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1 December 2005 High Nitrogen Costs of Dairy Production in Europe: Worsened by Intensification
Marina Azzaroli Bleken, Håvard Steinshamn, Sissel Hansen
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Abstract

Intensification of agriculture has been proposed as one way of minimizing emissions per unit of product, apparently legitimizing the ongoing structural changes in agriculture. We have investigated the relationship between the farming intensity and the nitrogen (N) dissipation by calculating the overall N emission factor (E: total N surplus per unit of N in the produce) from several studies of dairy farms, covering a wide range of environments and production intensities. Fundamental steps were 1) the distinction between trophic levels, mineral, plant and animal N; and 2) the inclusion of N losses related to bought feed. The results show that E increases significantly with the production intensity of the dairy farm. The tradition for separate optimization of the animal and crop sectors may be a reason. We suggest that the N pollution can be mitigated by more extensive farming, both by re-coupling crop and animal production side by side, and by keeping land under cultivation when production is reduced.

Marina Azzaroli Bleken, Håvard Steinshamn, and Sissel Hansen "High Nitrogen Costs of Dairy Production in Europe: Worsened by Intensification," AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 34(8), 598-606, (1 December 2005). https://doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447-34.8.598
Received: 26 October 2004; Accepted: 1 June 2005; Published: 1 December 2005
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