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Organic Versus Conventional Farming: The Case of wheat Production in Wallonia (Belgium)

Debode, Frédéric; Van Stappen, Florence; Loriers, Astrid; Mathot, Michaël; Planchon, Viviane and Stilmant, Didier (2015) Organic Versus Conventional Farming: The Case of wheat Production in Wallonia (Belgium). Agriculture and Agricultural Science Procedia, 7, pp. 272-279.

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Document available online at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/290002116_Organic_Versus_Conventional_Farming_The_Case_of_wheat_Production_in_Wallonia_Belgium


The environmental impact of wheat production was assessed through Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Local data were collected to characterize Walloon conventional and organic wheat production systems. Two functional units (FU) were investigated: 1kg of wheat grains at 15% humidity and 1ha used for wheat cropping. An uncertainty analysis assessed the significance of differences between conventional and organic systems. Using 1kg of grains as FU, results are not significantly different in global warming and cumulative energy demand. Very highly significant differences for soil acidification and eutrophication, and significant differences for agricultural land occupation were found to be in favor of conventional wheat production. Due to the high yield level in conventional farming (8.5 t/ha at 15% humidity against 4.5 t/ha for organic wheat), organic winter wheat has an equivalent or even, in some impact categories, a higher impact than conventional winter wheat. Using 1ha as FU, organic production is less impacting than conventional production, except for soil acidification and eutrophication. The choice of the FU has proven to be very sensitive. This study could be improved by accounting for rotation effects, by using more specific models to calculate emissions due to organic and mineral fertilization, and by accounting for carbon storage in soil.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:wheat, environmental impact, Life cycle assessment
Agrovoc keywords:
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Production systems > Cereals, pulses and oilseeds
Crop husbandry
Environmental aspects
Research affiliation:Belgium
Belgium > Wallonia > Centre Wallon de Recherche Agronomique (CRA-W) (Gembloux)
Belgium > Wallonia
Deposited By: MOERMAN, Mrs Marie
ID Code:45185
Deposited On:20 Jan 2023 08:36
Last Modified:20 Jan 2023 08:36
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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