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Economic evaluation of the environmental impact of a dairy cattle intensive production cluster under arid lands conditions

  • C. Navarrete-Molina (a1) (a2), C. A. Meza-Herrera (a1), J. J. Ramirez-Flores (a1), M. A. Herrera-Machuca (a2), N. Lopez-Villalobos (a3) (a4), M. A. Lopez-Santiago (a1) and F. G. Veliz-Deras (a5)...

Abstract

At a global level, dairy cow production systems (DCPS) are important sources of nourishment and profits, but they generate environmental impacts such as overexploitation of different resources including water, lands and fossil energy. Quantification of water and carbon footprint to define mitigation strategies and a more rational use of natural resources, is a reiterated claim. The aim of this study was to perform an economic evaluation of the environmental impact of the DCPS from the Comarca Lagunera, Mexico (24°N, 102°W, 220 mm, hot-semiarid climate) We contrasted the economic value (EV) generated by the DCPS with respect to the economic costs (EC) due to the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) and the water footprint (WFP) of this DCPS. While quantifications of GHGE considered those proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the WFP involved the use of blue, gray and green water by the DCPS and related activities. Quantification of the EC of WFP considered an international average price of water. In the year 2017, the Comarca Lagunera registered a dairy cow inventory of 493 144 heads, with 227 142 lactating cows, which produced 2386 million liters of milk per year with an annual average EV of €525.3 million. The EC (€, millions) generated by the GHGE and WFP were €311.8 and €11 980.7, respectively, with a total EC of € 12 292.5 million. When the EV of milk production and the total environmental EC are compared, the contrast demonstrates not only the noteworthy environmental impact but also the significant and senseless biological and EC. In addition, having a large dairy cow concentration creates pollution concerns and the DCPS transfers both nutrients and water resources from an ecologically vulnerable arid region. Therefore, some mitigation strategies such as, better cow genotype, feed and manure management combined with the production of forages and grains in a different geographical region are suggested to promote an optimum use of water in order to uphold the social, economic and biologic sustainability of the Comarca Lagunera, Mexico.

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Keywords

Economic evaluation of the environmental impact of a dairy cattle intensive production cluster under arid lands conditions

  • C. Navarrete-Molina (a1) (a2), C. A. Meza-Herrera (a1), J. J. Ramirez-Flores (a1), M. A. Herrera-Machuca (a2), N. Lopez-Villalobos (a3) (a4), M. A. Lopez-Santiago (a1) and F. G. Veliz-Deras (a5)...

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