milk production and consumption. In a short section, it highlights some of the potentials for change of milk and meat impacts on the climate that emerged from the literature. Key findings summarize emissions for meat from dairy cows (around 19,5 kg CO2 equivalents per kg product), young bulls (around 19 kg CO2eq/kg), suckler cows (around 30 kg CO2eq/kg) and milk (around 1,2 CO2eq/kg). Norway’s emissions from combined meat-milk production are higher than in other Nordic and Western European countries, mainly because other countries have higher yields and lower methane emissions. Cattle meat and milk emit more than potential alternatives. Use of functional units and comparison between products depends on the stakeholders and context for comparison. In Norwegian meat and milk production, on-farm processes play by far the largest role, with around 78% of the emissions. Pre-farm stages contribute 22%. Most, around 38%, come from methane from ruminant digestion. Importantly, few if any studies present allocations over the full life cycle, which means that proportions for pre-, on—and post-farm emissions may change significantly when including all life cycle stages. Finally, the report finds no clear differences between conventional and organic meat and milk production in terms of climate impact, while intensive and extensive systems both have large mitigation potential.
Article
It is essential to increase the production of foods to meet the increasing future food demand, but this should be done in an environmentally sustainable manner. Integrated crop-livestock systems have been suggested to balance the reduction of environmental impacts and the increase in food production. Here we assessed and compared the environmental impacts of specialized (SPC) and integrated (ITG) rice and beef production systems in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, using a life-cycle assessment (LCA). The productions of rice and beef are separated in the SPC, whereas they are integrated in the ITG: cattle manure is treated by a biodigester for biogas production, its digestate is applied to rice paddy fields as fertilizer, and part of the rice straw is used as cattle feed. We developed an LCA model based on data collected by site investigations of rice and beef farms and the relevant literature and LCA databases. Our evaluation of the ITG and SPC rice-beef production systems using the LCA revealed that among the four environmental impact categories investigated herein, the ITG had less environmental impacts on climate change (22%), energy consumption (22%), and eutrophication (14%) compared to the SPC. With the ITG, the reduction of methane emissions from paddy fields, the avoided energy consumption by the biogas produced, and the lower ammonia, nitrate, and phosphorous emissions from cattle manure and no eutrophying pollutant emissions from grassland were the main contributors to the lower greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, and eutrophication potential of this system, respectively. A sensitivity analysis showed that the use of cover for digestate storage resulted in lower environmental impacts of the ITG system compared to SPC system in all of the impact categories investigated here. These results provide helpful information to develop a circular and resource-efficient rice and beef production system that balances increasing productivity with environmental sustainability in rice-producing countries, particularly in Asia.
Article
Beef production, especially when based on the calves from suckler cows, typically has the greatest environmental impacts among various livestock production systems. Conventional beef production in Japan uses a large amount of imported concentrate feed, which results in substantial environmental impacts. Yakumo Farm, located in northern Japan, produces grass-fed beef using only farm-grown feed. Pesticides and chemical fertilizer were used in the past, but organic management was introduced at the farm more recently. We assessed the environmental impacts of grass-fed beef production at Yakumo Farm before and after the introduction of organic management (hereafter, non-organic and organic, respectively), and a conventional Japanese (hereafter, conventional) system using life-cycle assessment (LCA). We constructed the LCA models based on data collected at Yakumo Farm, from the literature and from LCA databases. The LCA system boundaries included feed production, transportation, processing, animal management, enteric fermentation, and manure and its management. The functional unit was defined as 1 kg of cold carcass weight of beef steers. The impact of each system was determined regarding its potential contribution to global warming, acidification, and eutrophication, as well as its energy consumption. Both the organic and non-organic systems had much smaller impacts on acidification, eutrophication, and energy consumption than the conventional system. The impact on global warming associated with the organic system was equivalent to the conventional system, whereas for the non-organic system it was greater than for the conventional system. Generally, the exclusion of the process of feed transportation reduced the environmental impacts. The use of chemical fertilizer increased the global warming-related impact in the non-organic system. Therefore, we concluded that introducing organic management to Yakumo Farm mitigated its environmental impacts. Our results provide implications for mitigating the environmental impacts caused by beef or other livestock production not only in Japan, but also in other countries depending upon imported feed.
