A whole farm systems analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of 60 Tasmanian dairy farms
Christie, KM and Rawnsley, RP and Eckard, RJ, A whole farm systems analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of 60 Tasmanian dairy farms, Animal Feed Science and Technology: An International Scientific Journal, 166-167, (Jun) pp. 653-662. ISSN 0377-8401 (2011) [Refereed Article]
The Australian dairy industry contributes ¡1.6% of the nation¡¯s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, emitting an estimated 8.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents (t CO2e)/annum (DCC,2008). This study examined GHG emissions of 60 Tasmanian dairy farms using the Dairy Greenhouse gas Abatement Strategies (DGAS) calculator, which incorporates International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Australian inventory methodologies, algorithms and emission factors. Sources of GHG emissions including pre-farm embedded emissions associated with key farm inputs (i.e., grains/concentrates, forages and fertilizers) and on-farm emissions from CO2, CH4 and N2O are estimated by DGAS software. A detailed description
of GHG calculations and functionality of DGAS software are provided. Total farm GHG emissions of 60 Tasmanian dairy farms, as estimated with DGAS, ranged between 704 and 5839 t CO2e/annum, with a mean of 2811 t CO2e/annum. Linear regression analyses showed that 0.93 of the difference in total farm GHG emission was explained by milk production.
The estimated mean GHG emission intensity of milk of production was 1.04 kg CO2e/kg fat and protein corrected milk (FPCM; ranged between 0.83 and 1.39 t CO2e/t FPCM) with a standard deviation of 0.13. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis showed that feed conversion efficiency (kg FPCM/kg dry matter (DM) intake) and N based fertilizer application rate explained 0.60 of the difference in the GHG emissions due to milk production from these pastoral based dairy systems. Estimated per cow and per hectare emission intensity
was 6.9 ¡¾ 1.46 t CO2e/cow and 12.6 ¡¾ 4.37 t CO2e/ha, respectively. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis showed that DM intake per cow (t DM intake/cow/lactation) explained 0.86 of the variability in per cow GHG emissions intensity, while milk production/hectare (t FPCM/ha) explained 0.92 of the variability in per hectare GHG emission intensity. Given the influence that feed conversion efficiency and/or N based fertilizer application rates had
on all GHG emissions intensities, it is clear that these factors should be key target areas to lower the intensity of emissions associated with dairying in Tasmania.