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Title: Allocation of greenhouse gas production between wool and meat in the life cycle assessment of Australian sheep production
Contributor(s): Cottle, David  (author)orcid ; Cowie, Annette  (author)
Publication Date: 2016
DOI: 10.1007/s11367-016-1054-4
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Abstract: 'Purpose' Australia is the largest supplier of high-quality wool in the world. The environmental burden of sheep production must be shared between wool and meat. We examine different methods to handle these co-products and focus on proportional protein content as a basis for allocation, that is, protein mass allocation (PMA). This is the first comprehensive investigation applying PMA for calculating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for Australian sheep production, evaluating the variation in PMA across a large number of farms and locations over 20 years. 'Materials and methods' Inventory data for two superfine wool Merino farms were obtained from farmer records, interviews and site visits in study 1. Livestock GHG emissions were modelled using Australian National GHG Inventory methods. A comparison was made of mass, protein mass and economic allocation and system expansion methods for handling coproduction of wool and sheep meat. In study 2, typical crossbred ewe, Merino ewe and Merino wether flocks in each of the 28 locations in eight climate zones were modelled using the GrassGro/GRAZPLAN simulation model and historical climatic data to examine the variation in PMA values for different enterprise types. 'Results and discussion' Different methods for handling coproducts in study 1 changed allocated GHG emissions more than fourfold, highlighting the sensitivity to method choice. In study 2, enterprise, climate zone and year and their interactions had significant effects on PMA between wool and liveweight (LW) sold. The wool PMA (wool protein as proportion of total protein sold) least square means (LSM) were 0.61 ± 0.003 for wethers, 0.43 ± 0.003 for Merino ewes and 0.27 ± 0.003 for crossbred ewe enterprises. The wool PMA LSM for the main effect of Koppen climate zone varied from 0.39 to 0.46. Two zones (no dry season/warm summer and distinctively dry and hot) had significantly lower wool PMA LSM, of 0.39 and 0.41, respectively, than the four other climate zones. 'Conclusions' Effects of superfine wool production on GHG emissions differed between regions in response to differences in climate and productivity. Regarding methods for handling co-production, system expansion showed the greatest contrast between the two studied flocks and highlighted the importance of meat from wool production systems. However, we also propose PMA as a simple, easily applied allocation approach for use when attributional life cycle assessment (LCA) is undertaken.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 21(6), p. 820-830
Publisher: Springer
Place of Publication: Germany
ISSN: 1614-7502
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 070299 Animal Production not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 300307 Environmental studies in animal production
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 180601 Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article

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