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Agronomy 2018, 8(9), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8090190

District Scale GHG Emission Indicators for Canadian Field Crop and Livestock Production

1
Agro-Environmental Consultant, 122 Hexam Str., Cambridge, ON N3H 3Z9, Canada
2
Sustainable Agriculture Consultant, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A1, Canada
3
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 960 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1Y 4X2, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 August 2018 / Revised: 11 September 2018 / Accepted: 12 September 2018 / Published: 15 September 2018
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Abstract

The three main farm products from Canadian agriculture, i.e., proteins, vegetable oils, and carbohydrates, account for 98% of the land in annual crops in Canada. The intensities and efficiencies of these field crops in relation to their Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions were assessed for their value as land use change indicators. To facilitate spatial comparisons, this assessment was carried out at the Ecodistrict (ED) scale. The Unified Livestock Industry and Crop Emissions Estimation System (ULICEES) model was modified to operate at the ED scale, and used to quantify the GHG emission intensity of protein. GHG emissions were also calculated for plant products not used for livestock feed. The livestock GHG emissions and GHG-protein intensities estimated using ED scale inputs to ULICEES were reasonably close to GHG-protein intensities generated by the version of ULICEES driven by provincial scale census data. Carbohydrates were split into two groups, i.e., whether or not they supported livestock. Annual farm product data at 5-year intervals were used to generate GHG emissions from all farm operations. The range of GHG emissions from all farm operations in Western Canada was from 42 to 54 Mt CO2e between in 1991 and 2011, while GHG emissions from livestock ranged from 22 to 34 Mt CO2e over the same period. The Eastern Canadian GHG emissions from all farm operations declined gradually from 24 to 22 Mt CO2e over the period, with most of the eastern GHG emissions being from livestock. Ruminant livestock accounted for most of the livestock GHG emissions, particularly in the west. Provincial scale GHG emission efficiencies of the four farm product groups were assessed on a per-unit of GHG emissions basis for 2006. The most GHG-efficient province for protein was Ontario, whereas the most GHG-efficient province for all three plant products was Saskatchewan. The coastal provinces were the least GHG-efficient sources of all four farm product groups. View Full-Text
Keywords: greenhouse gas indicator; ecodistrict; protein; carbohydrates; vegetable oil; livestock; crop complex; emission intensity; emission efficiency; land use greenhouse gas indicator; ecodistrict; protein; carbohydrates; vegetable oil; livestock; crop complex; emission intensity; emission efficiency; land use
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Dyer, J.A.; Vergé, X.P.C.; Desjardins, R.L.; Worth, D.E. District Scale GHG Emission Indicators for Canadian Field Crop and Livestock Production. Agronomy 2018, 8, 190.

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