Relationships between Farm Productivity, Profitability, N Leaching and GHG Emissions: A Modelling Approach
Duncan Smeaton ,
Robin Dynes ,
The financial and environmental performance of a typical dairy and sheep/beef farm under contrasting inputs and systems were modelled to test associations between productivity, profitability, nitrogen (N) leaching and green house gas (GHG) emissions. GHG emissions and N leaching were found to be closely correlated (R2 > 0.90) but the correlation between these two emissions items and production and/or profit was less so, suggesting that systems that are both profitable and have a modest emissions output should be possible.
The reasons why farmers have not already adopted these systems are complex but could include any of:
requirement of higher level of managerial skill,
incompatibility with farm soil type or contour,
increased risk and capital cost to convert to the new system.
Any system that involves improvements in animal efficiency is associated with a reduction in emissions per kg of saleable product.