In Europe, around 12 million ha are cultivated with barley and Spain and Italy are two important producers' countries. This study aims to compare the cultivation of barley of two different contexts, Spain and Italy, evaluating the related environmental performances; this is carried out considering the similar latitude and climatic conditions of the two countries, but taking into account the different average mechanisation solutions that differentiate considerably the two production frameworks. Inventory data about barley cultivation were gathered mainly by questionnaires with farmers and technical expert interviews. To quantify the environmental performances of barley production in the two Countries, the Life Cycle Assessment approach was applied and 1 ton of grain at the commercial moisture was selected as reference unit and 12 impact categories were evaluated. The outcomes of the impact assessment highlight how for 7 of the 12 evaluated impact categories, barley production in Spain shows a higher impact respect to the Italian production (from +7% for photochemical oxidant formation to +120% for freshwater ecotoxicity) mainly due to the lower grain yield and to the higher consumption of mineral fertilisers. For the other evaluated environmental effects, the Spanish production performs better than the Italian one, mostly because of the lower emissions of ammonia into the air. Yield is the main driver of the environmental effects. Additionally, due to mechanisation of field operations and to fertilisations, wide differences on the environmental side emerge from the comparison. There is a trade-off between the Spanish production, where the use of mineral fertilisers reduces all the environmental effects related to ammonia volatilisation, and the Italian barley cultivation, where the use of animal slurry improves the results on the impact categories affected by the fertiliser production but worsens those affected by the nitrogen emissions.

Barley production in Spain and Italy : Environmental comparison between different cultivation practices / D. Lovarelli, L.R. Garcia, V. Sánchez-Girón, J. Bacenetti. - In: SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. - ISSN 0048-9697. - 707(2020 Mar 10), pp. 135982.1-135982.10. [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135982]

Barley production in Spain and Italy : Environmental comparison between different cultivation practices

D. Lovarelli
Primo
;
J. Bacenetti
Ultimo
2020-03-10

Abstract

In Europe, around 12 million ha are cultivated with barley and Spain and Italy are two important producers' countries. This study aims to compare the cultivation of barley of two different contexts, Spain and Italy, evaluating the related environmental performances; this is carried out considering the similar latitude and climatic conditions of the two countries, but taking into account the different average mechanisation solutions that differentiate considerably the two production frameworks. Inventory data about barley cultivation were gathered mainly by questionnaires with farmers and technical expert interviews. To quantify the environmental performances of barley production in the two Countries, the Life Cycle Assessment approach was applied and 1 ton of grain at the commercial moisture was selected as reference unit and 12 impact categories were evaluated. The outcomes of the impact assessment highlight how for 7 of the 12 evaluated impact categories, barley production in Spain shows a higher impact respect to the Italian production (from +7% for photochemical oxidant formation to +120% for freshwater ecotoxicity) mainly due to the lower grain yield and to the higher consumption of mineral fertilisers. For the other evaluated environmental effects, the Spanish production performs better than the Italian one, mostly because of the lower emissions of ammonia into the air. Yield is the main driver of the environmental effects. Additionally, due to mechanisation of field operations and to fertilisations, wide differences on the environmental side emerge from the comparison. There is a trade-off between the Spanish production, where the use of mineral fertilisers reduces all the environmental effects related to ammonia volatilisation, and the Italian barley cultivation, where the use of animal slurry improves the results on the impact categories affected by the fertiliser production but worsens those affected by the nitrogen emissions.
Life Cycle Assessment; cereal; field mechanisation; system expansion
Settore AGR/09 - Meccanica Agraria
Settore AGR/10 - Costruzioni Rurali e Territorio Agroforestale
13-dic-2019
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/697363
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