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Selected Publication:

Herzog, A; Winckler, C; Hortenhuber, S; Zollitsch, W.
(2021): Environmental impacts of implementing basket fans for heat abatement in dairy farms
ANIMAL. 2021; 15(7), 100274 FullText FullText_BOKU

Health and welfare impairments in dairy cows have been described to increase environmental impacts of milk production due to their negative effect on cow productivity. One of the welfare problems is heat stress, which is gaining importance even in temperate regions. While improving animal welfare may reduce emissions, the mitigation potential depends on the environmental costs associated with specific intervention measures. Taking abatement of heat stress as an example, the aim of the present study was to estimate the effect of implementing mechanical ventilation devices on the contribution potential of milk production to global warming (GWP), terrestrial acidification (TAP) and freshwater eutrophication (FEP). Environmental impacts of two modelled production systems located in alpine and lowland production areas of Austria were estimated before and after the implementation of basket fans, using life cycle assessment. Region-specific climate data were retrieved to determine the number of days with heat stress and to evaluate heat stress-induced productivity shortfalls in the baseline scenario (S-basic). In the intervention scenario with increased ventilation (S-vent), this decline was assumed to be eliminated due to the convective cooling effect of fans. For S-basic, mean GWP, TAP and FEP impacts were estimated at 1.2 +/- 0.09 kg CO2-, 21.1 +/- 1.44 g SO2- and 0.1 +/- 0.04 g P-equivalents per kg milk, respectively. Independent from the production system, in S-vent, implementation of fans did not result in significant environmental impact changes, except for FEP of the alpine system (+5.9%). The latter reflects the comparatively high environmental costs of additional cooling regarding FEP (+2.3%) in contrast to GWP (+0.4%) and TAP (+0.1%). In conclusion, the estimated overall effects of mechanical ventilation on GWP, TAP and FEP of milk production were minor and the model calculations point to the potential of heat stress abatement to at least outweigh the environmental costs associated with fan production and operation. To confirm this trend, further assessments are needed, which should be based on primary data regarding the effectiveness of fan cooling to improve cow productivity, and on emission calculation schemes that are sensitive to environmental factors such as wind speed and temperature. (C) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Animal Consortium.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Herzog Anna
Hörtenhuber Stefan
Winckler Christoph
Zollitsch Werner

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Global warming
Heat stress abatement
Mechanical ventilation

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