Abstract In the context of global climate change, carbon footprint (CF) becomes an important sustainability indicator for dairy production systems. To mitigation the CF of the dairy sector, insight into greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions from individual farms is required. The objective of this study was to determine the primary contributors to GHG emissions at the farm-gate level, expressed as a carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2-eq), to produce one kg of fat-and protein corrected milk (FPCM). Primary data about farms’ management and feeding practices were collected from twelve dairy farms that belong to Gyeonggi-do province, which represent the most important region for milk production in South Korea. Allocation of GHG emissions between meat and milk was assessed as a physical allocation, 98% allocated to milk and 2% to meat (surplus of calves and culled cows). The CF of the evaluated farms averaged to 0.61 CO2-eq/kg of FPCM and ranged from 0.49 to 0.78 CO2-eq/kg of FPCM. Results indicated that the largest source of GHG comes mostly from enteric fermentation (83%), followed by manure management (6%), manure and fertilizer land application (8%) and energy consumption (3%). By type of gas emitted, methane accounted for 86% of total emissions, originating from enteric fermentation and manure management. Nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide accounted for 11.6 % and 2.8% of total GHG emissions, respectively. Lactating cows contributed by 70% of total GHG emissions, whereas dry cows, heifers and calves contributed by 5, 22 and 3%, respectively. Differences in GHG emissions from the evaluated farms could be explained by differences in feed quality and management practices through manure and fertilizers application on cropland. This study contributes to identify the main sources of GHG production in dairy farms, which can help to define mitigation strategies towards the transition to neutral carbon emissions of the dairy sector.

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