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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering >> 2022, Volume 9, Issue 2 doi: 10.15302/J-FASE-2021435

AGRI-ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE BIOENERGY CROPPING SYSTEMS PROMOTING BIOMASS PRODUCTIVITY

1. UniLaSalle Polytechnic Institute, AGHYLE (SFR Condorcet FR CNRS 3417), 19 rue Pierre Waguet, 60026 Beauvais, France

2. UniLaSalle Polytechnic Institute, InTerACT (UP 2018.C102), 19 rue Pierre Waguet, 60026 Beauvais, France

3. Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, Via delle Scienze 206, 33100, Udine, Italy

4. Agro-Transfert Ressources et Territoires, 2 Chaussée de Brunehaut, 80200 Estrées Mons, France

Available online:2022-04-11

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Abstract

Bioenergy, currently the largest renewable energy source in the EU (64% of the total renewable energy consumption), has sparked great interest to meet the 32% renewable resources for the 2030 bioeconomy goal. The design of innovative cropping systems informed by bioeconomy imperatives requires the evaluate of the effects of introducing crops for bioenergy into conventional crop rotations. This study aimed to assess the impacts of changes in conventional cropping systems in mixed dairy cattle farms redesigned to introduce bioenergy crops either by increasing the biomass production through an increase of cover crops, while keeping main feed/food crops, or by substituting food crops with an increase of the crop rotation length. The assessment is based on the comparison between conventional and innovative systems oriented to feed and biogas production, with and without tillage, to evaluate their agri-environmental performances (biomass production, nitrogen fertilization autonomy, greenhouse gas emissions and biogas production). The result showed higher values in the biogas cropping system than in the conventional and feed ones for all indicators, biomass productivity (27% and 20% higher, respectively), nitrogen fertilization autonomy (26% and 73% higher, respectively), methanogenic potential (77% and 41% higher, respectively) and greenhouse gas emissions (15% and 3% higher, respectively). There were no negative impacts of no-till compared to the tillage practice, for all tested variables. The biogas cropping system showed a better potential in terms of agri-environmental performance, although its greenhouse gas emissions were higher. Consequently, it would be appropriate to undertake a multicriteria assessment integrating agri-environmental, economic and social performances.

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