Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Nitrogen use and food production in European regions from a global perspective
    Grinsven, H.J.M. van; Spiertz, J.H.J. ; Westhoek, H.J. ; Bouwman, A.F. ; Erisman, J.W. - \ 2014
    The Journal of Agricultural Science 152 (2014)S1. - ISSN 0021-8596 - p. 9 - 19.
    greenhouse-gas emissions - use efficiency - management-practices - nutrient management - climate-change - wheat yield - dairy farms - land-use - agriculture - systems
    Current production systems for crops, meat, dairy and bioenergy in the European Union (EU) rely strongly on the external input of nitrogen (N). These systems show a high productivity per unit of land. However, the drawback is a complex web of N pollution problems contributing in a major way to degradation of ecosystems. European Union Directives and national policies have improved nutrient management and reduced fertilizer N use in most European countries, which has curbed the N pollution trends particularly in regions with high stocking rates of animals. However, improvement is slowing down and environmental targets for N are not within reach. Building on the 2011 European Nitrogen Assessment, the current paper reviews key features of the complex relationships between N use and food production in Europe in order to develop novel options for a more N-efficient, less N-polluting and secure European food system. One option is to relocate feed and livestock production from Northwestern to Central and Eastern Europe. This would allow a reduction of N rates and N pollution in cereal production in Northwest Europe by 30% (50 kg N/ha), while increasing total cereal production in Europe. Another option is a change towards legume-based cropping systems to produce animal feed, in order to decrease dependence on N fertilizer and feed imports. The greatest challenge for Europe is to decrease the demand for feed commodities, and thus for land and N, by a shift to more balanced (and healthier) diets with less animal protein. These drastic changes can be stimulated by targeted public–private research funding, while the actual implementation can be enhanced by smart payment schemes using, for example money from the Common Agricultural Policy, certification and agreements between stakeholders and players in the food and energy chain. Involving networks of consumers, producers and non-governmental organizations is critical. An effective strategy starts with convincing consumers with aWestern diet to eat less meat and dairy by communicating the associated health benefits and smaller ecological footprints. Internalizing the cost of N pollution leading to increased prices for N-intensive food products may also enhance involvement of consumers and provide financial resources to compensate farmers for loss of income and extra costs for stricter N measures.
    The effect of reducing meat and dairy consumption in the EU on nitrogen emissions
    Westhoek, H.J. ; Marco, A. De; Leip, A. ; Lesschen, J.P. ; Murphy-Bokem, D. ; Wagner, S. ; Rood, G.A. - \ 2012
    The nitrogen footprint of European food production
    Lesschen, J.P. ; Leip, A. ; Wagner, S. ; Westhoek, H.J. ; Oenema, O. - \ 2012
    In: Proceedings of the 17th Nitrogen Workshop - Innovations for sustainable use of nitrogen resources, Wexford, Ireland, 26-29 June 2012. - Wexford, Ireland : - p. 398 - 399.
    Greenhouse gas emission profiles of European livestock sectors (oral presentation)
    Lesschen, J.P. ; Berg, M. van den; Westhoek, H.J. ; Witzke, H.P. ; Velthof, G.L. ; Oenema, O. - \ 2011
    Greenhouse gas emission profiles of European livestock sectors
    Lesschen, J.P. ; Berg, M. van den; Westhoek, H.J. ; Witzke, H.P. ; Oenema, O. - \ 2011
    Animal Feed Science and Technology 166-167 (2011). - ISSN 0377-8401 - p. 16 - 28.
