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Baseline and greenhouse-gas emissions in extensive livestock enterprises, with a case study of feeding lipid to beef cattle

Herd, Robert M. and Oddy, V. Hutton and Bray, Steven (2015) Baseline and greenhouse-gas emissions in extensive livestock enterprises, with a case study of feeding lipid to beef cattle. Animal Production Science, 55 (2). p. 159. ISSN 1836-0939

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN14222

Publisher URL: http://www.publish.csiro.au/?paper=AN14222

Abstract

For accurate calculation of reductions in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions, methodologies under the Australian Government's Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) depend on a valid assessment of the baseline and project emissions. Life-cycle assessments (LCAs) clearly show that enteric methane emitted from the rumen of cattle and sheep is the major source of GHG emissions from livestock enterprises. Where a historic baseline for a CFI methodology for livestock is required, the use of simulated data for cow-calf enterprises at six sites in southern Australia demonstrated that a 5-year rolling emission average will provide an acceptable trade off in terms of accuracy and stability, but this is a much shorter time period than typically used for LCA. For many CFI livestock methodologies, comparative or pair-wise baselines are potentially more appropriate than historic baselines. A case study of lipid supplementation of beef cows over winter is presented. The case study of a control herd of 250 cows used a comparative baseline derived from simple data on livestock numbers and class of livestock to quantify the emission abatement. Compared with the control herd, lipid supplementation to cows over winter increased livestock productivity, total livestock production and enterprise GHG emissions from 990 t CO2-e to 1022 t CO2-e. Energy embodied in the supplement and extra diesel used in transporting the supplement diminished the enteric-methane abatement benefit of lipid supplementation. Reducing the cow herd to 238 cows maintained the level of livestock production of the control herd and reduced enterprise emissions to 938 t CO2-e, but was not cost effective under the assumptions of this case study.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Keywords:Carbon Farming Initiative CFI methane carbon emission cattle emission control food supplementation greenhouse gas life cycle analysis lipid livestock farming meat Australia Bos Ovis aries
Subjects:Animal culture > Cattle
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Deposited On:18 Mar 2015 06:06
Last Modified:18 Mar 2015 06:06

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