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RSS FeedsSustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3658: Carbon Footprint of Milk from Pasture-Based Dairy Farms in Azores, Portugal (Sustainability)

 
 

13 october 2018 15:00:05

 
Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 3658: Carbon Footprint of Milk from Pasture-Based Dairy Farms in Azores, Portugal (Sustainability)
 




The dairy sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Pasture-based dairy production is sometimes credited as environmentally friendlier but is less studied than more intensive production systems. Here we characterize and calculate the carbon footprint (CF), using life cycle assessment, of the “Vacas Felizes” pasture-based milk production system, in the Azores archipelago. Impacts were determined for multiple functional units: mass, energy and nutritional content, farm, area and animal. We performed multivariate analysis to assess the contribution of production parameters to the CF. Finally, we performed a literature review to compare these results with other production systems. Results show that emissions from enteric fermentation, concentrated feed production and (organic and mineral) fertilizer application are the three main sources of impact. Milk yield is a key production feature for the determination of emissions. The average CF is 0.83 kg CO2/kg raw milk. At each milk yield level, the farms are approximately homogeneous. Compared with other studies, “Vacas Felizes” milk has a lower CF than 80 (out of 84) published CFs and on average it is approximately 32% lower.


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17 viewsCategory: Ecology
 
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