Title: Environmental impacts of different dairy farming systems in the Po Valley
Citation: JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION vol. 112 p. 91-102
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC95045
ISSN: 0959-6526
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652615012895
DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.09.062
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: An environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was performed to compare four typical milk production systems of the Po Valley: drinking milk (A); Parmigiano-Reggiano more intensive (B); Parmigiano-Reggiano less intensive (C) and Grana Padano (D). The input and output data were collected directly from the farmers with questionnaires. The results indicated that the total GHG emissions from the analysed farms, with biological allocation, were: 1.47, 1.35, 1.49 and 1.50 kg CO2 eq. kg-1 FPCM (Fat Protein Corrected Milk) for farm A, B, C and D respectively. Excluding Land Use Change (LUC) emissions and Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) sequestration, total GHG emissions were reduced to 1.02, 1.11, 1.26 and 1.20 kg CO2 eq. kg-1 FPCM for farm A, B, C and D respectively. These reductions were mostly due to the GHG emissions associated to the LUC from imported soybean meal, while the contribution of SOC sequestration to the total GHG emissions was found to be negligible. When LUC emissions from imported soybean meal were not included in the analysis, lower GHG emissions were associated to higher milk yield, feed self-sufficiency and feed efficiency. However, when LUC emissions were included in the analysis, the highest level of these parameters did not always lead to a reduction of the total GHG emissions because the higher use of maize silage was associated to an increase in the use of imported soymeal. The results of this LCA also indicated that marine eutrophication, freshwater eutrophication, non-renewable energy use and land occupation decreased with the level of intensification of the production system. Biodiversity loss, instead, increased if the milk yield per cow increased. We can conclude that the increase in productivity may cause trade-off between global impacts (such as GHG emissions) and local impacts (e.g. biodiversity and eutrophication).
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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