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Energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and economic performance assessments in French Charolais suckler cattle farms: Model-based analysis and forecasts

Abstract : The environmental and economic performance of five Charolais beef production systems (three specialized beef producer test cases in grassland areas and two mixed crop-livestock test cases with a more intensive production system) were assessed by coupling an economic optimization model ("Opt'INRA") with a model assessing non-renewable energy (NRE) consumption and greenhouse gas emissions ("PLANETE"). The test cases studied covered a relatively diverse range of raised and sold animals: calf-to-weanling or calf-to-beef systems (animals sold: from 10-month-old weaners to 36-month-old beef steers). In 2006, NRE consumption ranged from 26,440 to 31,863 MJ/ton of live weight produced over I year. Fuels and lubricants were the main factors of NRE consumption, followed by fertilizers and farm equipment. Livestock was the main driver of global warming potential. GHG emissions, at 14.3-18.3 tCO(2)eq/t LW, were mainly determined by the proportion of cows in the total herd livestock units, according to the farming system deployed, i.e. calf-to-weanling vs. calf-to-beef. Against a background of rising energy costs, farms running mixed crop-livestock systems enjoy greater flexibility to adjust their farming systems than grassland-based farms, enabling them to minimize the drop in income over the timeframe to 2012 (-3%). In this same setting, specialist beef producers face a 15-25% drop in income. In all the scenarios run, system adjustments designed to minimize the drop in income have only a very limited impact on NRE consumption and GHG emissions. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Patrick P. Veysset, Michel M. Lherm, Didier D. Bébin. Energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and economic performance assessments in French Charolais suckler cattle farms: Model-based analysis and forecasts. Agricultural Systems, Elsevier Masson, 2010, 103 (1), pp.41-50. ⟨10.1016/j.agsy.2009.08.005⟩. ⟨hal-02665855⟩

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