Article
Life cycle assessment (LCA) is increasingly being used as a tool to estimate environmental impacts in the sheep sector. Policymakers have been keener on developing policies and recommending best management practices from a life cycle perspective. This paper reviews the key LCA studies of the sheep sector within the last fifteen years to assess the state of the art of the environmental impacts of the sheep supply chain. Peer-reviewed LCAs as well as global, organizational efforts on the subject have also been reviewed and discussed. Discussions are categorized by products, hotspots, methodologies and system boundaries, and impacts of interest. The vast majority of studies have utilized a “cradle-to-farmgate” system boundary, where impacts associated with production of major farm inputs, management/applications of inputs and direct emissions from livestock are included. The sole focus of the majority of studies in terms of the category of impact has been climate change, quantified through greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The impact results are difficult to generalize due to wide discrepancies in farming practices, production efficiencies, product allocation and emission modeling methods. The GHG emissions, however, associated with sheep meat, milk and wool fall in the range of 3.5 – 25 kg CO2-eq/kg live weight, 2 – 5 kg CO2-eq/kg fat and protein corrected milk (FPCM), and 20 – 60 kg CO2-eq/kg greasy wool, respectively. The overwhelming consensus is that the single largest contributor to GHG emissions is direct methanic emission from livestock, generally contributing to 50% – 75% of overall GHG emissions. More research needs to be conducted on determining impacts of “post-farm” activities such as processing of sheep products before it reaches the consumers, inclusion of the benefits of carbon sequestration, and consideration of environmental impacts other than climate change.
Technical Report
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The agriculture in Germany accounts for more than 13 percent of the German total greenhouse gas emissions. In climate protection strategies (i.e. the energy and climate programme of the federal government), the contribution of the agriculture is usually still neglected. Therefore, the purpose of this study is the evaluation of climate impacts of the agricultural production in Germany, with respect to the most important agricultural products – wheat, pork, beef and milk. The research focuses on, to what extent conventional and organic farming are different in their climate impacts and which advantages and disadvantages can be found in different systems. The performances of the climate assessment show that organic farming normally is more climate friendly than conventional agriculture. That primarily results from large amounts of mineral fertilizer used in the conventional agriculture which causes high greenhouse gas emissions during production and application. On the other hand, the demand for space throughout ecological production processes is higher than in conventional systems. Furthermore, a significant potential for climate protection can be seen in the water logging of drained moorland whose current agricultural utilization leads to extensive greenhouse gas emissions. Altogether, the agriculture could contribute to the attainment of Germany’s climate goals. This could be achieved through changes in production methods as well as abandoning or extensification of the used moorland areas. For this purpose, the study identifies central starting points as well as discusses potential synergy effects and conflicts with environmental and animal protection goals. Although the study focusses on the German agricultural sector, most of its conclusions can be transferred also to other countries where agriculture produces at similar levels of intensity. The central recommendations, namely conversion from conventional high intensity of fertilizer use to organic farming or other practices with lower intensities, the re-wetting of drained moorland, hold to a similar degree for agriculture worldwide. And another central conclusion is valid internationally as well: The conversion to a more climate friendly agriculture will not be possible without changing consumption patterns to reduce the demand for meat and milk products in favor of vegetarian products. This is mainly a challenge in industrialized countries with highly climate-unfriendly consumption patterns.
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Climate variables responsible for inter-annual variations in the winter cereal yield in Spain were identified and climate information was translated into crop production. Empirical orthogonal functions and correlation analyses were applied to regional and large-scale climate variables to ascertain the links between climate and winter cereal yield. Interactions between climate and winter cereal productivity in Spain can be summarized as follows: the start of the growing season depends on minimum temperature, and crop maturity is affected by drought, maximum temperature, sea-level air pressure, moisture fluxes, and the jet stream, as well as by indices of the Scandinavian Pattern, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the Southern Oscillation. A statistical approach has been derived to describe variability in cereal productivity in Spain taking into account the previous potential predictors. In general, the best atmospheric conditions for increasing winter cereal productivity in Spain are warmer winters, cooler and wet springs, with prevalent meridional circulation at upper levels. The observed trend of increasing sea level pressure toward the western Mediterranean could cause a loss in the winter cereal yield.
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Results. The analysis confirms the fact that capital goods can-not be excluded per se. On one hand, toxicity related environ-mental impacts such as freshwater ecotoxicity or human toxic-ity are more sensitive towards an inclusion or exclusion of capital goods. On the other, certain products like photovoltaic and wind electricity are very much or even completely affected by capital goods contributions, no matter which indicator is chosen. Nuclear electricity, agricultural products and processes, and transport services often behave differently (showing a higher or lower share of capital goods contribution) than products from other sectors. Discussions. Some indicators analysed in this paper show a rather similar behaviour across all sectors analysed. This is particularly true for 'mineral resources', and − to a lesser extent − for 'Eco-indicator 99 total', 'acidification' and 'climate change'. On the other hand, 'land use' and 'freshwater ecotoxicity' show the most contrasting behaviour with shares of capital goods' impacts be-tween less than 1% and more than 98%.
