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About this book

Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Dairy Farms presents an innovative environmental proposal. While chiefly focusing on dairy farms, the environmental solution it describes is applicable to the entire livestock sector. The book is divided into five chapters, the first of which addresses the carbon footprint of dairy farms. Chapter two provides an overview of the animal production system, focusing on the physiology of the ruminant stomach and the greenhouse gases emitted by dairy cows. In turn, the third chapter covers dairy farm systems, explaining both intensive and extensive husbandry systems. The book’s final two chapters present the-state-of-art in CO2 capture, and describe a new and innovative CO2-RFP strategy.
Given its scope, the book will be of interest to chemists, biologists, biotechnologists, and researchers active in agriculture and food-related areas, as well as those working in the food and dairy industry.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Sustainability Challenge of Dairy Livestock Systems

In this chapter, the authors describe the current situation of the global dairy livestock industry under the influence and challenge of the commitments of the so-called Paris Agreement. Firstly, the key points of the Agreement affecting the livestock and dairy systems are discussed within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. Next, a detailed analysis of the evolution of the activity and the greenhouse gas emissions of the industry is presented. Finally, a summary of current environmental solutions and bioeconomy alternatives will contribute to enriching the discussion.
Jorge Zafrilla, Ángela García-Alaminos, Fabio Monsalve

Chapter 2. The Ruminant: Life History and Digestive Physiology of a Symbiotic Animal

Ruminants are the main pillar of our animal stock, and were crucial to the process of human Neolithization, as the first species to be domesticated for husbandry. They are an important element of the world’s economy and cultural heritage, and also play a significant role in promoting biodiversity within the habitats they occupy. They have evolved a digestive system that relies entirely on a symbiotic relationship with micro-organisms, most of their energy comes from the end-products of microbial digestion, enabling ruminants to make use of the plant cell wall, which is something that no other vertebrate can do to such an extent. This, together with an efficient mechanism of nitrogen recycling, converts the ruminant into an efficient animal able to subsist on plant fibre, one of the most abundant organic resources in nature. Ruminants also have dental and behavioural (rumination) adaptations to comminute food and so facilitate the activity of ruminal micro-organisms, and very long intestines and caeca to increase the time food is exposed to enzymatic digestion and absorption. Brief descriptions of food energy losses and the main metabolic paths of the transformation of dietary carbohydrates, proteins and lipids are given here. Food digestion, mainly of fibre, comes at the cost of gas emissions, especially methane, which reduce food use efficiency and contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief overview of the ruminant animal, its taxonomic diversity and life history traits, the relevance of domestication, and its adaptations to the use of plant-based diets and digestive physiology, in order to gain a better understanding of the relationships between diet and gas and solid emissions. We focus on the ruminant over monogastric species for two reasons: (i) the greater biomass contribution of ruminants to livestock, and (ii) the very complex ruminant digestive system, which includes both foregut and hindgut enteric fermentation, while monogastric species have only hindgut fermentation. Comments on dietary components and their metabolic transformations refer to roughage natural diets, rather than concentrate or supplemented diets. Although in many cases these are equivalent, we remark the importance of roughage diets because they have been the driver of the evolutionary adaptation of the ruminant symbiotic digestive system, and because of the importance of the use of roughage resources in reducing the carbon footprint of these species as compared to concentrate feeds, the production of which is high in carbon.
Francisco Javier Pérez-Barbería

Chapter 3. Husbandry: Milk Production

This chapter briefly describes the production systems of dairy farms, and in addition, the most conventionally used milking processes and operating models are discussed. After that, the constructive elements and the required facilities for the development of dairy farm activity are explained. Finally, the management and treatment processes of the waste generated in these farms are presented, pointing out the best available techniques and their most commonly used methodologies to mitigate environmental impact, with a perspective of the new most promising emergent reusing dairy wastes.
Abdessamad Gueddari, Jesús Canales Vázquez

Chapter 4. Quick Fire Set of Questions About CO2 that Need to Be Answered

The main aim of this chapter is to update the readership on different strategies that have been designed, are in development or have been proposed for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere. This chapter does not follow the structure of the book. The authors expect that a shift in the harmonised style of the book will facilitate reading. With the help of a quick set of fire questions, the harmlessness of the CO2 molecule, removal strategies, capture and sequestration, and its direct transformation into other useful products are discussed in the chapter.
Carlos Alonso-Moreno, Santiago García-Yuste

Chapter 5. The ‘CO2-RFP Strategy’

This chapter of the book presents the ‘CO2-RFP Strategy’ as an innovative proposal for carbon dioxide use in the husbandry industry. Firstly, an introduction is provided to the important concepts the reader will need to learn to navigate a ‘minimal path’ through the strategy. Secondly, estimates of CO2 and NH3 emissions from husbandry (livestock) production are derived to help understand the implications and the guiding principles of the strategy. Finally, the strategy is theoretically explained and discussed as a business model.
Carlos Alonso-Moreno, Santiago García-Yuste
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