LCA FOR AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES AND BIOBASED INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS
Life cycle assessment of oilseed crops produced in rotation
with dryland cereals in the inland Pacific Northwest
Sharath Kumar Ankathi
Dan S. Long
Hero T. Gollany
Received: 4 January 2018 /Accepted: 24 May 2018
Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018, corrected publication [July 2018]
Purpose Oilseed crops are expected to become an important feedstock for production of renewable jet fuel. The objective of this
study is to determine the life cycle energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of several 2- and 3-year crop rotations with
cereals and oilseeds in a low precipitation environment of the inland Pacific Northwest. The purpose is to ascertain whether
cropping intensification could improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions.
Methods A life cycle assessment (LCA) was carried out to evaluate the fossil energy and carbon footprint of nine cropping
systems characterized by different inputs applied to spring carinata [Brassica carinata (A.) Braun] and winter canola (B. napus
L.) in rotation with wheat (Triticum aevistum L.) and other cereal crops. Grain yield and field activity data from cropping systems
were acquired from a field experiment over a 5-year period. Gas emissions were measured weekly over 2 years using static
chamber methodology and laboratory gas chromatography. Inputs for the LCA regarding fertilizers, machinery fuel use, and
pesticides were from the field trials and literature for fuel use.
Results and discussion Emission results of winter wheat (WW) rotations are between 300 and 400 g CO
WW, in the
range for US average WW cropping emissions (i.e., 300–600gCO
WW). Reduced tillage fallow (RTF)-Winter oilseed
(WO)-RTF-WW and summer fallow (SF)-WW rotation were the most promising, from a trade-off of GHG emissions versus total
crop sales over 6 years per hectare with low emissions and high sales. The best oilseed result was 660 g CO
following RTF. Highest yields were observed when cereal or oilseed crops were planted following RTF. Efficiency in terms of
Energy Return on Energy Investment was 3.85 for winter oilseed yields 1338.9 kg ha
and 1.6 for spring oilseed yields
552.2 kg ha
Conclusions Compared to SF-WW, bioenergy oilseed cultivation may increase CO
equivalent emissions in 3-year cereal-based
rotations due to increased inputs with inclusion of fallow-substitution cultivation. Fossil energy inputs required to produce oilseed
crops were smaller than the total energy in final seed and thus oilseeds have the potential to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
Improving energy efficiency and encouraging adoption by growers will depend on ability to enhance agronomic performance
with higher yielding, drought and cold tolerant oilseed varieties.
The original version of this article was revised: Figure 12 and the
affiliation 3 got updated.
Responsible editor: Greg Thoma
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article
(https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-018-1488-y) contains supplementary
material, which is available to authorized users.
* Sharath Kumar Ankathi
* David Shonnard
Department of Chemical Engineering, Michigan Technological
University, Houghton, MI, USA
USDA-ARS, Soil and Water Conservation Research Unit,
Adams, OR, USA
Sustainable Futures Institute, Michigan Technological University,
Houghton, MI, USA
The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment