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Alternatively, this yield loss may be compensated by increased production in new member states of the EU27. A transition to productive and nitrogen efficient European agriculture would involve long term targets and short term incentives for increasing nitrogen use efficiencies, combined with a vision on the future optimal structure and spatial layout of agricultural production.
4. Conclusion and recommendations Theoretically, there is ample potential to achieve a future nitrogen efficient, less polluting, secure food system, because of the large potential to increase the land and nitrogen efficiency Nitrogen Workshop 2012 in the production, distribution and consumption of food. A strategy for realization involves both better governance and technological and management innovations in the agro-food system. Global competition between land for food, feed, biodiversity or bioenergy is settled in trade and energy policies. Development of more efficient and less polluting production systems for food, feed and bioenergy, is stimulated by targeted public-private funding while actual implementation can be enhanced by smart payment schemes, certification and agreements between large players in the food and energy chain. To find a better balance between increasing productivity and reducing pollution of agricultural production we need a welfare oriented approach appreciating both internal and external costs of the food system.
We need to identify the critical components of the food chain, where improvement can make a difference for the system as a whole. For Europe there is a large potential to improve management of manures. Perhaps the greatest challenge is to change human diets to decrease the individual land and N footprint. In 2050 new foods like proteins from aquaculture, or insects, may solve part of the problem. However, a transition to more resource efficient diets in the industrialized part of the world has more potential. A global general increase of prices for resource intensive food products may do part of the job but will increase food inequality.
Therefore, convincing consumers to eat less meat by communicating the associated health benefits may be a better strategy.
References Bouwman, A.F. Grinsven, J.J.M. van, and Eickhout, B. 2010. Consequences of the cultivation of energy crops for the global nitrogen cycle, Ecological Applications 20, 101-109.
Bouwman, A.F., Beusen, A.H.W. and Billen, G. 2009. Human alteration of the global nitrogen and phosphorus soil balances for the period 1970-2050. Global Biochem. Cycles 23 Bouwman, A.F., Klein Goldewijk, K., Van der Hoek, K.W., Beusen, A.H.W., Van Vuuren, D.P., Willems, W.J., Rufino, M.C. and Stehfest E. 2011. Exploring global changes in nitrogen and phosphorus cycles in agriculture induced by livestock production over the 1900-2050 period, PNAS Early Edition.
Bruinsma, J.E. 2003. World agriculture towards 2015/2030. An FAO perspective. Earthscan London.
Dixon, J., Braun H.J., Kosina P.and Crouch J. (eds.), 2009. Wheat facts and futures 2009, Mexico, D.F.:
Brink, C., Grinsven, J.J.M. van, Jacobsen, B.H., Rabl, A., Gren, I.-M., Holland, M., Klimont, Z, Hicks, K., Brouwer, R., Dickens, R., Willems, J., Termansen, M., Velthof, G., Alkemade, R., Oorschot, M. van and Webb J. 2001. Costs and benefits of nitrogen in the environment In: Sutton, Howard et al. (eds.) European Nitrogen Assessment, Cambridge University Press, London, 513-540.
Erisman, J.W., Sutton, M.A., Galloway, J., Klimont, Z. and Winiwarter, W., 2008. How a century of ammonia synthesis changed the world. Nature Geoscience 1, 636-639.
Good, A.G. and Beatty, P.H., 2011. Fertilizing nature: a tragedy of excess in the commons, PLos Biology 9.
Goulding, K., Jarvis, S. and Whitmore, A. 2008. Optimizing nutrient management for farm systems, Phil.Trans.
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Gustavsson, J., Cederberg, C., Sonesson, U., Otterdijk, R. van, Meybeck, A., 2011. Global food losses and food waste. FAO, Rome.
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van. and Westhoek H.J. 2008. Lessons from global environmental assessments, PBL-Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Bilthoven pp.74.
Leach, A.M., Galloway, J.N., Bleeker, A., Erisman, J.W., Kohn, R. and Kitzes, J. 2012. A nitrogen footprint model to help consumers understand their role in nitrogen losses to the environment, Environ. Developm. 1, 40Lesschen, J.P., Berg, M. van den, Westhoek H.J., Witzke, H.P. and O.Oenema. 2011. Greenhouse gas emission profiles of European livestock sectors, Anim. Feed Sci.Technol. 166, 16-28.
