Energy Flow in Conventional Dairy Farms with Emphasis on CO2 Emission from Electricity Generation and Use of Technical Equipment and Machines

Document Type : Scientific - Research


1 ferdi

2 Ferdowsi university of mashhad


Energy is one of the most important commodities that make up a large proportion of international trade. Among all the countries in the world, Iran is known as semi-industrial developing country which is rich in energy such as non-renewable energy in particular fossil fuel. Use of energy affects the environment in various forms of pollution. In the agricultural sector, the FAO report states that livestock production has a major contribution to the world’s environmental problem (Sutton et al., 2011).
Materials and methods
This study analyzes energy flow and greenhouse gas emission in conventional dairy farms in Mazandaran province. The required data for this study was collected by conducting interviews and filling up questionnaires from 26 cattlemen. From the questionnaires, information on five inputs such as labor, livestock feeding, diesel fuel, electricity and technical equipment and machines as well as milk product for 159 dairy cattle was collected. Finally, energy productivity, efficiency and emissions of greenhouse gases were calculated for Methane (CH4), Nitrous Oxid (N2O) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
Results and discussion
The results indicated that total energy which has been used to produce one liter of milk was 27.745 Mega Jul. Livestock feeding and fuel were energy inputs that has been extensively consumed. In this relation, 47.4% and 28.5% of the total energy consumption were drawn from the livestock feeding and fuel, respectively. In the study conducted by Sainz (2003), livestock feeding with 70% of the total energy consumption was also found as the largest input in terms of consuming energy. Technical equipment with 22.8% of the total energy consumption was found the third place. A low proportion (0.8%) of the total energy consumption was drawn from labor. Electric power with 0.5% of the total energy consumption was placed at the last. Energy efficiency was measured at 0.257. The proportion of renewable and non-renewable energy in one-litter milk production was measured by 48.2% and 51.8%, respectively. The total greenhouse gas emitted toproduceone litter of milk is equal to 0.622 kg of carbon dioxide that is higher than the amount of carbon dioxide generated from dairy farms in the United States (Sainz, 2003), but lower than the amount produced by dairy farms in Portugal (Castanheira et al., 2010). For the European countries, the average of greenhouse gas emission generated from dairy farms was calculated about 0.45 carbon dioxide equivalent. Technical equipment, machines and fuel with generating 0.45 and 0.16 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent were the most contribution to greenhouse gas emission. According to the calculations, the two inputs emitted 72.3% and 25.7% of the total greenhouse gas emission in producing one litter of milk. Only 2% of the total greenhouse gas emission that is equal to 0.012 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent was created from electricity generation. In the United States, diesel fuel and electricity with a contribution of 27% to 40% of the total greenhouse gasemissions were realized as the most polluted inputs. Furthermore, in Ireland and Britain, the diesel fuel and electricity with producing 0.03 and 0.002 of carbon dioxide equivalent were realized as the most polluted inputs for producing one litter of milk. This suggests that diet re-formulation with special consideration to the output is an effective solution to the problem mentioned above. Considering technical equipment and fuel as the most pollutant inputs, transferring equipment from natural gas consumption to diesel consumption decreases both energy consumption and negative-environmental externalities.

Considering that the livestock feeding has the largest amount of energy consumption, thedairy cow feed formulation should be considered as the most important concern. In relation to diesel fuel, replacement of natural gas with diesel fuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a large extend


