Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The environmental performance of milk production on a typical Portuguese dairy farm

Contents:

Author Info

  • Castanheira, É.G.
  • Dias, A.C.
  • Arroja, L.
  • Amaro, R.
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    The activities associated with raw milk production on dairy farms require an effective evaluation of their environmental impact. The present study evaluates the global environmental impacts associated with milk production on dairy farms in Portugal and identifies the processes that have the greatest environmental impact by using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. The main factors involved in milk production were included, namely: the dairy farm, maize silage, ryegrass silage, straw, concentrates, diesel and electricity. The results suggest that the major source of air and water emissions in the life cycle of milk is the production of concentrates. The activities carried out on dairy farms were the major source of nitrous oxides (from fuel combustion), ammonia, and methane (from manure management and enteric fermentation). Nevertheless, dairy farm activities, which include manure management, enteric fermentation and diesel consumption, make the greatest contributions to the categories of impact considered, with the exception of the abiotic depletion category, contributing to over 70% of the total global warming potential (1021.3 kg CO2 eq. per tonne of milk), 84% of the total photochemical oxidation potential (0.2 kg C2H4 eq. per tonne of milk), 70% of the total acidification potential (20.4 kg SO2 eq. per tonne of milk), and 41% of the total eutrophication potential (7.1 kg eq. per tonne of milk). The production of concentrates and maize silage are the major contributors to the abiotic depletion category, accounting for 35% and 28%, respectively, of the overall abiotic depletion potential (1.4 Sb eq. per tonne of milk). Based on this LCA case study, we recommend further work to evaluate some possible opportunities to improve the environmental performance of Portuguese milk production, namely: (i) implementing integrated solutions for manure recovery/treatment (e.g. anaerobic digestion) before its application to the soil as organic fertiliser during maize and ryegrass production; (ii) improving manure nutrient use efficiency in order to decrease the importation of nutrients; (iii) diversifying feeding crops, as the dependence on two annual forage crops is expected to lead to excessive soil mobilisation (and related impacts) and to insignificant carbon dioxide sequestration from the atmosphere; and (iv) changing the concentrate mixtures.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6T3W-50B5WFJ-1/2/7d45d384f10704a96a87007701f244d2
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Agricultural Systems.

    Volume (Year): 103 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 7 (September)
    Pages: 498-507

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:103:y:2010:i:7:p:498-507

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/agsy

    Related research

    Keywords: Cattle feed Dairy farm Environmental impact Life cycle assessment Milk production;

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Thomassen, M.A. & van Calker, K.J. & Smits, M.C.J. & Iepema, G.L. & de Boer, I.J.M., 2008. "Life cycle assessment of conventional and organic milk production in the Netherlands," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 96(1-3), pages 95-107, March.
    2. Casey, J.W. & Holden, N.M., 2005. "Analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from the average Irish milk production system," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 97-114, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:103:y:2010:i:7:p:498-507. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.