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Energy Utilization in Crop and Dairy Production in Organic and Conventional Livestock Production Systems

Refsgaard, Karen; Halberg, Niels and Kristensen, Erik Steen (1998) Energy Utilization in Crop and Dairy Production in Organic and Conventional Livestock Production Systems. Agricultural Systems, 57 (4), pp. 599-630.

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Summary

Searching for livestock production systems with a high energy utilization is of interest because of resource use and pollution aspects and because energy use is an indicator of the intensification of production processes. Due to interactions between crop and livestock enterprises and between levels of different input factors and their effects on yields, it is proposed to analyze agricultural energy utilization through system modelling of data from farm studies. Energy use in small grains, grass-clover and fodder beets registered in organic and conventional mixed dairy farms was analyzed and used together with crop yields in order to model energy prices on three Danish soil types. Conventional crop yields were higher but they also used more indirect energy with input factors, especially fertilizers. The conventional yields were not sufficiently higher to compensate for the extra use of energy compared with the organic crops. The organic crops had lower energy prices on all soil types, with the smallest difference on irrigated sandy soils. Sensitivity analyses were made for the effects of changes in irrigation and fertilizer levels. One conclusion was that better energy utilization in grain crops might be found at intermediate levels of fertilizer use, especially on irrigated soils. Actual farm diesel use was on average 47% higher than expected from standard values, suggesting that care should be taken when basing energetic analysis of farming methods on experimental data alone. On the same farms, the energy use in dairy production registered in organic and conventional mixed dairy farms was analyzed and used together with milk and meat yields in order to model energy prices for three different feeding strategies and two soil types. Conventional dairy production is more intensive with a greater feeding ration and a higher proportion of high-protein Seed, but has also higher yields. The conventional yields were not sufficiently higher to compensate for rite extra use of energy compared with the organic feeding ration. However, the loll er energy price in organic dairy production is dependent on the composition of the feeding strategy. Substitution of 500 SFU of grain with grass pellets makes an ordinary organic feeding ration based on conventional crop production competable. In general, the crop energy price models car? be used together with the dairy production to model the effects of different feeding and crop rotation strategies on the overall energy utilization in mixed dairy production systems.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:agriculture energy utilization system analysis organic conventional farming ecological
Subjects: Environmental aspects
Farming Systems
Food systems > Recycling, balancing and resource management
Research affiliation: Norway > NILF - Norwegian Agricultural Economics Research Institute
Denmark > DARCOF I (1996-2001)
Denmark > AU - Aarhus University > AU, DJF - Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Deposited By: Refsgaard, Ph.D. Karen
ID Code:6189
Deposited On:14 Dec 2005
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:31
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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