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A biophysical approach to allocation of life cycle environmental burdens for fluid milk supply chain analysis
- Thoma, Greg, Jolliet, Olivier, Wang, Ying
- International dairy journal 2013 v.31 pp. S41
- animals, beef, cream, dairy farming, data collection, farms, fluid milk, gas emissions, greenhouse gases, milk, milk analysis, milk production, supply chain, United States
- Data from 536 United States of America dairy farms were used to test algorithms for milk to beef allocation. A wide range of rations was represented, from pasture-based to large confined animal operations. Variety in the animal classes sent to beef provided a very robust dataset. We report an empirical relationship for the causal allocation ratio (ARc) based on detailed analysis of farm rations, to allocate whole farm emissions between milk and beef: ARc = 1–4.39∙BMR; with BMR defined as the kg beef sold per kg milk sold annually. USA dairy farm green house gas emissions allocated to milk using this approach was, on average, 91.5%, compared with economic (94.4%) and the protein-based (95%) allocation methods. We include an analysis of the allocation between fluid milk and excess cream at the processing plant. This analysis shows 19.8% of the post-farm (after allocation to beef) milk production burden allocated to the excess cream.