Dairying / USA

Don’t blame dairy cows for US greenhouse gas emissions–study

Baoshan Community Dairy Feeding Centre

Baoshan Community Dairy Feeding Centre, Weishan County, Yunnan Province, China (photo credit: ILRI/Mann).

‘Forget all the tacky jokes about cow flatulence causing climate change. A new study reports that the dairy industry is responsible for only about 2.0 percent of all US greenhouse gas emissions.

‘The study, led by the University of Arkansas in association with Michigan Technological University, measures the carbon footprint of a gallon of fluid milk from farm to table and uses 2007 and 2008 data from more than 500 dairy farms and 50 dairy processors, as well as data from more than 210,000 round trips transporting milk from farm to processing plant. It was commissioned by the Innovation Center for the US Dairy, an industry-wide group. . . .

‘The team concluded that the cumulative total emission of greenhouse gases associated with all fluid milk consumed in the US was approximately 35 million metric tons in 2007. While the emissions are lower than sometimes reported, there is still room for improvement for dairy farms and businesses of all kinds, the study concluded. In particular, manure management, feed production and enteric methane (cow gas) were cited as areas that are ripe for innovation on farms. Energy management provides the greatest opportunity in the processing, transportation and retail segments. . . .’

Read the whole article at Michigan Tech News: Don’t blame the dairy cows for (greenhouse) gas emissions, 5 October 2010.

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