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Title: Formulated diets based on the carbon footprint of the ingredients
Authors: Salineto, Simone
Issue Date: 3-Oct-2022
Publisher: Università di Parma. Dipartimento di Scienze Medico-Veterinarie
Document Type: Master thesis
Abstract: With the pressing issue of the GHGs and CO2 emissions and the related climate change, in the livestock sector the environmental impact of dairy farms has become an urgent and debated problem in the public and within the industry itself. The purpose of this study is to investigate the environmental impact that dairy cows’ rations have upstream, before the consumption by the animals. The study was performed comparing 10 rations, 5 hay-based for the Parmigiano Reggiano consortium area and 5 silage-based, in terms of economic and environmental (Carbon Footprint) costs, comparing their versions optimized for nutrient supply (actual diet used in the farm), economic and environmental costs. The results show how the difference between the economic and environmental costs can be considered significant and when estimated on a 100-cows herd the impact became of importance. In fact, concerning the silage-based rations the difference per ration between the current diet (optimized for the nutrient supply) and the one optimized for sustainability reaches the amount of 22,265 euros/year and a similar value of CO2 (22 tons CO2). Differences are similar when it comes to the hay-based diets, that are 12,045 euros/year and 22 tons of CO2. Results also show that the optimization from both an economical and environmental perspective are in practice equivalent in terms of final cost of the ration, probably due to the direct and linear relationship that can be found between the economic cost and environmental impact. For the same reason the rations’ environmental cost is decreasing moving from the more nutrient diet to the most ecological ones. In conclusion the optimization for the environmental sustainability is strongly related also with the reduction of the cost of the diet, but in general lead to a lower economic cost together with a lower carbon footprint. The hay-based diets tested resulted more expensive from an economical point of view but more environmentally sustainable.
Appears in Collections:Scienze medico-veterinarie

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