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Productive, environmental and economic performances assessments of organic and conventional suckler cattle farming systems

Veysset, Patrick; Lherm, Michel and Bébin, Didier (2011) Productive, environmental and economic performances assessments of organic and conventional suckler cattle farming systems. Organic Agriculture, 1, pp. 1-16.

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Summary

Conversion to OF was simulated for four specialized suckler-beef systems by coupling an economic optimization model (“Opt’INRA”) with a model assessing non-renewable energy (NRE) consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (“PLANETE”). After adaptation of the production system, and based on average prices over 2004–2008, we analyzed the productive, environmental and economic impacts of the conversion process. The ban on chemical fertilizers led to a drop in farm area productivity. For these specialized farms, meat production decreased by 18% to 37% depending on initial level of intensification. The reduced use of inputs results in a 23% to 45% drop in NRE consumption/ha, 5–20% of which is a drop in NRE per ton of live weight produced. Its methane production makes cattle the biggest driver of GHG emissions. The shift to OF does not significantly affect gross GHG emissions per ton of live weight produced, but taking into account carbon sequestration in grasslands suggests net GHG emissions could be lower for OF systems. The lower productivity per hectare (less animals reared per hectares) allows a 26% to 34% reduction in net GHG emissions per hectare of farm area. Economically, the drop in productivity is not compensated by the gain in the meat selling price (+5% to +10%), gross farm product drops by 9% to 16%, and the lower use of inputs creates a strong −9% to −52% drop in operational costs. Farm income falls more than 20% (−7 to −46%).


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Beef production – Organic farming – Greenhouse gas – Non-renewable energy – Economics – Farm model
Subjects: Farming Systems > Farm economics
Animal husbandry > Production systems > Beef cattle
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Research affiliation: France > INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
ISSN:1879-4238
Deposited By: Veysset, M. Patrick
ID Code:18344
Deposited On:01 Mar 2011 16:35
Last Modified:01 Mar 2011 16:43
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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