Regional analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from USA dairy farms: A cradle to farm-gate assessment of the American dairy industry circa 2008

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Abstract

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were evaluated from crop production through the on-farm portion of the milk supply chain for five production regions in the USA derived from publicly available data and from 536 surveys of farm operations collected from dairy operations nationwide. The production weighted national average footprint at the farm gate was 1.23 kg carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per kg of fat and protein corrected milk (fat, 4%; protein 3.3%). Regional differences in GHG emissions per kg milk produced can be primarily traced to differences in production and management practices. Feed-to-milk conversion efficiency is shown to be the single most important explanatory variable, followed by choice of manure management technology. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, GHG emissions reduction opportunities exist across the spectrum of dairy management options. However, as with all decisions, it is important to weigh potential trade-offs with other environmental and economic impacts. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

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Thoma, G., Popp, J., Shonnard, D., Nutter, D., Matlock, M., Ulrich, R., … East, C. (2013). Regional analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from USA dairy farms: A cradle to farm-gate assessment of the American dairy industry circa 2008. International Dairy Journal, 31(1). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.idairyj.2012.09.010

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