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Research Article

Academia Journal of Scientific Research 6(5): 194-203, May 2018
DOI: 10.15413/ajsr.2018.0183
ISSN: 2315-7712
2018 Academia Publishing 




Farm level estimation of greenhouse gas emissions: A case study on a farm in the Central Upper Karoo, RSA

Accepted 15th January, 2018

Philemon Thokozani Ngala

Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute, Private Bag X529, Middelburg (EC), South Africa.

The livestock industry has a role to play in ensuring responsible agricultural practices to reduce Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions because climate change also affects the sustainability of the industry itself. It is mostly at the production level that effective measures to reduce emissions can be taken. However, at the farm level, most farmers do not have the means or tools to evaluate their emissions so that they can adopt management strategies accordingly. The aim of this study therefore, was to evaluate the potential for farm level estimation of GHG emissions and develop a user-friendly, cost-effective and reliable tool that can be used at farm level. A case-study approach was followed and process mapping was conducted as a basis for the evaluation of the selected farm’s GHG emissions. Significant GHG aspects were identified from the inputs, processes and outputs on the farm. The equations, emission factors and other estimates from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2006) guidelines and Du Toit et al. (2013), were used for the estimation of the GHG emissions emanating directly from livestock activities on the farm. Other sources including data from Eskom, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) were used for emissions resulting from energy use and fertiliser application. The results were used to evaluate the potential and practicality of developing an estimation tool for use at a farm situation. The synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, electricity and fuel were identified as the largest sources of emissions associated with on-farm feed/crop production. It can be concluded that greenhouse gas emissions can be managed at farm level using a simple and cost effective method that will contribute to more effective management of emissions on farms. In terms of overall emissions from the different emission aspects, enteric fermentation emission had the largest share of the total farm emissions followed by energy use. The Nguni cattle on the farm had the largest contribution of the total farm emissions from the animal categories on the farm. The different sources were categorised as energy use, enteric fermentation, managed soils, manure management and other sources to be included in the estimation model because of their significance on GHG emissions on the farm. The farm level approaches will go a long way towards meeting the national and even the global goal of reducing emissions from the livestock sector.

Key words: Climate change, farm carbon footprint, GHG, estimation model, emission factors, process mapping, GHG aspects.


This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Cite this article as:
Ngala PT (2018). Farm level estimation of greenhouse gas emissions: A case study on a farm in the Central Upper Karoo, RSA. Acad. J. Sci. Res. 6(5): 194-203.

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