Development of a framework and tool to assess on-farm energy uses of cotton production

Chen, Guangnan and Baillie, Craig (2009) Development of a framework and tool to assess on-farm energy uses of cotton production. Energy Conversion and Management, 50 (5). pp. 1256-1263. ISSN 0196-8904

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Within highly mechanised agricultural productions systems such as the Australian cotton industry, operational
energy inputs represent a major cost to the growers. In this paper, a framework to assess the operational energy inputs of various production systems and the relative performance of a grower within an adopted system is developed. It divides energy usage of cotton production into six broadly distinct processes, including fallow, planting, in-crop, irrigation, harvesting and post harvest. This enables both the total energy inputs and the energy usage of each production processes to be assessed. This framework is later implemented and incorporated into an online energy assessment tool (EnergyCalc). Using the
developed software, seven farm audits are conducted. It is found that overall, depending on the management and operation methods adopted, the total energy inputs for these farms range from 3.7 to 15.2 GJ/ha of primary energy, which corresponds to $80–310/ha and 275–1404 kg CO2 equivalent/ha greenhouse gas emissions. Among all the farming practices, irrigation water energy use is found to be the highest and is typically 40–60% of total energy costs. Energy use of the harvesting operation is also
significant, accounting for approximately 20% of overall direct energy use. If a farmer moves from conventional
tillage to minimum tillage, there is a potential saving of around 10% of the overall fuel used on the farm. Compared with cotton, energy uses by other crops are generally much smaller, due to less intensive management practices, and reduced irrigation requirements.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher (Elsevier)
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2010 05:10
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:35
Uncontrolled Keywords: cotton; energy uses; farming processes; greenhouse gas emissions
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099901 Agricultural Engineering
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 82 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 8298 Environmentally Sustainable Plant Production > 829802 Management of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Plant Production
B Economic Development > 82 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 8203 Industrial Crops > 820301 Cotton
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.enconman.2009.01.022

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