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Published in: The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 2/2024

27-10-2023 | LCA FOR AGRICULTURE

Life cycle analysis of semi-intensive and intensive sheep milk production

Authors: Maria Ravani, Georgios Liantas, Maria V. Alvanou, Evangelia Tampaki, Ioanna Chatzigeorgiou, Ioannis Α. Giantsis, Georgios K. Ntinas

Published in: The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Issue 2/2024

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Abstract

Purpose

Dairy farming is accountable for increased greenhouse gas emissions. Life cycle analysis constitutes a valuable tool determining the primary factors that increase carbon footprint and other important environmental indicators, under the prism of developing methods to reduce the environmental impact of the farms. The purpose of this study was to measure and evaluate the carbon footprint of raw milk production of sheep farming in Western Macedonia, Greece, for the first time, along with the environmental performance of the farming systems.

Methods

To achieve this goal, data on inputs and outputs were collected from 10 semi-intensive and 3 intensive farming systems of the Regional Units of Florina and Kozani. Data were collected using specifically configured questionnaires, which included questions concerning the amounts of fossil fuels, water, feed, electricity used in a year, as well as farm demographics and outputs. Life cycle analysis was carried out using the SimaPro 9.4.0.2 software.

Results

According to the results, the average carbon footprint of semi-intensive dairy sheep farming in Western Macedonia was 3.41 kg of CO2-eq/kg of fat- and protein-corrected milk, while the corresponding value for intensive sheep farming was 3.58 kg of CO2-eq/kg of fat- and protein-corrected milk. The results also indicate that in intensive systems, higher milk production is not consistent with a larger environmental footprint compared to semi-intensive farming systems. The use of soybean and maize for animal feed, along with emissions from enteric fermentation, is the main hotspots in milk production process.

Conclusions

The above findings can contribute to drawing conclusions concerning the management of the production hotspots, in an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint of the farms and propose a more sustainable plan for rearing animals.

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Appendix
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Metadata
Title
Life cycle analysis of semi-intensive and intensive sheep milk production
Authors
Maria Ravani
Georgios Liantas
Maria V. Alvanou
Evangelia Tampaki
Ioanna Chatzigeorgiou
Ioannis Α. Giantsis
Georgios K. Ntinas
Publication date
27-10-2023
Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Published in
The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment / Issue 2/2024
Print ISSN: 0948-3349
Electronic ISSN: 1614-7502
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-023-02245-y

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