Delta LCA of regenerative agriculture in a sheep farming system

Tracey Anne Colley*, Stig Irving Olsen, Morten Birkved, Michael Zwicky Hauschild

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Regenerative agriculture is being used by a small numbers of innovative farmers in Australia and elsewhere, and uses a range of holistic methods that works with the land and climate, such as short duration time controlled grazing with long rest periods for the paddock and higher proportions of above ground biomass, to improve soil health and farm profitability. This paper uses a delta life cycle assessment focusing only on the differences between regenerative and conventional production systems to assess the potential impact of regenerative agriculture on a full range of midpoint impact categories and end point areas of protection for an extensive sheep system in Australia. It assesses the potential improvement to the water, carbon and biodiversity footprints of sheep production, and finds that regenerative agriculture has the potential to improve environmental performance compared to current industrial agricultural practices. In particular, there seems to be considerable potential to offset a significant proportion of the on‐farm climate change impacts through a combination of biosequestration in soils and above ground biomass and using harvested biomass to offset fossil fuel use. The assessment highlights the need for additional data to confirm the findings and the potential contribution that regenerative agriculture can make to sustainability of ruminant livestock production.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIntegrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Volume16
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)282-290
ISSN1551-3777
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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