Agroscope FAL Reckenholz, Swiss Federal Research Station for Agroecology and Agriculture, Zurich-Reckenholz

Reference values for life cycle assessment of farms

Reference values are required to analyse life cycle assessments of farms. For this purpose 27 model farms were defined for Swiss agriculture, each representing a group of farms, classified by the farm type according to the typology developed by Agroscope FAT Tänikon, by the production region (lowlands, hill, mountains) and by the farming system (integrated, organic). Farm accountancies, extension documents, recommendations and expert knowledge were used for the definition of the farm data. Per area unit the environmental impact was favourable for farms with extensive production such as farms in the mountains, with suckling cows or organic production, and for arable farms, while pig fattening farms had high environmental impacts. Referring to the produced nutritional energy, a high proportion of plant production was environmentally better, extensive production was unfavourable. The results referring to the raw performance showed little differences. Energy consumption for 1 kg milk differed little between farm types and farming systems, but increased with altitude.

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