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Soils are the main sources of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). The N2O emission at the soil surface is the result of production and consumption processes. So far, research has concentrated on net N2O production. However, in the literature, there are numerous reports of net negative fluxes of N2O, (i.e. fluxes from the atmosphere to the soil). Such fluxes are frequent and substantial and cannot simply be dismissed as experimental noise. Net N2O consumption has been measured under various conditions from the tropics to temperate areas, in natural and agricultural systems. Low mineral N and large moisture contents have sometimes been found to favour N2O consumption. This fits in with denitrification as the responsible process, reducing N2O to N2. However, it has also been reported that nitrifiers consume N2O in nitrifier denitrification. A contribution of various processes could explain the wide range of conditions found to allow N2O consumption, ranging from low to high temperatures, wet to dry soils, and fertilized to unfertilized plots. Generally, conditions interfering with N2O diffusion in the soil seem to enhance N2O consumption. However, the factors regulating N2O consumption are not yet well understood and merit further study. Frequent literature reports of net N2O consumption suggest that a soil sink could help account for the current imbalance in estimated global budgets of N2O. Therefore, a systematic investigation into N2O consumption is necessary. This should concentrate on the organisms, reactions, and environmental factors involved.
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Background, Aims and Scope Over the last five decades, the nature of food retailing has undergone an enormous transformation. Macro level economic, structural and technological developments have led to a major increase in the level of world trade. These developments have helped retailers to meet modern consumer expectations, but benefits have not been achieved without some drawbacks. This paper seeks to explore the environmental impacts associated with fresh produce supply chains, in order to understand the relative significance of transport as compared to other supply chain activities. Methods Life Cycle Assessment was used to estimate the potential environmental impacts of three fresh produce items sourced from six countries and solid in Marks and Spencer stores: royal gala apples from Brazil, Chile, Italy and the UK; runner beans from Kenya (and extrapolated for Guatemala and the UK); and watercress from the UK and USA (and extrapolated for Portugal). Analysis was also conducted to evaluate the likely impacts of extending the storage period for UK apples thus negating the need to import, against the current strategy of importing fruit from the Southern hemisphere for six months of the year. In addition, the impacts of conventional as compared to organic cultivation were considered for watercress in both the UK and USA. Results and Discussion The results for all three products reveal similar dominating impacts. A clear distinction arises in terms of the activities which contribute most to environmental impact and the magnitude of this impact, depending on the country in which the product is cultivated; i.e. global, regional (European) or local (British) sources of supply. Conclusion Transport (or distance between production and consumption) is therefore an important factor in determining the environmental sustainability of food supply chains (though for long distance haulage, there is a significant distinction between air-freight and shipping). Electricity consumed for storage and packing operations is also significant, and the associated environmental impact is lower in countries where a large proportion of electricity is generated from renewable fuels. However, where this occurs in countries distant from the UK, transport impacts overshadow the environmental savings achieved from the more favourable electricity generation mix. Recommendations and Perspectives The results of this study suggest that when in season it is generally preferential, on environmental grounds, for UK consumers to buy British produce rather than produce imported from overseas. Cultivation overseas is necessary to ensure year-round availability and in these circumstances it is preferable that processing activities also occur overseas if environmental benefits can be derived from local factors (e.g. a favourable electricity generation mix). Overall, the findings should be evaluated in the context of managing wider sustainability interests (including social and economic issues), for which further research is required.
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Background, aim and scopeConsiderable debate surrounds the assessment of the environmental impacts and the ethical justification for providing a year-round supply of fresh produce to consumers in the developed countries of northern Europe. Society is seeking environmentally sustainable supply chains which maintain the variety of fresh food on offer throughout the year. This paper compares the environmental impacts of different supply chains providing lettuce all year round to the UK and considers consumers' meanings of—and attitudes to—available options. Lettuce has been selected as a case study as its consumption has grown steadily during the last two decades and the supply chains through cold months are protected cropping in the UK and field cropping in Spain; during warm months, lettuce is sourced from field cropping in the UK. Materials and methodsData were collected from farms supplying each of these supply chains, and life cycle assessment methodology was used to analyse a range of impacts associated with producing (from plant propagation to harvesting and post-harvest cooling) and delivering 1kg of lettuce to a UK Regional Distribution Centre (RDC). The downstream stages (i.e. retailing, consumption and waste management) are the same regardless of the origin of the product and were omitted from the comparison. The impacts considered included potential to induce global warming and acidification as well as three inventory indicators (primary energy use, land use and water use). Qualitative data were collected in order to assess the consumer considerations of purchasing lettuce also during winter. ResultsImportation of Spanish field-grown lettuce into the UK during winter produced fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than lettuce produced in UK-protected systems at that time (0.4–0.5 vs. 1.5–3.7kg CO2-eq/kg lettuce in RDC). Refrigerated transport to the UK was an important element of the global warming potential associated with Spanish lettuce (42.5% of emissions), whilst energy for heating dominated the results in UK-protected cultivation (84.3% of emissions). Results for acidification were more variable and no overall trends are apparent. Results from qualitative social analysis revealed complex and multidimensional meanings of freshness and suggested that the most striking seasonal variation in vegetable/salad eating was a tendency to consume more salads in the summer and more cooked vegetables in the winter, thus suggesting that in-home consumption alone cannot explain the rise in winter imports of lettuce to the UK. DiscussionUK field-grown lettuce had the lowest overall environmental impact; however, those lettuces are only available in summer, so consumers therefore need to either accept the environmental impacts associated with eating lettuce in the winter or to switch consumption to another food product in the winter. When lettuces were field-grown in Spain and then transported by road to the UK, the overall impacts were similar to the UK field lettuces. The variation within farms of the same country employing different cultivation regimes and practices was bigger than between farms of different countries. ConclusionsThis paper has explored the environmental consequences of consuming lettuce year-round in the UK. Whilst recognising the small sample size, the comparative analysis of the different supply chains does suggest that seasonality can be an important variable when defining the best choice of lettuce from an environmental point of view. Recommendations and perspectivesFurther studies considering more production sites and product types are required to obtain conclusions whose general validity is clear and for different types of fresh produce. A clear distinction to be made in such studies is whether crops are produced in open fields or under protection. New characterisation methods are needed for environmental impacts derived from the use of key agricultural resources such as land and water. Social studies to investigate consumer preferences and the possibility of moving to more seasonal diets should be an integral part of these studies using samples composed of both urban and rural consumers and using a mixed methodology with both quantitative and qualitative components.
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Nearly 72% of paddy production, the staple food in Sri Lanka, is grown during the wet season in dry areas where water resources are already stressed. Climate change datasets for Sri Lanka were derived using outputs from the UK Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research Model (HadCM3) for selected scenarios for the 2050s, chosen from the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change Special Emission Scenarios Report. Water balance modelling and a geographical information system were used to model and map the impacts on irrigation requirements for wet season paddy. We examined two scenarios. The A2 scenario represents a heterogeneous, regionalised, market-led world, with high population growth, leading to a rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The B2 scenario follows a similar regionalised future but with more moderate population growth and more concern for the environment and local sustainability, and a slower rate of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.Results suggests that, during the wet season, average rainfall decreases by 17% (A2) and 9% (B2), with rains ending earlier, and potential evapotranspiration increasing by 3.5% (A2) and 3% (B2). Consequently, the average paddy irrigation water requirement increases by 23% (A2) and 13% (B2).Mapping with GIS highlights the importance of considering spatial variation. Climate change impacts on wet season paddy production are positive in the extreme south, confirming results of a previous study. However, the impacts are negative across most of Sri Lanka. The adaptations needed are different in the two regions. Furthermore, spatial variation points to a further adaptation; the transfer of some paddy production to positively affected areas, which would not have been so clear if only point modelling had been used.
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Advocates of ‘local food’ claim it serves to reduce food miles and greenhouse gas emissions, improve food safety and quality, strengthen local economies and enhance social capital. We critically review the philosophical and scientific rationale for this assertion, and consider whether conventional scientific approaches can help resolve the debate. We conclude that food miles are a poor indicator of the environmental and ethical impacts of food production. Only through combining spatially explicit life cycle assessment with analysis of social issues can the benefits of local food be assessed. This type of analysis is currently lacking for nearly all food chains.
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We improved a process-oriented biogeochemical model of carbon and nitrogen cycling in grasslands and tested it against in situ measurements of biomass and CO2 and CH4 fluxes at five European grassland sites. The new version of the model (PASIM) calculates the growth and senescence of aboveground vegetation biomass accounting for sporadic removals when the grassland is cut and for continuous removals when it is grazed. Limitations induced by high leaf area index (LAI), soil water deficits and aging of leaves are also included. We added to this a simple empirical formulation to account for the detrimental impact on vegetation of trampling and excreta by grazing animals. Finally, a more realistic methane emission module than is currently used was introduced on the basis of the quality of the animals' diet. Evaluation of this improved version of PASIM is performed at (1) Laqueuille, France, on grassland continuously grazed by cattle with two plots of intensive and extensive grazing intensities, (2) Oensingen, Switzerland, on cut grassland with two fertilized and nonfertilized plots, and (3) Carlow, Ireland, on grassland that is both cut and grazed by cattle during the growing season. In addition, we compared the modeled animal CH4 emissions with in situ measurements on cattle for two grazing intensities at the grazed grassland site of Laqueuille. Altogether, when all improvements to the PASIM model are included, we found that the new parameterizations resulted into a better fit to the observed seasonal cycle of biomass and of measured CO2 and CH4 fluxes. However, the large uncertainties in measurements of biomass and LAI make simulation of biomass dynamics difficult to make. Also simulations for cut grassland are better than for grazed swards. This work paves the way for simulating greenhouse gas fluxes over grasslands in a spatially explicit manner, in order to quantify and understand the past, present and future role of grasslands in the greenhouse gas budget of the European continent.
