This study presents an analysis of the cradle to farm gate greenhouse gas footprint of milk. Compared with the detailed model, we aim to accurately represent the variations in carbon footprint across farms, while being more parsimonious in terms of data needs. The simplified model strongly reduces the farm-specific data requirement from 162 animal-rations in the detailed survey to 12 feed rations for lactating cows, while explaining 91% of the variability in feed print and 98% of the variability in total footprint across 531 farms. The additional 95% confidence interval on an individual farm footprint is less than 10%. Feed efficiency and manure management are key determinants of the footprint per kg milk. A 15% reduction in the average footprint can be achieved by a 10% reduction for the 50th percentile of the best farms and by a higher and targeted reduction for the less efficient farms.
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International Dairy Journal
Asselin-Balençon, A. C., J. Popp, A. Henderson, M. Heller, G. Thoma, and O. Jolliet. 2013. Dairy farm greenhouse gas impacts: A parsimonious model for a farmer's decision support tool. International Dairy Journal 31: S65-S77.