Next Article in Journal
Acupuncture Points of the Horse’s Distal Thoracic Limb: A Neuroanatomic Approach to the Transposition of Traditional Points
Next Article in Special Issue
The Influence of Climate, Soil and Pasture Type on Productivity and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Intensity of Modeled Beef Cow-Calf Grazing Systems in Southern Australia
Previous Article in Journal
Gold Bead Implantation in Acupoints for Coxofemoral Arthrosis in Dogs: Method Description and Adverse Effects
Previous Article in Special Issue
Whole Farm Net Greenhouse Gas Abatement from Establishing Kikuyu-Based Perennial Pastures in South-Western Australia
Open AccessArticle

A Greenhouse Gas and Soil Carbon Model for Estimating the Carbon Footprint of Livestock Production in Canada

AAFC Consultant, Ottawa, ON, K2A 1G6, Canada
AAFC Consultant, Cambridge, ON, N3H 3Z9, Canada
Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Ottawa, ON, K1A 0C6, Canada
Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Swift Current, SA, S9H 3X2, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2012, 2(3), 437-454;
Received: 12 June 2012 / Revised: 21 August 2012 / Accepted: 27 August 2012 / Published: 4 September 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
We developed a model to estimate the carbon footprint of Canadian livestock production. To include long term soil carbon storage and loss potential we introduced a payback period concept. The model was tested by reallocating 10% only of the protein production from a ruminant to a non ruminant source to minimize the risk of including rangeland or marginal lands. This displacement generated residual land which was found to play a major role in the potential mitigation of GHG emissions. The model will allow land use policies aimed at reducing the agricultural GHG emissions to be assessed.
To assess tradeoffs between environmental sustainability and changes in food production on agricultural land in Canada the Unified Livestock Industry and Crop Emissions Estimation System (ULICEES) was developed. It incorporates four livestock specific GHG assessments in a single model. To demonstrate the application of ULICEES, 10% of beef cattle protein production was assumed to be displaced with an equivalent amount of pork protein. Without accounting for the loss of soil carbon, this 10% shift reduced GHG emissions by 2.5 TgCO2e y−1. The payback period was defined as the number of years required for a GHG reduction to equal soil carbon lost from the associated land use shift. A payback period that is shorter than 40 years represents a net long term decrease in GHG emissions. Displacing beef cattle with hogs resulted in a surplus area of forage. When this residual land was left in ungrazed perennial forage, the payback periods were less than 4 years and when it was reseeded to annual crops, they were equal to or less than 40 years. They were generally greater than 40 years when this land was used to raise cattle. Agricultural GHG mitigation policies will inevitably involve a trade-off between production, land use and GHG emission reduction. ULICEES is a model that can objectively assess these trade-offs for Canadian agriculture. View Full-Text
Keywords: greenhouse gas; soil carbon; carbon footprint; payback period; beef; pork greenhouse gas; soil carbon; carbon footprint; payback period; beef; pork
MDPI and ACS Style

Vergé, X.P.; Dyer, J.A.; Worth, D.E.; Smith, W.N.; Desjardins, R.L.; McConkey, B.G. A Greenhouse Gas and Soil Carbon Model for Estimating the Carbon Footprint of Livestock Production in Canada. Animals 2012, 2, 437-454.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Article Access Map by Country/Region

Only visits after 24 November 2015 are recorded.
Back to TopTop