Article
Biomass crops mitigate carbon emissions by both fossil fuel substitution and sequestration of carbon in the soil. We grew Miscanthus x giganteus for 16 years at a site in southern Ireland to (i) compare methods of propagation, (ii) compare response to fertilizer application and quantify nutrient offtakes, (iii) measure long-term annual biomass yields, (iv) estimate carbon sequestration to the soil and (v) quantify the carbon mitigation by the crop. There was no significant difference in the yield between plants established from rhizome cuttings or by micro-propagation. Annual off-takes of N and P were easily met by soil reserves, but soil K reserves were low in unfertilized plots. Potassium deficiency was associated with lower harvestable yield. Yields increased for 5 years following establishment but after 10 years showed some decline which could not be accounted for by the climate driven growth model MISCANMOD. Measured yields were normalized to estimate both autumn (at first frost) and spring harvests (15 March of the subsequent year). Average autumn and spring yields over the 15 harvest years were 13.4?1.1 and 9.0?0.7 t DW ha?1 yr?1 respectively. Below ground biomass in February 2002 was 20.6?4.6 t DW ha?1. Miscanthus derived soil organic carbon sequestration detected by a change in 13C signal was 8.9?2.4 t C ha?1 over 15 years. We estimate total carbon mitigation by this crop over 15 years ranged from 5.2 to 7.2 t C ha?1 yr?1 depending on the harvest time.
Article
Jerome believed that the task of the commentator was to convey what others have said, not to advance his own interpretations. However, an examination of his commentaries on the Prophets shows that their contents are arranged so as to construct a powerful, but tacit, position of authority for their compiler. By juxtaposing Jewish and Greek Christian interpretations as he does, Jerome places himself in the position of arbiter over both exegetical traditions. But because he does not explicitly assert his own authority, he can maintain a stance of humility appropriate for a monk. Here, Jerome may have been a more authentic representative of the tradition of Origen than was his rival, for all that he was willing to abjure Origen's theology.
Conference Paper
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from livestock production systems arise both directly on farm and indirectly from bought-in product. Ireland is an unusual country with respect to GHG emissions because it has a small human population and a large farm animal population, giving rise to a large per capita emission. Any attempt to manage the emissions from the major sources on farm should be assessed in terms of whether the emissions burden is reduced or simply transferred to another part of the production system. Life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology offers a framework for systems analysis and was applied to livestock production systems to quantify emissions holistically. The average emission calculated for the dairy system was 1.5 kg CO2 eq. kg ECM. The main contributors were: enteric fermentation (49 %), fertiliser (22 %), concentrates (13%), dung management (11 %) and diesel/electricity (5 %). The average emission recorded for the beef system was 11.9 kg CO2 kg LW yr-1 and for the sheep system was 10.0 kg CO2 kg LW yr-1. Analysis revealed that the whole system has to be considered in order to identify legitimate reduction strategies, and that having considered the larger emission contributors it is important to examine the smaller ones for amplifying and attenuating effects. The use of LCA methodology for this work has proven advantageous for estimating the potential effects of changing management to attain reductions in GHG emissions from the average dairy, suckler-beef and sheep production systems in Ireland.
Article
World soils have been a source of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the dawn of settled agriculture, which began about 10 millennia ago. Most agricultural soils have lost 30% to 75% of their antecedent soil organic carbon (SOC) pool or 30 to 40 t C ha-1. The magnitude of loss is often more in soils prone to accelerated erosion and other degradative processes. On a global scale, CO2-C emissions since 1850 are estimated at 270 ± 30 giga ton (billion ton or Gt) from fossil fuel combustion compared with 78 ± 12 Gt from soils. Consequently, the SOC pool in agricultural soils is much lower than their potential capacity. Furthermore, depletion of the SOC pool also leads to degradation in soil quality and declining agronomic/biomass productivity. Therefore, conversion to restorative land uses (e.g., afforestation, improved pastures) and adoption of recommended management practices (RMP) can enhance SOC and improve soil quality. Important RMP for enhancing SOC include conservation tillage, mulch farming, cover crops, integrated nutrient management including use of manure and compost, and agroforestry. Restoration of degraded/desertified soils and ecosystems is an important strategy. The rate of SOC sequestration, ranging from 100 to 1000 kg ha-1 year-1, depends on climate, soil type, and site-specific management. Total potential of SOC sequestration in the United States of 144 to 432 Mt year-1 (288 Mt year-1) comprises 45 to 98 Mt in cropland, 13 to 70 Mt in grazing land, and 25 to 102 Mt in forestland. The global potential of SOC sequestration is estimated at 0.6 to 1.2 Gt C year-1, comprising 0.4 to 0.8 Gt C year-1 through adoption of RMP on cropland (1350 Mha), and 0.01 to 0.03 Gt C year-1 on irrigated soils (275 Mha), and 0.01 to 0.3 Gt C year-1 through improvements of rangelands and grasslands (3700 Mha). In addition, there is a large potential of C sequestration in biomass in forest plantations, short rotation woody perennials, and so on. The attendant improvement in soil quality with increase in SOC pool size has a strong positive impact on agronomic productivity and world food security. An increase in the SOC pool within the root zone by 1 t C ha-1 year-1 can enhance food production in developing countries by 30 to 50 Mt year-1 including 24 to 40 Mt year-1 of cereal and legumes, and 6 to 10 Mt year-1 of roots and tubers. Despite the enormous challenge of SOC sequestration, especially in regions of warm and arid climates and predominantly resource-poor farmers, it is a truly a win-win strategy. While improving ecosystem services and ensuring sustainable use of soil resources, SOC sequestration also mitigates global warming by offsetting fossil fuel emissions and improving water quality by reducing nonpoint source pollution.
