Life cycle assessment to compare the environmental impacts of different wheat production systems

Taki, Morteza and Soheili-Fard, Farshad and Rohani, Abbas and Chen, Guangnan (2018) Life cycle assessment to compare the environmental impacts of different wheat production systems. Journal of Cleaner Production, 197 (1). pp. 195-207. ISSN 0959-6526


The share of fossil-based resources in the implementation of agricultural activities in Iran is very high. In
this context, it is important to determine the environmental impacts of energy use in agricultural activities. The purpose of this study was to evaluate and compare the energy consumption and total environmental impacts of irrigated and rainfed wheat production in central Iran, Mahyar plain. For this purpose, data were collected from 120 irrigated and 90 rainfed wheat farms in three different farm size (<2 ha, 2e4 ha and more than 4 ha), through questionnaires and site visits. In this study, standard ISO life cycle assessment methodology was used to evaluate the total impact of all consuming inputs on environmental pollution and show the main hotspot in the production chain. Results of energy analyses showed that large farms used more energy per unit of farm land than that of small farms. Farmers also used higher input energy for irrigated wheat in comparison with rainfed system. The overall energy use efficiency for per unit farm of irrigated wheat production was only half of rainfed wheat production. Results of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) models show that rainfed wheat actually produced more pollution
than irrigated wheat production because of lower yield in ha. In this study, the rate of Abiotic Depletion
(AD) and Acidification (AC) impact were 0.002e0.003 kg Sb eq and 8.991e11.863 kg SO2 eq for wheat production (irrigated and reainfed), respectively. Also the Ozone Layer Depletion (OLD) and Photochemical Oxidation (PO) were calculated 0.00002e0.00004 kg CFC11 eq and 0.145e0.174 kg C2H4 eq for wheat production (irrigated and reainfed), respectively. The results showed that the main hotspots for
irrigated and rainfed wheat production were chemical fertilizers and diesel fuel. Based on the results, it is
suggested to use more intensive cropping systems (such as solar greenhouse) to decrease the intensity of
input energy and increase the output level of productions with minimum environmental pollution.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version embargoed until 1 Oct 2019 (12 months), in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2018 00:27
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2019 02:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: sustainable agriculture; wheat production; energy consumption; environmental analysis
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.06.173

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