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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Management and Conservation Practices to Improve Water Quality in Agroecosystems of the Northeastern Us

Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

Title: A look at the environmental footprints of beef production

item Rotz, Clarence
item Isenberg, Brianna -
item Stackhouse-Lawson, Kimberly -
item Pollak, Emil

Submitted to: American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 6, 2013
Publication Date: June 16, 2013
Citation: Rotz, C.A., Isenberg, B.J., Stackhouse-Lawson, K.R., Pollak, E.J. 2013. A look at the environmental footprints of beef production[Abstract]. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Paper No. 13-002.

Interpretive Summary: An interpretive summary is not required. akm

Technical Abstract: A methodology was developed and used to determine environmental footprints of beef produced at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (MARC) in Clay Center, Nebraska with the goal of quantifying improvements achieved over the past 40 years. A 25-year simulation of their current production system gave an average annual carbon footprint of 10.9+/-0.6 kg of CO2 equivalent units per kg BW sold, and the energy required to produce that beef (energy footprint) was 26.5+/-4.5 MJ/kg BW. The water footprint excluding precipitation was 2,790+/-910 liter/kg BW. Compared to 1970, the carbon footprint of the beef produced has decreased 6% with no change in the energy footprint, a 3% reduction in the reactive nitrogen footprint, and a 6% reduction in the real cost of production. The water footprint, excluding precipitation, has increased 42% due to greater use of irrigated corn production.

Last Modified: 9/1/2015
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