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Greenhouse gas emission intensities and economic efficiency in crop production: A systems analysis of 95 farms

Listed author(s):
  • Bonesmo, Helge
  • Skjelvåg, Arne Oddvar
  • Henry Janzen, H.
  • Klakegg, Ove
  • Tveito, Ole Einar
Registered author(s):

    To increase food production while mitigating climate change, cropping systems in the future will need to reduce greenhouse gas emission per unit of production. We conducted an analysis of 95 arable farms in Norway to calculate farm scale emissions of greenhouse gases, expressed both as CO2 eq per unit area, and CO2 eq per kg DM produced and to describe relationships between the farms’ GHG intensities and their economic efficiencies (gross margin). The study included: (1) design of a farm scale model for net GHG emission from crop production systems; (2) establishing a consistent farm scale data set for the farms with required soil, weather, and farm operation data; (3) a stochastic simulation of the variation in the sources of GHG emission intensities, and sensitivity analysis of selected parameters and equations on GHG emission intensities; and (4) describing relationships between GHG emission intensities and gross margins on farms. Among small seed and grain crops the variation in GHG emissions per kg DM was highest in oilseed (emission intensity at the 75th percentile level was 1.9 times higher than at the 25th percentile). For barley, oats, spring wheat, and winter wheat, emissions per kg DM at the 75th percentile levels were between 1.4 and 1.6 times higher than those at the 25th percentiles. Similar trends were observed for emissions per unit land area. Invariably soil N2O emission was the largest source of GHG emissions, accounting for almost half of the emissions. The second largest source was the off farm manufacturing of inputs (∼25%). Except for the oilseed crop, in which soil carbon (C) change contributed least, the on farm emissions due to fuel use contributed least to the total GHG intensities (∼10%). The soil C change contributed most to the variability in GHG emission intensities among farms in all crops, and among the sensitivity elasticities the highest one was related to environmental impacts on soil C change. The high variation in GHG intensities evident in our study implies the potential for significant mitigation of GHG emissions. The GHG emissions per kg DM (intensity) decreased with increasing gross margin in grain and oilseed crops, suggesting that crop producers have economic incentives to reduce GHG emissions.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Agricultural Systems.

    Volume (Year): 110 (2012)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 142-151

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:110:y:2012:i:c:p:142-151
    DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2012.04.001
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    1. Chen, Suyin & Zhang, Xiying & Sun, Hongyong & Ren, Tusheng & Wang, Yanmei, 2010. "Effects of winter wheat row spacing on evapotranpsiration, grain yield and water use efficiency," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 97(8), pages 1126-1132, August.
    2. Martin, Philip L., 2007. "Immigration and Agriculture (PowerPoint)," Agricultural Outlook Forum 2007 8037, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Outlook Forum.
    3. Richardson, James W. & Klose, Steven L. & Gray, Allan W., 2000. "An Applied Procedure For Estimating And Simulating Multivariate Empirical (Mve) Probability Distributions In Farm-Level Risk Assessment And Policy Analysis," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 32(02), August.
    4. Kym Anderson & Will Martin, 2009. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in Asia," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2611, December.
    5. Huang, Jikun & Rozelle, Scott & Martin, William J. & Liu, Yu, 2007. "Distortions to Agricultural Incentives in China," Agricultural Distortions Working Paper 48478, World Bank.
    6. Charles Raux, 2010. "The potential for CO2 emissions trading in transport: the case of personal vehicles and freight," Post-Print halshs-00566195, HAL.
    7. Beauchemin, Karen A. & Henry Janzen, H. & Little, Shannan M. & McAllister, Tim A. & McGinn, Sean M., 2010. "Life cycle assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from beef production in western Canada: A case study," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 103(6), pages 371-379, July.
    8. Hardaker, J. Brian & Lien, Gudbrand D., 2005. "Towards some principles of good practice for decision analysis in agriculture," 2005 Conference (49th), February 9-11, 2005, Coff's Harbour, Australia 137925, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
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