    milk-production - dairy farms - management - nitrogen - deforestation - agriculture - strategies - losses - energy - meat
    There are increasing concerns about the ecological footprint of global animal production. Expanding livestock sectors worldwide contribute to expansion of agricultural land and associated deforestation, emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), eutrophication of surface waters and nutrient imbalances. Farm based studies indicate that there are large differences among farms in animal productivity and environmental performance. Here, we report on regional variations in dairy, beef, pork, poultry and egg production, and related GHG emissions in the 27 Member States of the European Union (EU-27), based on 2003–2005 data. Analyses were made with the MITERRA-Europe model which calculates annual nutrient flows and GHG emissions from agriculture in the EU-27. Main input data were derived from CAPRI (i.e., crop areas, livestock distribution, feed inputs), GAINS (i.e., animal numbers, excretion factors, NH3 emission factors), FAO statistics (i.e., crop yields, fertilizer consumption, animal production) and IPCC (i.e., CH4, N2O, CO2 emission factors). Sources of GHG emissions included were enteric fermentation, manure management, direct and indirect N2O soil emissions, cultivation of organic soils, liming, fossil fuel use and fertilizer production. The dairy sector had the highest GHG emission in the EU-27, with annual emission of 195 Tg CO2-eq, followed by the beef sector with 192 Tg CO2-eq. Enteric fermentation was the main source of GHG emissions in the European livestock sector (36%) followed by N2O soil emissions (28%). On a per kg product basis, beef had by far the highest GHG emission with 22.6 kg CO2-eq/kg, milk had an emission of 1.3 kg CO2-eq/kg, pork 3.5 kg CO2-eq/kg, poultry 1.6 kg CO2-eq/kg, and eggs 1.7 kg CO2-eq/kg. However large variations in GHG emissions per unit product exist among EU countries, which are due to differences in animal production systems, feed types and nutrient use efficiencies. There are, however, substantial uncertainties in the base data and applied methodology such as assumptions surrounding allocation of feeds to livestock species. Our results provide insight into differences in GHG sources and emissions among animal production sectors for the various regions of Europe.
    Livestock and greenhouse gas emissions: The importance of getting the numbers right
    Herrero, M. ; Gerber, P. ; Vellinga, Th.V. ; Garnett, T. ; Leip, A. ; Opio, C. ; Westhoek, H.J. ; Thornton, P.K. ; Olesen, J. ; Hutchings, N. ; Montgomery, H. ; Soussana, J.F. ; Steinfeld, H. ; McAllister, T.A. - \ 2011
    Animal Feed Science and Technology 166-167 (2011). - ISSN 0377-8401 - p. 779 - 782.
    Estimates of global greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions attributable to livestock range from 8 to 51%. This variability creates confusion among policy makers and the public as it suggests that there is a lack of consensus among scientists with regard to the contribution of livestock to global GHG emissions. In reality, estimates of international scientific organizations such as the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are in close agreement, with variation mainly arising on how GHG emissions are allocated to land use and land use change. Other estimates involve major deviations from international protocols, such as estimated global warming potential of CH4 or including respired CO2 in GHG emissions. These approaches also fail to differentiate short-term CO2 arising from oxidation of plant C by ruminants from CO2 released from fixed fossil C through combustion. These deviances from internationally accepted protocols create confusion and direct attention from anthropomorphic practices which have the most important contribution to global GHG emissions. Global estimates of livestock GHG emissions are most reliable when they are generated by internationally recognized scientific panels with expertise across a range of disciplines, and with no preconceived bias to particular outcomes
    Quickscan opbrengsten en efficiëntie in de gangbare en biologische akkerbouw, melkveehouderij , varkenshouderij en pluimveehouderij : deelstudie van project ‘Duurzame Eiwitvoorziening’
    Oenema, O. ; Bikker, P. ; Harn, J. van; Smolders, E.A.A. ; Sebek, L.B. ; Berg, M. ; Stehfest, E. ; Westhoek, H.J. - \ 2010
    Wageningen : Wettelijke Onderzoekstaken Natuur & Milieu (WOt-werkdocument 182)
    opbrengsten - gewasopbrengst - akkerbouw - biologische landbouw - melkveehouderij - varkenshouderij - pluimveehouderij - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - yields - crop yield - arable farming - organic farming - dairy farming - pig farming - poultry farming - sustainability
    De centrale onderzoeksvraag van onderhavige studie is als volgt geformuleerd: “Wat zijn de gemiddelde verschillen in gewasopbrengsten en in dierlijke productie (kg per ha per jaar) tussen gangbare en biologische landbouw, en waardoor worden deze verschillen veroorzaakt?” Het blijkt niet eenvoudig te zijn om een zuivere vergelijking te maken, omdat er verschillen zijn in soorten en – variëteiten, in bouwplannen en voorvruchten, in doelstellingen en in bedrijfssystemen tussen biologische en gangbare landbouw. Een vergelijking tussen opbrengsten en efficiëntie van biologische en gangbare landbouw kan daarom gekarakteriseerd worden als een vergelijking tussen appels en peren.
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