Almasi, M., Kiani, S.H., and Loymi, N. 2000. Foundations of Agricultural Mechanization. Forest Publications, Tehran, Iran. (In Persian)
Arghami, N., Sanjari, A., and Bozorgnia, A. 2010. Elementary survey sampling. Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran. (In Persian)
Bakhoda, H., Almassi, M., and Moharamnejad, N. 2012. Energy production trend in Iran and its effect on sustainable development. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 16: 1335-1339.
Beukes, P.C., Gregorini, P., Romera, A.J., Levy, G., and Waghorn, G.C. 2010. Improving production efficiency as a strategy to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions on pastoral dairy farms in New Zealand. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 136(3-4): 358-365.
Castanheira, É.G., Dias, A.C., Arroja, L., and Amaro, R. 2010. The environmental performance of milk production on a typical Portuguese dairy farm. Agricultural Systems 103(7): 498-507.
Christie, K.M., Rawnsley, R.P., and Eckard, R.J. 2011. A whole farm systems analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of 60 Tasmanian dairy farms. Animal Feed Science and Technology 166-167: 653-662.
Coley, D., Emma, G.A., and Macdiarmid, J. 1998. The embobied energy of food: The Role of Diet Energy Policy 26: 455-459.
Cornejo, C., and Wilkie, A.C. 2010. Greenhouse gas emissions and biogas potential from livestock in Ecuador. Energy for Sustainable Development 14(4): 256-266.
Divya, P.I., Prabu, M., Pandian, A.S.S., Senthilkumar, G., and Varathan, B.J. 2012. Energy use efficiency in dairy of Tamilnadu. Indian Journal of Energy 1(5).
Dyer, J.A., and Desjardins, R.L. 2003. Simulated farm fieldwork, energy consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Biosystems Engineering 85(4): 503-513.
Energy the Balance Sheet. 2008. Available at Web site (In Persian(
FAO. 2012. Food and Agricultural commodities production. Available at
Frorip.J., Kokin, E., Praks, J., Poikalainen, A.R.V., Veermäe, I., Lepasalu, L., and Schäfer, H.M. 2012. Energy consumption in animal production – case farm study. Agronomy Research Biosystem Engineering Special Issue 39-48.
Ghobadian, B. 2012. Liquid biofuels potential and outlook in Iran. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 16(7): 4379-4384.
Ghorbani, M., Darighani, A., Koocheki, A., and Motalebi, M. 2010. Estimated environmental costs of greenhouse gas emissions in dairy farms of Mashhad. Journal of Agricultural Economics and Development 17(66): 43-63. (In Persian with English Summary)
Hensen, A., Groot, T.T.W.C.M., Van Den Bulk, A.T., Vermeulen, J.E., Olesen, J.E., and Schelde, K. 2006. Dairy farm CH4 and N2O emissions, from one square metre to the full farm scale. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 112(2-3): 146-152.
Hosseini, S.E., Andwari, A.M., Wahid, M.A., and Bagheri, G. 2013. A review on green energy potentials in Iran. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 27: 533-545.
Jabro, J.D., Sainju, U., Stevens, W.B., and Evans, R.G. 2007. Carbon dioxide flux as affected by tillage and irrigation in soil converted from perennial forages to annual crops. Journal of Environmental management 88(4): 1478-1484.
Karbasi, A.R., Kalkanari, H., Bayani, A., Shaabanian, F., and Keidashti, M. 2014. Adverse environmental effects on tea in Chaboksar. National Conference of Engineering and Management for Sustainable Agricultural, Environment and Natural Resources, Hamedan, 13 March 2014. (In Persian)
Kitani, O.CIGR. 1999. Handbook of Agricultural Engineering. Energy and Biomass Engineering. ASAE Publications, St Joseph, MI.
Kraatz, S. 2012. Energy intensity in livestock operations- Modeling of dairy farming systems in Germany. Agricultural Systems 110: 90-106.
Kwon, O.S., Yun, W.C., and Hwan, D. 2006. Market value for thermal energy of cogeneration: using shadow price estimation applied to cogeneration systems in Korea, Energy Policy 33: 1789-1792.
Laegreid, M., Bockman, O.C., and Kaarstad, O. 1999. Agriculture, Fertilizers and the Environment. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, xxiv 294 pp.
Lal, R. 2004a. Soil carbon sequestrian impacts on global climate change and food security. Science 204: 1623-1627.
Lehtonen, H., Peltola, J., and Sinkkonen, M. 2006. Co-effects of climate policy and agricultural policy on regional agricultural viability in Finland. Agricultural System 88: 472-493.
Liang, S., Xu, M., and Zhang, T. 2013. Life cycle assessment of biodiesel production in China. Bioresource Technology 129: 72-77.
Maysami, M.J., Olbertz, H., and Ellmer, F. 2013. Energy Efficiency in Dairy Cattle Farming and Related Feed Production in Iran. Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.
Merino, A., Pe´rez-Batallo´n, P., and Macı´as, F. 2004. Responses of soil organic matter and greenhouse gas fluxes to soil management and land use changes in a humid temperate region of southern Europe. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 36: 917-925.
Meul, M., Nevens, F., Reheul, D., and Hofman, G. 2007. Energy use efficiency of specialised dairy, arable and pig farms in Flanders. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 119(1-2): 135-144.
MOE. 2003. Energy balance in Iran.
MOE. 2010. Energy balance in Iran.
Murty, M.N., Kumar, S., and Mahua, P. 2006. Environmental regulation productive efficiency and cost of pollution abatement, A case study of sugar industry in India. Journal of Environmental Management 79: 1-9.
Najafi, G., Ghobadian, B., and Yusaf, T.F. 2011. Algae as a sustainable energy source for biofuel production in Iran: A case study. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 15(8): 3870-3876.
O'Brien, D., Capper, J.L., Garnsworthy, P.C., Grainger, C., and Shalloo, L. 2014. A case study of the carbon footprint of milk from high-performing confinement and grass-based dairy farms. Journal of Dairy Science 97(3): 1835-1851.
Ozkan, B., Kurklu, A., and Akcaoz, H. 2004. An input–output energy analysis in greenhouse vegetable production: A case study for Antalya region of Turkey. Biomass and Bioenergy 26(1): 89-95.
Sainz, R.D. 2003. Livestock-environment initiative fossil fuels component: Framework for calculation fossil fuel use in livestock systems.
Sephidpari, P., Rafieei, S., and Akram, A. 2013. Compares of the energy consumption indexs and greenhouse gas emissions in industrial units of dairy cattle breeding and laying hens in Tehran. The First National Conference on Strategies for Achieving Sustainable Development, Tehran, Iran 6-7 March. (In Persian)
Shortall, O.K., and Barnes, A.P. 2013. Greenhouse gas emissions and the technical efficiency of dairy farmers. Ecological Indicators 29: 478-488.
Singh, S., and Mittal, J.P. 1992. Energy in Production Agriculture. Mittal Publication. New Delhi 163 pp.
Sohngen, B., and Mendelsohn, R. 2003. An optimal control model of forest carbon sequestration. American Journal of Agricultural Economic 85: 448-457.
The company optimize fuel consumption in Iran. 2011. National Iranian Oil Company.
Thoma, G., Popp, J., Nutter, D., Shonnard, D.R., Ulrich, M., Matlock, D.S., Kim, Z., Neiderman, N., Kemper, C., and Adom, F. 2013. Greenhouse gas emissions from milk production and consumption in the United States: A cradle-to-grave life cycle assessment circa 2008. International Dairy Journal 31: S3-S14.
Ubbels, J., and Bouman, S. 1979. The saving of energy when cooling milk and heating water on farms. International Journal of Refrigeration 2(1): 11-16.
Upton, J., Humphreys, J., Groot Koerkamp, P.W., French, P., Dillon, P., and DeBoer, I.J. 2013. Energy demand on dairy farms in Ireland. American Dairy Science Association 96(10): 6489-6498.
Wang, H., and Wheeler, D. 2000. Endogenous enforcement and effectiveness of China′s pollution levy system. Policy Research Working p. 2336.
Weiss, F., and Leip, A. 2012. Greenhouse gas emissions from the EU livestock sector: A life cycle assessment carried out with the CAPRI model. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 149: 124-134.
Wells, D. 2001. Total energy indicators of agricultural sustainability: Dairy farming case study- Technical paper, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Wellington. ISBN: 0-478-07968-0;
Yaldiz, O., Zeren, Y., and Bascetomcelik, A. 1993. Energy usage in production of field crops in Turkey. In Fifth International Congress on Mechanization and Energy Use in Agriculture, Kusadasi, Turkey, 11-14 October 1993.
Zalaghi, R., and landi, A. 2009. Evaluating carbonic greenhouse gases emission and organic carbon balance from soil under current agricultural land use 9(12): 2307-2312.
Zare Mehrjerdi, M., and Ziaabadi, M. 2011. Study of affecting factors energy use in Iran agriculture. Journal of Development and Investment 3(5): 133-153. (In Persian)