Impact of animal health on greenhouse gas emissions
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Nationally, 53 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) emissions are produced in Norway every year, of which around 8% is attributed to agriculture. Agriculture contributes almost 50% of the total human-sourced methane (CH4) emissions produced in Norway. About 90% of agricultural emissions in Norway are attributed to feed and livestock production (Grønlund and Harstad, 2014). Thus, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with production of grains and vegetables for human consumption are rather low. In Norway, dairy sector exclusive recruitment contributes around 30% of the GHG emissions from animal production (Grønlund and Harstad, 2014). The major GHGs associated with Norwegian dairy farming are methane and nitrous oxide. It is likely that the projected increase in population and the increased demand for food production by at least 20% by 2030 in Norway will be accompanied environmental side effects. Therefore, the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food suggests a 20% reduction in agricultural emissions from 1990 levels by 2020 (Climate and Pollution Agency, 2013). Even though many studies to date have investigated the impact of animal- (e.g. breeding cows with high feed conversion efficiency) and diet-related factors (e.g. adding fat) on production and mitigation of GHG emissions, there is little information available about the impact of impaired health (e.g. subclinical mastitis) on GHG emissions. Production losses related to udder health are commonly measured by somatic cell count (SCC). Impaired animal health such as through subclinical mastitis is associated with shorter lifetime, and hence increased replacement rate. This study aims to demonstrate the impact of high SCC and replacement rate on GHG emissions produced from Norwegian dairy systems, using a modelling approach.
Other Titles/Title of Conference
The LiveM International Modelling and Research Colloquium, Bilbao, Spain
Advances in Animal Biosciences