Modelling alternative management scenarios of economic and environmental sustainability of beef finishing systems.

C Kamilaris, RJ Dewhurst, AS Sykes, Peter Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The livestock industry, and particularly beef production, is recognised as an important source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to climate change. The complexity of beef systems means that appropriate GHG mitigating strategies depend on local conditions, requiring tailored entry points to be identified and evaluated. Using Scotland as a case study, here we combine a bio-economic simulation model and farm-level carbon footprinting tool to study the environmental impact of a range of beef production scenarios, and trade-offs generated between mitigating emissions and increasing farm profitability. To measure the environmental impact of finishing duration, type and gender selection of beef fattening systems, emissions were grouped into five categories: (1) land and crops, (2) enteric emissions, (3) manure, (4) feed and bedding, and (5) fuel and electricity. Results suggest that more intensive shorter duration systems have the lowest environmental impact of all the systems investigated. However, medium duration (i.e. 18-24 months) pasture-based beef production systems in Scotland were found to achieve a balance between financial returns and environmental performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number119888
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume253
Early online date29 Dec 2019
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 29 Dec 2019

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Beef
Sustainable development
sustainability
Economics
environmental impact
Farms
Environmental impact
economics
modeling
greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gases
farm
profitability
production system
Manures
livestock
manure
pasture
electricity
gender

Keywords

  • Beef production systems
  • Greenhouse gas
  • Carbon footprint
  • Environmental modelling

Cite this

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title = "Modelling alternative management scenarios of economic and environmental sustainability of beef finishing systems.",
abstract = "The livestock industry, and particularly beef production, is recognised as an important source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to climate change. The complexity of beef systems means that appropriate GHG mitigating strategies depend on local conditions, requiring tailored entry points to be identified and evaluated. Using Scotland as a case study, here we combine a bio-economic simulation model and farm-level carbon footprinting tool to study the environmental impact of a range of beef production scenarios, and trade-offs generated between mitigating emissions and increasing farm profitability. To measure the environmental impact of finishing duration, type and gender selection of beef fattening systems, emissions were grouped into five categories: (1) land and crops, (2) enteric emissions, (3) manure, (4) feed and bedding, and (5) fuel and electricity. Results suggest that more intensive shorter duration systems have the lowest environmental impact of all the systems investigated. However, medium duration (i.e. 18-24 months) pasture-based beef production systems in Scotland were found to achieve a balance between financial returns and environmental performance.",
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N2 - The livestock industry, and particularly beef production, is recognised as an important source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to climate change. The complexity of beef systems means that appropriate GHG mitigating strategies depend on local conditions, requiring tailored entry points to be identified and evaluated. Using Scotland as a case study, here we combine a bio-economic simulation model and farm-level carbon footprinting tool to study the environmental impact of a range of beef production scenarios, and trade-offs generated between mitigating emissions and increasing farm profitability. To measure the environmental impact of finishing duration, type and gender selection of beef fattening systems, emissions were grouped into five categories: (1) land and crops, (2) enteric emissions, (3) manure, (4) feed and bedding, and (5) fuel and electricity. Results suggest that more intensive shorter duration systems have the lowest environmental impact of all the systems investigated. However, medium duration (i.e. 18-24 months) pasture-based beef production systems in Scotland were found to achieve a balance between financial returns and environmental performance.

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