Article
The large boreal peatland ecosystems sequester carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere due to a low oxygen pressure in waterlogged peat. Consequently they are sinks for CO2 and strong emitters of CH4. Drainage and cultivation of peatlands allows oxygen to enter the soil, which initiates decomposition of the stored organic material, and in turn CO2 and N2O emissions increase while CH4 emissions decrease. Compared to undrained peat, draining of organic soils for agricultural purposes increases the emissions of greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, and N2O) by roughly 1t CO2 equivalents/ha per year. Although farmed organic soils in most European countries represent a minor part of the total agricultural area, these soils contribute significantly to national greenhouse gas budgets. Consequently, farmed organic soils are potential targets for policy makers in search of socially acceptable and economically cost-efficient measures to mitigate climate gas emissions from agriculture. Despite a scarcity of knowledge about greenhouse gas emissions from these soils, this paper addresses the emissions and possible control of the three greenhouse gases by different managements of organic soils. More precise information is needed regarding the present trace gas fluxes from these soils, as well as predictions of future emissions under alternative management regimes, before any definite policies can be devised.
Article
A life cycle assessment (LCA) type method was used to quantify greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions from Irish suckler-beef production. The methodology was used as a systems analysis tool to quantify GHG emissions from a typical Irish beef production system and to evaluate a number of alternative management scenarios. The LCA methodology can be used to decide whether a management strategy will reduce GHG emissions or transfer them elsewhere in the emission basket. Scenarios were developed that examined using both beef-bred animals (Charolais, Simmental and Limousin) and dairy-bred animals (Holstein–Fresian). By scaling total GHG emissions relative to a functional unit (FU) of live weight per year (kg CO2 kg LW yr−1), it was possible to estimate both the emissions and the potential for emissions reduction by adopting alternative management. The typical suckler-beef system was estimated to produce 11.26 kg CO2 LW yr−1. For beef-bred animals the cow contributed a large amount to the total emissions whereas for dairy-bred beef production the allocation from the cow was much less. In terms of dietary supplementation for GHG emissions reduction, a broad range of supplement combinations were evaluated and showed no major reduction potential compared to, or within, the grass-dominated system.
Article
Reducing the energy derived from fossil fuels within agricultural systems has important implications for decreasing atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases, thus assisting the arrest of global warming. The identification of crop production methods that maximise energy efficiency and minimise greenhouse gas emissions is vital. Sugar beet is grown in a variety of locations and under a variety of agronomic conditions within the UK. This study identified thirteen production scenarios, representative of over 90% of the UK beet crop, which included five soil types, nine fertiliser regimes and nine crop protection strategies. The fossil energy input, the overall energy efficiency and the global warming potential (GWP) of each production scenario was assessed. This study did not consider the processing of the beet to extract sugar.
Article
Potential dynamics of agricultural crop sown area has attracted a wide range of attention from numerous researchers due to its ecological and socio-economic implications. This paper describes a method to develop and implement an integrated model to dynamically simulate future changes in sown areas of the world's major crops (rice, maize, wheat and soybean) at a global scale. The general hypothesis of this study is that crop sown area change is directly linked with farmer decisions on crop choice, and what kind of crop to be cultivated is highly dependent on the random utility of available crops. The modeling approach is based on a crop choice model, which is a Multinomial Logit Model and used to model farmer crop choice decisions among a variety of available alternatives by using an optimization approach. The assessment of model performance by comparing model estimates with FAO statistical data (2001-2003) and MODIS land cover product (2001) indicates its reliability and dignity for addressing the complicated dynamic change of agricultural land use change at present and capability for long-term scenario investigation and applications for the future. From model simulation for crop sown area change during 2005-2035 in different regions in the world, global potential cropping patterns of major crops can be interpreted. Moreover, the results present that the change rates and trajectories of crops in different regions show a great variation over time and space. This study is an attempt of detecting future sown area change at a global level by using a simplified approach along with some assumptions. Although some uncertainty remains in the model, the outcomes can help to understand and explain the causes, locations, consequences and trajectories of land-use change, and provide a great support service for land-use planning and policy-making activities.
