The aim of the study was to analyze environmental impact of cow milk production in an alpine area through a cradle-to-farm-gate Life Cycle Assessment and to identify farming strategies that can improve environmental sustainability without negatively affecting profitability. Data were collected from farmers in 28 dairy farms in an Italian alpine valley. The production of 1 kg of fat protein corrected milk (FPCM) needed 3.18 m2 of land; land use on-farm was high because a large part of farm land consisted of pastures in the highland, used extensively during summer. Also the use of energy from non-renewable sources was high, 5.14 MJ kg FPCM-1 on average. Diesel for production and transportation of feed purchased off-farm was mainly used, especially concentrates which were entirely purchased. The average emission of greenhouse and acidification causing gases was 1.14 kg CO2-eq and 0.021 kg SO2-eq kg FPCM-1. Eutrophication was on average 0.077 kg of nitrate-eq kg FPCM-1. Farms with low producing cows had higher environmental impact per kg of milk and lower gross margin per cow compared to the others. Low stocking rate farms had the best results regarding acidification and eutrophication per kg FPCM. Farms with high feed self-sufficiency had significantly lower acidification potential than the others. Increasing milk yield per cow, by selection and feeding, and enhancing feed self-sufficiency, by higher forage production and quality and more exploitation of highland pastures, seem to be the best strategies to improve ecological performances of dairy farms in the Alps while maintaining their profitability
Environmental impact of cow milk production in the central Italian Alps using Life Cycle Assessment / C. Penati, A. Tamburini, L. Bava, M. Zucali, A. Sandrucci. - In: ITALIAN JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE. - ISSN 1594-4077. - 12:4(2013 Sep), pp. e96.584-e96.592.
|Titolo:||Environmental impact of cow milk production in the central Italian Alps using Life Cycle Assessment.|
|Parole Chiave:||Alps; Dairy farm; Environment; Life cycle assessment; Milk|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore AGR/19 - Zootecnica Speciale|
|Data di pubblicazione:||set-2013|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.4081/ijas.2013.e96|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|