Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Environmental impacts and resource use from Australian pork production determined using life cycle assessment. 2. Energy, water and land occupation

Stephen G. Wiedemann A D , Eugene J. McGahan B and Caoilinn M. Murphy C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Integrity Ag Services, 36a Highfields Road, Highfields, Qld 4352, Australia.

B 2 Somerset Street, Toowoomba, Qld 4350, Australia.

C Point Advisory, 31 Queen Street, Melbourne, Vic. 3000, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: stephen.wiedemann@integrityag.net.au

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16196
Submitted: 31 March 2016  Accepted: 15 November 2016   Published online: 30 March 2017

Abstract

Utilisation of water, energy and land resources is under pressure globally because of increased demand for food, fibre and fuel production. Australian pork production utilises these resources both directly to grow and process pigs, and indirectly via the consumption of feed and other inputs. With increasing demand and higher costs associated with these resources, supply chain efficiency is a growing priority for the industry. This study aimed to quantify fresh water consumption, stress-weighted water use, fossil fuel energy use and land occupation from six case study supply chains and the national herd using a life cycle assessment approach. Two functional units were used: 1 kg of pork liveweight (LW) at the farm-gate, and 1 kg of wholesale pork (chilled, bone-in). At the farm-gate, fresh water consumption from the case study supply chains ranged from 22.2 to 156.7 L/kg LW, with a national average value of 107.5 L/kg LW. Stress-weighted water use ranged from 6.6 to 167.5 L H2O-e /kg LW, with a national average value of 103.2 L H2O-e /kg LW. Fossil fuel energy demand ranged from 12.9 to 17.4 MJ/kg LW, with a national average value of 14.5 MJ/kg LW, and land occupation ranged from 10.9 to 16.1 m2/kg LW, with a national average value of 16.1 m2/kg LW and with arable land representing 97% to 99% of total land occupation. National average impacts associated with production of wholesale pork, including impacts from meat processing, were 184 ± 43 L fresh water consumption, 172 ± 53 L H2O-e stress-weighted water, 27 ± 2.6 MJ fossil fuel energy demand and 25.9 ± 5.5 m2 land/kg wholesale pork. Across all categories through to the wholesale product, resource use was highest from the production of feed inputs, indicating that improving feed conversion ratio is the most important production metric for reducing the resource use. Housing type and energy generation from manure management also influence resource use requirements and may offer improvement opportunities.

Additional keywords: agricultural systems LCA, water footprint.


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