Article
Commodity-specific estimates of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Canadian agriculture are required in order to identify the most efficient GHG mitigation measures. In this paper, the methodology from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for estimating bovine GHG emissions, for census years from 1981 to 2001, was applied to the Canadian beef industry. This analysis, which is based on several adaptations of IPCC methodology already done for the Canadian dairy industry, includes the concept of a beef crop complex, the land base that feeds the beef population, and the use of recommendations for livestock feed rations and fertilizer application rates to down-scale the national area totals of each crop, regardless of the use of that crop, to the feed requirements of the Canada’s beef population. It shows how high energy feeds are reducing enteric methane emissions by displacing high roughage diets. It also calculates an emissions intensity indicator based on the total weight of live beef cattle destined for market. While total GHG from Canadian beef production have increased from 25 to 32 Tg of CO2 equiv. between 1981 and 2001, this increase was mainly driven by expansion of the Canadian cattle industry. The emission intensity indicator showed that between 1981 and 2001, the Canadian beef industry GHG emissions per kg of live animal weight produced for market decreased from 16.4 to 10.4 kg of CO2 equiv.
Article
While previous studies have focused on impacts of average climate change on Russian agriculture and water resources, this study takes into account the impact of changing frequency and spatial heterogeneity of extreme climate events, and the reliance of most of Russia on a few food producing regions. We analyze impacts of the IPCC A2 and B2 climate scenarios with the use of the Global Assessment of Security (GLASS) model (containing the Global Agro-Ecological Zones (GAEZ) crop production model and the Water-Global Assessment and Prognosis (WaterGAP 2) water resources model). As in previous studies we find that decreased crop production in some Russian regions can be compensated by increased production in others resulting in relatively small average changes. However, a different perspective on future risk to agriculture is gained by taking into account a change in frequency of extreme climate events. Under climate normal conditions it is estimated that “food production shortfalls” (a year in which potential production of the most important crops in a region is below 50% of its average climate normal production, taking into account production in food-exporting regions) occur roughly 1–3 years in each decade. This frequency will double in many of the main crop growing areas in the 2020s, and triple in the 2070s. The effects of these shortfalls are likely to propagate throughout Russia because of the higher likelihood of shortfalls occurring in many crop export regions in the same year, and because of the dependence of most Russian regions on food imports from a relatively few main crop growing regions. We estimate that approximately 50 million people currently live in regions that experience one or more shortfalls each decade. This number may grow to 82–139 million in the 2070s. The assessment of climate impacts on water resources indicates an increase in average water availability in Russia, but also a significantly increased frequency of high runoff events in much of central Russia, and more frequent low runoff events in the already dry crop growing regions in the South. These results suggest that the increasing frequency of extreme climate events will pose an increasing threat to the security of Russia's food system and water resources.
Article
Carbon labels inform consumers about the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) released during the production and consumption of goods, including food. In the future consumer and legislative responses to carbon labels may favour goods with lower emissions, and thereby change established supply chains. This may have unintended consequences.We present the carbon footprint of three horticultural goods of different origins supplied to the United Kingdom market: lettuce, broccoli and green beans. Analysis of these footprints enables the characterisation of three different classes of vulnerability which are related to: transport, national economy and supply chain specifics.There is no simple relationship between the characteristics of an exporting country and its vulnerability to the introduction of a carbon label. Geographically distant developing countries with a high level of substitutable exports to the UK are most vulnerable. However, many developing countries have low vulnerability as their main exports are tropical crops which would be hard to substitute with local produce.In the short term it is unlikely that consumers will respond to carbon labels in such a way that will have major impacts in the horticultural sector. Labels which require contractual reductions in GHG emissions may have greater impacts in the short term.
