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ARS Home » Northeast Area » University Park, Pennsylvania » Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #313436

Title: Environmental footprints of beef production in the Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas region

item Rotz, Clarence - Al
item Asem-Hiablie, Senorpe
item STACKHOUSE-LAWSON, KIM - National Cattlemen'S Beef Association (NCBA)

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/22/2015
Publication Date: 8/20/2015
Citation: Rotz, C.A., Asem-Hiablie, S., Stackhouse-Lawson, K. 2015. Environmental footprints of beef production in the Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas region. Meeting Proceedings. p. 73053.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The U.S. beef industry is conducting a comprehensive national assessment of the sustainability of beef. Kansas and Texas are the first of seven regions to be analyzed. A survey conducted throughout the region provided data on common production practices. From this data, representative ranch and feedyard operations were defined and simulated for the climate and soil conditions throughout the region using the Integrated Farm System Model. These simulations predicted environmental impacts of each operation including farm-gate carbon, energy, water and reactive nitrogen footprints. Ranch and feedyard operations were linked to form 28 representative production systems. A weighted average of the production systems was used to determine the environmental footprints for the region where weighting factors were determined based upon animal numbers determined through national agricultural statistics and survey data. Along with the traditional beef production systems, Holstein steers and cull animals from the dairy industry in the region were also included. The carbon footprint of beef produced was 18.4 ± 1.7 kg CO2e/kg carcass weight (CW) with the range in individual production systems being 13.0 to 25.4 kg CO2e/kg CW. Footprints for fossil energy use, non precipitation water use, and reactive nitrogen loss were 51 ± 4.8 MJ/kg CW, 2450 ± 450 liters/kg CW and 138 ± 12 g N/kg CW, respectively. This information will be combined with processing, marketing and consumer data to complete a comprehensive life cycle assessment of beef production and use for the region.