Carbon footprint of grain crop production in China - based on farm survey data

M Yan, K Cheng, T Luo, Y Yan, G Pan, RM Rees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Quantifying the carbon footprint of crop production can help identify key options to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Using farm survey data from eastern China, the carbon footprints of three major grain crops (rice, wheat and maize) were assessed by quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions from individual inputs and farming operations with a full life cycle assessment methodology. The farm carbon footprint in terms of farm area was estimated to be 6.0 ± 0.1, 3.0 ± 0.2, and 2.3 ± 0.1 t CO2-eq ha 1, and the product carbon footprint in terms of grain produced was 0.80 ± 0.02, 0.66 ± 0.03, and 0.33 ± 0.02 t CO2-eq t 1 grain for rice, wheat and maize, respectively. Use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers contributed 44e79% and mechanical operations 8e15%, of the total carbon footprints. Irrigation and direct methane emission made a significant contribution by 19% and by 25%, on average respectively for rice production. However, irrigation was only responsible for 2e3% of the total carbon footprints in wheat and maize. The carbon footprints of wheat and maize production varied among climate regions, and this was explained largely by the differences in inputs of nitrogen fertilizers and mechanical operations to support crop management. Moreover, a significant decrease (22e28%) in the product carbon footprint both of wheat and maize was found in large sized farms, compared to smaller ones. This study demonstrated that carbon footprint of crop production could be affected by farm size and climate condition as well as crop management practices. Improving crop management practices by reducing nitrogen fertilizer use and developing large scaled farms with intensive farming could be strategic options to mitigate climate change in Chinese agriculture. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130 - 138
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume104
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 2015

Fingerprint

farm surveys
carbon footprint
grain crops
crop production
China
crop management
corn
wheat
carbon dioxide
irrigation
agriculture
rice
farms
life cycle assessment
intensive farming
farm area
farm size
greenhouse gases
methane
nitrogen fertilizers

Bibliographical note

2073821

Keywords

  • Carbon footprint
  • China's agriculture
  • Crop production
  • Greenhouse gas mitigation
  • Life cycle assessment

Cite this

Yan, M ; Cheng, K ; Luo, T ; Yan, Y ; Pan, G ; Rees, RM. / Carbon footprint of grain crop production in China - based on farm survey data. In: Journal of Cleaner Production. 2015 ; Vol. 104, No. 1. pp. 130 - 138.
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abstract = "Quantifying the carbon footprint of crop production can help identify key options to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Using farm survey data from eastern China, the carbon footprints of three major grain crops (rice, wheat and maize) were assessed by quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions from individual inputs and farming operations with a full life cycle assessment methodology. The farm carbon footprint in terms of farm area was estimated to be 6.0 ± 0.1, 3.0 ± 0.2, and 2.3 ± 0.1 t CO2-eq ha 1, and the product carbon footprint in terms of grain produced was 0.80 ± 0.02, 0.66 ± 0.03, and 0.33 ± 0.02 t CO2-eq t 1 grain for rice, wheat and maize, respectively. Use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers contributed 44e79{\%} and mechanical operations 8e15{\%}, of the total carbon footprints. Irrigation and direct methane emission made a significant contribution by 19{\%} and by 25{\%}, on average respectively for rice production. However, irrigation was only responsible for 2e3{\%} of the total carbon footprints in wheat and maize. The carbon footprints of wheat and maize production varied among climate regions, and this was explained largely by the differences in inputs of nitrogen fertilizers and mechanical operations to support crop management. Moreover, a significant decrease (22e28{\%}) in the product carbon footprint both of wheat and maize was found in large sized farms, compared to smaller ones. This study demonstrated that carbon footprint of crop production could be affected by farm size and climate condition as well as crop management practices. Improving crop management practices by reducing nitrogen fertilizer use and developing large scaled farms with intensive farming could be strategic options to mitigate climate change in Chinese agriculture. {\circledC} 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.",
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Carbon footprint of grain crop production in China - based on farm survey data. / Yan, M; Cheng, K; Luo, T; Yan, Y; Pan, G; Rees, RM.

In: Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 104, No. 1, 2015, p. 130 - 138.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Carbon footprint of grain crop production in China - based on farm survey data

AU - Yan, M

AU - Cheng, K

AU - Luo, T

AU - Yan, Y

AU - Pan, G

AU - Rees, RM

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N2 - Quantifying the carbon footprint of crop production can help identify key options to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Using farm survey data from eastern China, the carbon footprints of three major grain crops (rice, wheat and maize) were assessed by quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions from individual inputs and farming operations with a full life cycle assessment methodology. The farm carbon footprint in terms of farm area was estimated to be 6.0 ± 0.1, 3.0 ± 0.2, and 2.3 ± 0.1 t CO2-eq ha 1, and the product carbon footprint in terms of grain produced was 0.80 ± 0.02, 0.66 ± 0.03, and 0.33 ± 0.02 t CO2-eq t 1 grain for rice, wheat and maize, respectively. Use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers contributed 44e79% and mechanical operations 8e15%, of the total carbon footprints. Irrigation and direct methane emission made a significant contribution by 19% and by 25%, on average respectively for rice production. However, irrigation was only responsible for 2e3% of the total carbon footprints in wheat and maize. The carbon footprints of wheat and maize production varied among climate regions, and this was explained largely by the differences in inputs of nitrogen fertilizers and mechanical operations to support crop management. Moreover, a significant decrease (22e28%) in the product carbon footprint both of wheat and maize was found in large sized farms, compared to smaller ones. This study demonstrated that carbon footprint of crop production could be affected by farm size and climate condition as well as crop management practices. Improving crop management practices by reducing nitrogen fertilizer use and developing large scaled farms with intensive farming could be strategic options to mitigate climate change in Chinese agriculture. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

AB - Quantifying the carbon footprint of crop production can help identify key options to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Using farm survey data from eastern China, the carbon footprints of three major grain crops (rice, wheat and maize) were assessed by quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions from individual inputs and farming operations with a full life cycle assessment methodology. The farm carbon footprint in terms of farm area was estimated to be 6.0 ± 0.1, 3.0 ± 0.2, and 2.3 ± 0.1 t CO2-eq ha 1, and the product carbon footprint in terms of grain produced was 0.80 ± 0.02, 0.66 ± 0.03, and 0.33 ± 0.02 t CO2-eq t 1 grain for rice, wheat and maize, respectively. Use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers contributed 44e79% and mechanical operations 8e15%, of the total carbon footprints. Irrigation and direct methane emission made a significant contribution by 19% and by 25%, on average respectively for rice production. However, irrigation was only responsible for 2e3% of the total carbon footprints in wheat and maize. The carbon footprints of wheat and maize production varied among climate regions, and this was explained largely by the differences in inputs of nitrogen fertilizers and mechanical operations to support crop management. Moreover, a significant decrease (22e28%) in the product carbon footprint both of wheat and maize was found in large sized farms, compared to smaller ones. This study demonstrated that carbon footprint of crop production could be affected by farm size and climate condition as well as crop management practices. Improving crop management practices by reducing nitrogen fertilizer use and developing large scaled farms with intensive farming could be strategic options to mitigate climate change in Chinese agriculture. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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KW - Crop production

KW - Greenhouse gas mitigation

KW - Life cycle assessment

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DO - 10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.05.058

M3 - Article

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JO - Journal of Cleaner Production

JF - Journal of Cleaner Production

SN - 0959-6526

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ER -