Onderwerp scriptie

The effect of feeding clover to dairy cows on the emission of greenhouse gasses and labor income on dairy farms - Teffany Kartopawiro

Reducing the environmental impact of dairy production has been a key issue in the efforts made to increase the sustainability of the sector. When changing the feeding strategy emissions at both animal as well as at farm and chain levels change. This study evaluated the impact of feeding clover to dairy cows on GHG emissions from dairy farming from cradle to farm-gate, and on labor income at farm level, while accounting for changes in farm management.

Dairy production is responsible for about 4% of the total anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide. One of the most important contributors to GHG emissions related to dairy production is methane (CH₄), which is mainly produced during enteric fermentation of dairy cows. Reducing the environmental impact of dairy production has been a key issue in the efforts made to increase the sustainability of the sector. Feeding clover to dairy cows has been proposed as a potential strategy to reduce enteric CH₄ emissions of dairy farming and could also be an alternative to reduce emissions related to the production and use of fertilizer nitrogen (N) for pasture based dairy production. When changing the feeding strategy emissions at both animal as well as at farm and chain levels change.

This study evaluated the impact of feeding clover to dairy cows on GHG emissions from dairy farming from cradle to farm-gate, and on labor income at farm level, while accounting for changes in farm management. First a dairy farm LP model was used to simulate an economically optimal Dutch dairy farm (reference situation). Subsequently, the grassland on the farm was replaced by a combination of grass and grass clover land, or with 100% grass clover land. Thereafter, the farm plan was optimized again based on the objective to maximize labor income. After optimizing the farm plan of the three farms, an LCA was used to calculate the GHG emissions along the chain in each situation. The total amount of GHG emissions was 982 kg CO₂equivalents (CO2e) /ton fat-and-protein-corrected milk (FPCM) for the reference situation, 905 kg CO₂e/t FPCM for the combination situation, and 890 kg CO₂e/t FPCM for the 100% grass clover situation. Labor income in the reference situation was €39,605, €44,720 in the combination situation and €45,098 in the grass clover situation. The 100% grass clover situation resulted in the highest reduction in GHG emissions, and the highest increase in labor income.

It was concluded that feeding clover to dairy cows can be an effective strategy to reduce GHG emissions along the chain, while increasing labor income at farm level.

Student: TI Kartopawiro

Supervisor: dr ir C van Middelaar

36 Ects