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Article

Canola Meal versus Soybean Meal as Protein Supplements in the Diets of Lactating Dairy Cows Affects the Greenhouse Gas Intensity of Milk

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Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, AB T1J 4B1, Canada
2
Sherbrooke Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Sherbrooke, QC J1M 0C8, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Bartosz Kierończyk and Robert Mikuła
Animals 2021, 11(6), 1636; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061636
Received: 5 May 2021 / Revised: 26 May 2021 / Accepted: 27 May 2021 / Published: 31 May 2021
Soybean meal (SBM) and canola meal (CM) are routinely used as protein supplements in lactating dairy cow diets and an enteric methane-mitigating effect was recently reported for CM compared with SBM. Farm-gate life cycle assessments of milk production in eastern and western Canada were conducted to determine whether using CM rather than SBM in lactating dairy cow diets decreases greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) per kilogram of fat and protein corrected milk (GHG intensity), and whether the decrease in emission intensity of milk depends upon where the meals are produced. We concluded that protein source, location of producing the meals, and the methane-mitigating effect of CM influenced the GHG intensity of milk. CM was a GHG mitigation strategy, lowering GHG intensity of milk by up to 6.6% when it was produced in western Canada, with a low up-stream emission factor and a methane mitigating effect (i.e., low Ym value). We conclude that the emissions associated with imported protein sources affect whether they decrease the GHG intensity of milk production when included in lactating cow diets.
Soybean meal (SBM) and canola meal (CM) are protein supplements used in lactating dairy cow diets and, recently, an enteric methane-mitigating effect (i.e., lower Ym value) was reported for CM. Before recommending CM as a greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation strategy, it is necessary to examine the net impact on total GHG emissions from milk production. The objective was to determine whether using CM rather than SBM in lactating dairy cow diets decreases GHG per kilogram of fat and protein corrected milk (FPCM), and whether the decrease depends upon where the meals are produced. Cradle to farm-gate life cycle assessments were conducted for a simulated dairy farm in eastern (Quebec) and western (Alberta) Canada. Scenarios examined the source of protein meal, location where meals were produced, and the methane-mitigating effect of CM. The Holos model was used to estimate GHG emissions from animals, manure, crop production, imported feeds, and energy use. GHG intensities (CO2e/kg FPCM) were 0.85–1.02 in the east and 1.07–1.11 in the west for the various scenarios, with enteric methane comprising 34 to 40% of total emissions. CM produced in western Canada with a low up-stream emission factor and low Ym value reduced CO2e/kg FPCM by 3% (western farm) to 6.6% (eastern farm) compared with SBM. We conclude that using CM rather than SBM in the diet of lactating dairy cows can be a GHG mitigation strategy depending upon where it is produced and whether it decreases enteric methane emissions. View Full-Text
Keywords: agriculture; carbon footprint; dairy; enteric methane; greenhouse gas emissions; life cycle assessment; mitigation agriculture; carbon footprint; dairy; enteric methane; greenhouse gas emissions; life cycle assessment; mitigation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Holtshausen, L.; Benchaar, C.; Kröbel, R.; Beauchemin, K.A. Canola Meal versus Soybean Meal as Protein Supplements in the Diets of Lactating Dairy Cows Affects the Greenhouse Gas Intensity of Milk. Animals 2021, 11, 1636. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061636

AMA Style

Holtshausen L, Benchaar C, Kröbel R, Beauchemin KA. Canola Meal versus Soybean Meal as Protein Supplements in the Diets of Lactating Dairy Cows Affects the Greenhouse Gas Intensity of Milk. Animals. 2021; 11(6):1636. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061636

Chicago/Turabian Style

Holtshausen, Lucia, Chaouki Benchaar, Roland Kröbel, and Karen A. Beauchemin. 2021. "Canola Meal versus Soybean Meal as Protein Supplements in the Diets of Lactating Dairy Cows Affects the Greenhouse Gas Intensity of Milk" Animals 11, no. 6: 1636. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11061636

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