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Energy and carbon footprints of chicken and pork from intensive production systems in Argentina

Arrieta, Ezequiel M., González, Alejandro D.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.673 pp. 20-28
animal husbandry, beef, body weight, byproducts, carbon footprint, chickens, diet, energy, environmental impact, farms, ingredients, life cycle inventory, oils, pork, pork industry, production technology, soybean meal, soybeans, swine, Argentina
Due to the heterogeneity and complexity of food systems, there is a need to increase the knowledge on environmental impacts of regional productions by performing studies in a transparent manner, so that researchers could compare and accurately adapt such data to assess mitigation strategies. With the exception of beef, chicken and pork are the most consumed meats in Argentina and their consumption is expected to continuing increasing. However, despite the growing importance of chicken and pork industry, no studies on environmental impact of these products have been conducted to date in this country. Performing a life cycle inventory with data derived from government statistical publications, academia and communications with industry, the present study aims to investigate the energy and carbon footprints per ton of live weight (LW) of chickens and pigs from intensive production systems at farm gate in Argentina. In addition, we discussed in detail the effects on energy and carbon footprints of two animal diets which comprise different soybean by-products commonly used in animal husbandry, namely expeller-extruded soybean meal and solvent-extracted soybean meal and oil. We found that the energy and carbon footprint at farm gate for chicken was 13.6–15.1 GJ/ton LW and 2.03–2.22 ton CO2-eq/ton LW, for pigs in hoop systems 23.2–24.0 GJ/ton LW and 5.14–5.17 ton CO2-eq/ton LW, and for pigs in confinement systems 23.6–24.2 GJ/ton LW and 6.06–6.45 ton CO2-eq/ton LW, respectively. The choice of expeller-extruded soybean meal or solvent-extracted soybean meal and oil as feed ingredients showed small differences on the energy and carbon footprints of chickens and pigs.