Article
This paper evaluates the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of beef produced under different management systems and compares these results with the estimated biophysical capital alteration of these same systems. The environmental impacts of a specific intensive US feedlot system and a traditional African pastoral system are calculated using a methodology that includes the major land-use and energy-related emissions. Although assessments of carbon dioxide emissions find much greater impacts related to the US feedlot mode, the methane intensity of the pastoral mode is much larger because of the lower productivity of these systems. It is found that when indirect sources, which include emissions from fossil fuels and foregone carbon storage on appropriated land, are considered as well as emissions from enteric fermentation and wastes, the social costs of the feedlot system at 15 kg CO2 equivalent/kg beef are more than double that of the pastoralist system. Accordingly, the results of the more complete greenhouse gas emissions analysis were found to converge somewhat with the biophysical capital alteration approach in this example, although it is also argued that the entropy-based environmental indicators may have limited use in evaluating agro-ecosystems' contribution to climate change. Given an assumed, albeit uncertain, climate change impact value, a tax on beef production of about 9% of the unit price would represent the upper limit of the shadow costs of the associated greenhouse gas emissions flux from feedlot systems as estimated here, and a central value would correspond to a tax of about 4%.
Article
Agricultural practices contribute to emissions of the greenhouse gases CO2, CH4 and N2O. The aim of this study was to determine and discuss the aggregate greenhouse gas emission (CO2, CH4 and N2O) from two different farming systems in southern Germany. Farm A consisted of 30.4 ha fields (mean fertilization rate 188 kg N per ha), 1.8 ha meadows, 12.4 ha set-aside land and 28.6 adult beef steers (year-round indoor stock keeping). Farm B followed the principles of organic farming (neither synthetic fertilizers nor pesticides were used) and it consisted of 31.3 ha fields, 7 ha meadows, 18.2 ha pasture, 5.5 ha set-aside land and a herd of 35.6 adult cattle (grazing period 6 months). The integrated assessment of greenhouse gas emissions included those from fields, pasture, cattle, cattle waste management, fertilizer production and consumption of fossil fuels. Soil N2O emissions were estimated from 25 year-round measurements on differently managed fields. Expressed per hectare farm area, the aggregate emission of greenhouse gases was 4.2 and 3.0 Mg CO2 equivalents for farms A and B, respectively. Nitrous oxide emissions (mainly from soils) contributed the major part (about 60%) of total greenhouse gas emissions in both farming systems. Methane emissions (mainly from cattle and cattle waste management) were approximately 25% and CO2 emissions were lowest (circa 15%). Mean emissions related to crop production (emissions from fields, fertilizer production, and the consumption of fossil fuels for field management and drying of crops) was 4.4 and 3.2 Mg CO2 equivalents per hectare field area for farms A and B, respectively. On average, 2.53% of total N input by synthetic N fertilizers, organic fertilizers and crop residues were emitted as N2O–N. Total annual emissions per cattle unit (live weight of 500 kg) from enteric fermentation and storage of cattle waste were about 25% higher for farm A (1.6 Mg CO2 equivalents) than farm B (1.3 Mg CO2 equivalents). Taken together, these results indicated that conversion from conventional to organic farming led to reduced emissions per hectare, but yield-related emissions were not reduced.
Article
This article discusses the carbon accounting and carbon-labelling schemes being developed to address growing concerns over climate change. Its particular concern is their impact on small stakeholders, especially low-income countries. The popular belief that trade is by definition problematic is not true; carbon efficiencies elsewhere in the supply chain may more than offset emissions from transportation. Indeed, low-income countries may offer important opportunities for carbon emission reductions because of their favourable climatic conditions and use of low energy-intensive production techniques. However, their effective inclusion in labelling schemes will require innovative solutions to provide low-cost data collection and certification. Copyright (c) The Authors 2009. Journal compilation (c) 2009 Overseas Development Institute..
Article
Biomass crops mitigate carbon emissions by both fossil fuel substitution and sequestration of carbon in the soil. We grew Miscanthus x giganteus for 16 years at a site in southern Ireland to (i) compare methods of propagation, (ii) compare response to fertilizer application and quantify nutrient offtakes, (iii) measure long-term annual biomass yields, (iv) estimate carbon sequestration to the soil and (v) quantify the carbon mitigation by the crop. There was no significant difference in the yield between plants established from rhizome cuttings or by micro-propagation. Annual off-takes of N and P were easily met by soil reserves, but soil K reserves were low in unfertilized plots. Potassium deficiency was associated with lower harvestable yield. Yields increased for 5 years following establishment but after 10 years showed some decline which could not be accounted for by the climate driven growth model MISCANMOD. Measured yields were normalized to estimate both autumn (at first frost) and spring harvests (15 March of the subsequent year). Average autumn and spring yields over the 15 harvest years were 13.4±1.1 and 9.0±0.7 t DW ha−1 yr−1 respectively. Below ground biomass in February 2002 was 20.6±4.6 t DW ha−1. Miscanthus derived soil organic carbon sequestration detected by a change in 13C signal was 8.9±2.4 t C ha−1 over 15 years. We estimate total carbon mitigation by this crop over 15 years ranged from 5.2 to 7.2 t C ha−1 yr−1 depending on the harvest time. EU JOUB-0069 / AIR-CT92-0294