Agricultural Systems | VOL. 103
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Energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and economic performance assessments in French Charolais suckler cattle farms: Model-based analysis and forecasts

Publication Date Jan 1, 2010

Abstract

Abstract The environmental and economic performance of five Charolais beef production systems (three specialized beef producer test cases in grassland areas and two mixed crop–livestock test cases with a more intensive production system) were assessed by coupling an economic optimization model (“Opt’INRA”) with a model assessing non-renewable energy (NRE) consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (“PLANETE”). The test cases studied covered a relatively diverse range of raised and sold animals: calf-to-weanling or calf-to-beef systems (animals sold: from 10-month-old weaners to 36-month-old beef steers). In 2006, NRE consumption ranged from 26,440 to 31,863 MJ/ton of live weight produced over 1 year. Fuels and lubricants were the main factors of NRE consumption, followed by fertilizers and farm equipment. Livestock was the main driver of global warming potential. GHG emissions, at 14.3–18.3 tCO2eq/t LW, were mainly determined by the proportion of cows in the total herd livestock units, according to the farming system deployed, i.e. calf-to-weanling vs. calf-to-beef. Against a background of rising energy costs, farms running mixed crop–livestock systems enjoy greater flexibility to adjust their farming systems than grassland-based farms, enabling them to minimize the drop in income over the timeframe to 2012 (−3%). In this same setting, specialist beef producers face a 15–25% drop in income. In all the scenarios run, system adjustments designed to minimize the drop in income have only a very limited impact on NRE consumption an...

Concepts

Non-renewable Energy Consumption Drop In Income Energy Consumption Mixed Crop Livestock Economic Performance Assessments Greenhouse Gas Emissions Grassland-based Farms Intensive Production System Animals Sold Farm Equipment

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