Onderwerp scriptie

Switching to non-GMO diet for dairy cows: Impact on farmer’s income and GHG emissions along the chain - Vincent Gallard

In Europe, 61% of the citizens disagreed with the development of food containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). As a cheese company, Bel-Leerdammer would like to meet this consumer demand by selling cheese with a non-GM label. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of switching to a non-GM diet on GHG emissions per 100kg of fat-and-protein-corrected-milk (FPCM), and on the cost per 100 kg FPCM.

In Europe, 61% of the citizens disagreed with the development of food containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). As a cheese company, Bel-Leerdammer would like to meet this consumer demand by selling cheese with a non-GM label. However part of the diet, the concentrates might contain GM ingredient. Indeed GM SBM is used to increase the protein value of the concentrates. Replacing it by either non-GM SBM or another ingredient is expected to impact GHG emissions related to milk production, and the cost of the concentrates. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of  switching to a non-GM diet on GHG emissions per 100kg of fat-and-protein-corrected-milk (FPCM), and on the cost per 100 kg FPCM.  

First, seven simulations have been performed based on economic optimization, in order to determine the replacement alternative for GM-SBM. Second, based on this alternative, the impact of the switch was determined by calculating per feed ingredient, the GHG emissions related to feeding a GM concentrate (reference) and a non-GM concentrate. Emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) related to cultivation and transport of feed ingredients, enteric fermentation and manure were taken into account, because these processes were assumed to be affected by a change in diet.  Third, costs of switching to a non GM diet were calculated by using results of the feed optimizers.

Results showed that the switch to a non-GM diet increased GHG emissions by 0.00066 kg CO2eq./kg FPCM while the initial emissions reached 0.214 kg CO2eq./kg FPCM (i.e. for all processes included). The low impact is explained by the use of non-GM SBM as the main replacer for GM SBM. Feeding dairy cows with non GM feed increased costs by 0.31 to 0.58€/100kg FPCM. Discussion reveals that switching to a non-GM diet is likely to increase the phosphorus content of the concentrates, whereas the impact on land-use, land-use-change related to feed production decrease.

In conclusion, Bel-Leerdammer can ask the farmer not using GM  without impacting the GHG emissions from milk production but an induced extra cost at the farm level must be transferred to the consumer.

Student: VSAM Gallard

Supervisor: dr ir C van Middelaar

36 Ects