Advanced

Greenhouse Gas Emissions due to Dairy Farm Operations

Grigsby, Donald; Huang, Dingjun and Wei, Xuan (2011)
Department of Business Administration
Abstract
Abstract:
According to Skånemejerier executives, approximately 80% of greenhouse gas emissions occur on the farm. Public concern in greenhouse gas emissions has steadily grown over the past few years prompting inquiries about the amount of greenhouse gases are emitted by Skånemejerier during its course of business. The most common question received relates to the amount of greenhouse gas emitted in the production of organic milk versus regular milk. Since there was no readily available answer for Skånemejerier to offer its customers, the Grigsby, Huang & Wei (GHW) Group accepted the opportunity to research and answer this question. It was initially thought that the answer to that question would be straightforward and intuitive; it was... (More)
Abstract:
According to Skånemejerier executives, approximately 80% of greenhouse gas emissions occur on the farm. Public concern in greenhouse gas emissions has steadily grown over the past few years prompting inquiries about the amount of greenhouse gases are emitted by Skånemejerier during its course of business. The most common question received relates to the amount of greenhouse gas emitted in the production of organic milk versus regular milk. Since there was no readily available answer for Skånemejerier to offer its customers, the Grigsby, Huang & Wei (GHW) Group accepted the opportunity to research and answer this question. It was initially thought that the answer to that question would be straightforward and intuitive; it was not. However, based on analysis of current research literature it was found that at this time there is no statistical net difference in the emissions of greenhouse gasses between conventional and organic dairy farms; thus, the greenhouse gasses, or “CO2” in layman’s terms is statistically the same for organic and regular milk. The parsing of words in that answer is indicative to the complexities of the issue and should not be construed as to hold true for all farm management scenarios and locations. The take away from this thesis study is that the area which holds the most potential for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions at the farm gate is efficient farm management practices; consideration should also be given to the supply chain and the co-production relationship between the dairy and the beef sectors as these have the potential to offset any gains made on the dairy farm. In addition to the research literature analysis, a simplified case study was undertaken as a means to gather further insight into the issue that may not have been apparent with a literature analysis alone. It was almost immediately apparent that there would be some serious limitations to the case study due to the limited sample size and relative size of the two farms studied. However, it did prove to add greater insight into the calculation process and the sensitivity of the results to the variations in the data. Another consequence of the case study was that it required the GHW Group to become very familiar with the topic of Dry Matter Intake (DMI) as it is not only significant in the emission of CH4 and N2O, it is also an important factor in animal health and optimizing milk production. The two farms chosen by Skånemejerier executives to visit were Wanås (organic farm) and Lilla Kyrkhult (conventional farm). The data collected was determined from parameters found in existing research literature; however, no calculation process for the actual calculation of the emissions was given. Valuable guidance was given to the group by Maria Henriksson of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Alnarp, Sweden. From our interview and subsequent email communications with her, we learned that there is a lack of consensus among current researchers and academics as to which models and emission factors are best to use in the mapping of carbon footprints. When several models have been implemented using emission factors that vary depending on what country or region is under consideration, it becomes apparent why there is a large variation among the results of existing research literature. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Grigsby, Donald; Huang, Dingjun and Wei, Xuan
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
greenhouse gas emissions, SLU, dairy cow, dairy farm, dairy, CH4, N2O, CO2, carbon footprint, milk, organic milk, GHG, Management of enterprises, Företagsledning, management
language
Swedish
id
2006989
date added to LUP
2011-06-03
date last changed
2012-11-12 11:37:48
@misc{2006989,
  abstract     = {Abstract:
According to Skånemejerier executives, approximately 80% of greenhouse gas emissions occur on the farm. Public concern in greenhouse gas emissions has steadily grown over the past few years prompting inquiries about the amount of greenhouse gases are emitted by Skånemejerier during its course of business. The most common question received relates to the amount of greenhouse gas emitted in the production of organic milk versus regular milk. Since there was no readily available answer for Skånemejerier to offer its customers, the Grigsby, Huang & Wei (GHW) Group accepted the opportunity to research and answer this question. It was initially thought that the answer to that question would be straightforward and intuitive; it was not. However, based on analysis of current research literature it was found that at this time there is no statistical net difference in the emissions of greenhouse gasses between conventional and organic dairy farms; thus, the greenhouse gasses, or “CO2” in layman’s terms is statistically the same for organic and regular milk. The parsing of words in that answer is indicative to the complexities of the issue and should not be construed as to hold true for all farm management scenarios and locations. The take away from this thesis study is that the area which holds the most potential for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions at the farm gate is efficient farm management practices; consideration should also be given to the supply chain and the co-production relationship between the dairy and the beef sectors as these have the potential to offset any gains made on the dairy farm. In addition to the research literature analysis, a simplified case study was undertaken as a means to gather further insight into the issue that may not have been apparent with a literature analysis alone. It was almost immediately apparent that there would be some serious limitations to the case study due to the limited sample size and relative size of the two farms studied. However, it did prove to add greater insight into the calculation process and the sensitivity of the results to the variations in the data. Another consequence of the case study was that it required the GHW Group to become very familiar with the topic of Dry Matter Intake (DMI) as it is not only significant in the emission of CH4 and N2O, it is also an important factor in animal health and optimizing milk production. The two farms chosen by Skånemejerier executives to visit were Wanås (organic farm) and Lilla Kyrkhult (conventional farm). The data collected was determined from parameters found in existing research literature; however, no calculation process for the actual calculation of the emissions was given. Valuable guidance was given to the group by Maria Henriksson of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Alnarp, Sweden. From our interview and subsequent email communications with her, we learned that there is a lack of consensus among current researchers and academics as to which models and emission factors are best to use in the mapping of carbon footprints. When several models have been implemented using emission factors that vary depending on what country or region is under consideration, it becomes apparent why there is a large variation among the results of existing research literature.},
  author       = {Grigsby, Donald and Huang, Dingjun and Wei, Xuan},
  keyword      = {greenhouse gas emissions,SLU,dairy cow,dairy farm,dairy,CH4,N2O,CO2,carbon footprint,milk,organic milk,GHG,Management of enterprises,Företagsledning,management},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Greenhouse Gas Emissions due to Dairy Farm Operations},
  year         = {2011},
}