Marta Moura Kohmann, Range Cattle Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, Carlos Moreira Miquelino Eleto Torres, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida and Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Gainesville, FL, Clyde W. Fraisse, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL and Aline Pontes Lopes, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, Brazil
Agriculture activities are important source of greenhouse gases (GHG) in many countries. In 2008, agriculture accounted for nearly 6% of total U.S.GHG emissions. Therefore, determining carbon footprint of different crop and animal production systems has great significance. The objective of this study was to analyze the carbon footprint of typical agriculture production systems in Florida including mitigation strategies to simulate scenarios of carbon offset. The carbon footprints of a cow-calf operation, the production of wheat, peanut, cotton and corn were calculating using the methodologies described in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2006) along with the Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990 – 2006 methodologies. Also, the R Data Analysis Software was used for fast data analysis. Carbon fixation in pine forest plantation was estimated using data available in the literature. Different proportions of crops, cattle and forestry were analyzed to estimate a carbon neutral combination of production systems. Results show that an average size cow-calf operation ranch in Florida (55 ha, 50 heads) produces 214.8 t CO2eq year-1 or 3.9 t CO2eq ha-1 year-1. Considering that a Pinus elliotti plantation storages 11.1 t CO2eq ha-1 year -1, a rancher with a cow-calf operation offsets his GHG emissions when maintaining 19.3 ha of pine. In crop production systems, the use of fertilizer was the main source of emissions and the use of cover crops during the winter can be an alternative of mitigating GHG production.