What are the best uses of cotton and canola by-products for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions?

What are the best uses of cotton and canola by-products for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions?

Whole farm systems analysis from the WFSAM project

Researchers compared options for utilising the by-products of cotton (whole cotton seed) and canola (canola oil) production in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. The alternative uses for the by-products were: 

  • As cattle feed, with cottonseed meal and canola meal shown to reduce enteric methane emissions (although there is large variation between studies in the amount of reduction)
  • Conversion into biofuel, as an alternative to diesel.

Feeding canola oil (as canola meal) to cattle was estimated to result in a net increase in GHG. However, there was an overall reduction in GHG from the combination of converting canola oil into biodiesel and feeding the canola meal to cattle.

The net reductions in GHG emissions from converting cottonseed oil into biodiesel were generally greater than the reductions in emissions from feeding the oil as a supplement to cattle. However, the distances that the oil feeds fed to cattle, or that the biodiesel were required transporting to end use was a major determinant of whether there was a net reduction in GHG, with the breakeven estimated at 381 km.

Primary researchers

  • Cameron Ludemann, University of Melbourne

Publications

Ludemann CI, Howden SM, Eckard RJ (2016). What is the best use of oil from cotton (Gossypium spp.) and canola (Brassica spp.) for reducing net greenhouse gas emissions: biodiesel, or as a feed for cattle? Animal Production Science, 56, 442–450, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN15453.

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