Offermann, F. and Nieberg, H., 2000. Economic Performance of Organic Farms in Europe. In: Organic Farming in Europe: Economics and Policy, Volume 5. University of Hohenheim, Department of Farm Economics, Stuttgart, Germany.
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Stehfest, E., Bouwman, A.F., Vuuren, D.P. van, Elzen M.G J. den, Eickhout, B. and Kabat, P. 2009. Climate benefits of changing diet, Climatic Change 95, 83-102
Nitrogen Workshop 2012
Jensen, L.S., Schjoerring, J.K., Van Der Hoek, K.W., Poulsen, H.D., Zevenbergen, J.F., Palliere, C., Lammel, J., Brentrup, F., Jongbloed, A.W., Willems, W.J. and Grinsven,, J.J.M. van, 2011. Benefits of nitrogen for food, fibre and industrial production. In: Sutton, Howard et al. (eds.) European Nitrogen Assessment, Cambridge University Press, London, 32-61.
Sutton M.A.E., Howard C.M., Erisman J.W., Billen G., Bleeker A., Grennfelt P., Grinsven J.J.M. van, and Grizzetti B. 2011. The European Nitrogen Assessment; sources effects and policy perspectives: Cambridge University Press, London pp. 612.
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Nitrogen Workshop 2012
The Nitrogen footprint of European food production Lesschen, J.P.a, Leip, A.b, Wagner, S. a,c, Westhoek, H.J. c, Oenema, O. a a Alterra, Wageningen-UR, Wageningen, Netherlands b European Commission - Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra, Italy c PBL - Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Bilthoven, Netherlands
1. Background & Objectives There are increasing concerns about the ecological footprint of global food production. Research shows that high rates of meat and dairy consumption in human diets could have adverse effects on the environment, through losses of reactive nitrogen. Lowering of meat and dairy consumption could have various beneficial effects, including a substantial lowering of the societal cost for mitigation of NH3 and greenhouse gas emissions. Firstly, we assessed the Nitrogen (N) footprint for twelve agricultural food commodities, of which six are animal products (dairy, beef, pork, eggs, poultry and lamb and mutton) and six crop products (cereals, potato, fruit and vegetables, sugar, vegetable oils and pulses) in the EU-27. Secondly, we assessed the total reactive N emissions for scenarios in which a reduction in consumption of animal products and proportional reduction in animal numbers were simulated for the EU-27.
2. Materials & Methods The MITERRA-Europe model was used to calculate N emissions from agriculture following a lifecycle approach to the farm-gate. MITERRA-Europe (Velthof et al., 2009; Lesschen et al., 2011) is an environmental assessment model that calculates annual nutrient flows and GHG emissions from agriculture in the EU-27. Main input data were derived from CAPRI (crop areas, livestock distribution, feed inputs), GAINS (animal numbers, excretion factors, NH3 emission factors), FAO statistics (crop yields, fertilizer consumption, animal production) and IPCC (CH4, N2O, CO2 emission factors). NH3, N2O, NOx emissions and N leaching and runoff were calculated from the following sources: housing and manure management, application of manure and mineral fertilizers, deposition of manure by grazing animals, use of fossil fuels, manufacture of mineral fertilizer, indirect N2O emissions from atmospheric volatilization and leaching and cultivation of organic soils. The N footprint is expressed as the sum of these reactive N emissions on a per kg product basis. We assessed a 25% and 50% reduction in 1) beef and dairy and 2) pig, poultry and egg consumption and production and the combination of these two scenarios. For the reduction in feed intake we first reduced the amount of imported feed (mainly oil meals), whereas the cereal use was adjusted to match the remaining energy demand. Reductions in fodder intake were mainly obtained by conversion of temporary grassland and fodder maize areas into cereals. Crop production is no longer used in EU-27, as feed or additional food, is assumed to be exported.
3. Results & Discussion Figure 1 shows the N footprint for the 12 food commodities. Total reactive N fluxes are about 200 g N per kg product for ruminant meat, about 50 g N per kg product for pork and poultry meat and about 15 g N per kg product for dairy products. The differences are smaller when expressed on a per kg protein basis. All crop products have (much) lower total fluxes of reactive nitrogen than animal products. N leaching and runoff and NH3 emissions are the main losses of reactive N.
Among EU countries there is a large variation in the N footprint, although this is lower for crop production compared to animal production.
