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TIAER and Tarleton State University published in MDPI

The works of The Texas Institute for Applied Environmental Research’s (TIAER), Dr. Narayanan Kannan, Research Scientist, Dr. Ali Saleh, Associate Director, and Tarleton State University’s College of Agricultural and Consumer Sciences Assistant Professor, Dr. Edward Osei have been published in the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI) - Energies Journal.  The group’s work, entitled Estimation of Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Transportation in Beef Cattle Production, describes the development and application of a model that estimates energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of transport in beef cattle production.

Because of the association with energy consumption and greenhouse emissions, accounting for the transportation in the beef cattle production is an important part of the life cycle analysis (LCA). This study is a part of the grazing CAP project (http://www.greatplainsgrazing.org/) with the goal of safeguarding and promoting regional beef production while mitigating its environmental footprint.

The animal transport model is based on weight and number of animals in each weight category, type of trailer, vehicle, and fuel used. The energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission estimates of animal feed transportation are based on the weight of a truckload and the number of truckloads of feed transported. Figure 1 displays the energy consumed for transportation in beef cattle production. 

bar graph

Figure 1.

Based on the results obtained, it appears that the majority of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are associated with sending the finished cattle to slaughterhouses (41%), followed by bringing feeder cattle to feedlots (38%).  The team concludes that switching truck fuel from conventional to biodiesel could result in 42%-78% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. A feedlot operator’s selection of the appropriate vehicle and trailer for transporting animals and animal feed appears to be critical to minimize energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  Table 1 shows opportunities for reducing energy and greenhouse gas emissions.

table

Table 1.

For more information about the study, contact TIAER at http://tiaer.tarleton.edu/contact.html  or (254) 968- 9567.  To view the publication in MDPI, visit: http://www.mdpi.com/1996-1073/9/11/960