Onderwerp scriptie

Eco-efficiency in European dairy farms - André da Silva Ribeiro

To achieve a sustainable dairy farm system, not only resource consumption and environmental impact need to be reduced but also the economic efficiency needs to be optimized. The objective of this study was to gain insight into the relation between economy and environment in European (EU) dairy farms. In this way countries with best economic and environmental performances, and synergies and trade-offs between economy and environment were identified.

To achieve a sustainable dairy farm system, not only resource consumption and environmental impact need to be reduced but also the economic efficiency needs to be optimized. This strive is according to an eco-efficiency approach. The objective of this study was to gain insight into the relation between economy and environment in European (EU) dairy farms. In this way countries with best economic and environmental performances, and synergies and trade-offs between economy and environment were identified.

The study was divided in three categories: mineral balance, greenhouse gases (GHG) and economy. These categories are represented by indicators. Nitrogen and phosphorus efficiency (%) represent the category mineral balance; total on-farm GHG emissions and total GHG emissions (both in kg of CO2-eq. per ton of milk) represent the category GHG; and Income 1 which regards the farm saving capacity, Income 2 (capital available for investments) and net income (regards the farm liquidity; all expressed in euros) represent the category economy. A statistical analysis was performed to determine differences between EU countries according environmental and economic indicators; associations between different indicators, and synergies and trade-offs between environmental and economic.

Nitrogen efficiency was higher on farms from the Netherlands compared to Germany and was lower on Irish farms compared to Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Luxembourg had the highest phosphorus efficiency and Germany the lowest. Concerning Income 1, the best farms’ performances were in the Netherlands and France, while Luxembourg and Ireland had worst performances. Concerning Income 2 the Netherlands achieved the best results and France the worst. Regarding net income, Ireland has the best farms’ performance and farms from the Netherlands the worst. Ultimately, the total on-farm and total GHG emissions were lowest on farms from France and highest on farms from Ireland.

Economy and mineral balance have a synergy effect (positive correlation between phosphorus efficiency and Income 2). Mineral balance and GHG had a synergy effect (negative correlation between nitrogen efficiency and GHG). GHG had a trade-off effect with economy (positive correlation between GHG and net income). In conclusion, there are environmental and economic differences between farms of different countries. Environment and economy indicators are related and these relations show synergies and trade-offs.



Student: AF da Silva Ribeiro

Supervisors: dr ir E Bokkers, W. Mu, MSc

36 Ects