Figure 1. N footprint for six animal products and six crop products for the EU-27 In Figure 2 the reduction in reactive N emissions is shown for the different scenarios.
A reduction in beef and dairy consumption and the consequent decrease in cattle numbers results in a greater % reduction in emissions compared to a reduction in pigs and poultry. The largest effect is on NH3, since N2O and N leaching and runoff are reduced less due to continuing emissions from the arable sector.
Figure 2. Reduction in EU-27 total NH3 and N2O emission and N leaching and runoff for different scenarios with reduced consumption of animal products
4. Conclusion Our study shows that there are large differences in the N footprint between food commodities. A decrease in consumption of animal products and a proportional reduction in animal numbers can result in a large reduction in reactive N emissions in the EU-27.
References Lesschen J.P., van den Berg M., Westhoek H.J., Witzke H.P. and Oenema O. 2011. Greenhouse gas emission profiles of European livestock sectors. Animal Feed Science & Technology 166-167, 16-28.
Velthof G.L., Oudendag D., Witzke H.P., Asman W.A.H., Klimont Z., Oenema, O. 2009. Integrated assessment of nitrogen emissions from agriculture in EU-27 using MITERRA-EUROPE. J. of Environ. Quality 38, 402-417.
Nitrogen Workshop 2012 The product carbon footprint of milk from pasture- and confinement-based dairy farming Schönbach, P., Biegemann, T., Kämper, M., Loges, R., Taube, F.
Institute of Crop Science and Plant Breeding (Grass and Forage Science), University of Kiel, Germany
1. Background & Objectives Grassland and forage crops account for more than 50% of the total agricultural area in SchleswigHolstein (Germany). In recent decades, dairy farming has been subjected to ongoing intensification resulting in less pasture grazing in favour of high-input confinement systems. The present study aims to answer a) How does the management system affect the product carbon footprint (PCF) of milk? b) What are the main sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the milk production chain? c) Which are the most promising GHG mitigation options? The results presented here are preliminary calculations considering only the currently available dataset of 2010 (2011 is still in progress).
2. Materials & Methods The PCF of milk from two contrasting, well-managed dairy farms was assessed by quantifying GHGs along the milk production chain from cradle to farm gate (combination of life-cycleassessment method with field-level measurements). According to their global warming potential of 1, 25 and 298 emissions of CO2, CH4 and N2O were summed up and referred to the functional unit (1 kg of energy corrected milk (ECM)) to determine the PCF milk of two dairy farms: a) a pasture system (PS) with year-round rotational grazing and an annual use of 200 kg of concentrates to produce on average 5 900 kg milk cow-1 year-1; b) a confinement system (CS) with year-round indoor housing and an annual use of 3 500 kg of concentrates to produce 11 200 kg milk cow-1 yearGHGs from forage areas and pastures were measured at the field-level. Both farm-level GHG emissions associated with animal and manure management and upstream-chain or pre-farm GHG emissions associated with the input and use of resources were estimated by using operating data of farms and standard emission factors. The effect of land use on soil C on-farm and off-farm was also considered: a) on-farm by calculating field-scale C balances; b) off-farm by estimating land use change induced C losses. The economic option was chosen to allocate GHG emissions to outputs of milk and meat.
Table 1. Methodological framework of the product carbon footprint of milk.
Sources Greenhouse gas Method Reference ON-FARM - Forage production (Maize, CH4, N2O Measured closed chamber method (field-level) permanent grassland, ley) CO2 Estimated (C balance) VDLUFA 2004
- Pasture (grass/clover leys) CH4, N2O Measured closed chamber method CO2 Estimated (C balance) VDLUFA 2004 ON-FARM - Enteric fermentation CH4 Estimated (EF*) Kirchgessner et al. 1991 (farm-level) - Manure management CH4 Estimated (EF*) Clemens et al. 2006
- Use of fossil fuels/electricity CO2, CH4, N2O Estimated (EF*) Patyk & Reinhardt 1997 OFF-FARM - Supply of resource inputs CO2, CH4, N2O Estimated (EF*) Biskupek et al. 1997 (pre-chain) (fertilizer, seeds, pesticide, Patyk & Reinhardt 1997 energy, concentrates) Eriksson et al. 2005
- Land use change** CO2 Estimated (EF*) FAO 2010 *EF, emission factor; **Soil C losses associated with soybean cultivation in South America (FAO 2010)