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Life-cycle analysis of soybean meal, distiller-dried grains with solubles, and synthetic amino acid-based animal feeds for swine and poultry production

Benavides, P., H. Cai, M. Wang and N. Bajjalieh

Swine and poultry meat production are two important sectors in the U.S. economy. They play an important role in environmental sustainability because they contribute to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the result of agricultural and production activities. To improve the sustain- ability of swine and poultry meat production, it is important to understand the environmental effects and identify the key drivers of the production activities. In this work, we presented an environmental assessment of the production of swine (i.e., pork) and poultry (i.e., broiler chicken). We conducted a life-cycle analysis of formulating animal feeds using soybean meal, corn, distiller-dried grains with solubles (DDGS), and synthetic amino acids as candidate ingredients to produce swine and poultry. We evaluated GHG emissions, fossil fuel consumption, and water consumption from formulating and utilizing a variety of animal feeds based on these ingredients for swine and poultry production, using an expanded version of the Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation (GREET®) model. With pork and broiler chicken as the finished products, the functional unit was defined as one kg of live-weight animal at the farm gate. Feed production was the major contributor to the life-cycle GHG emissions (88 % and 91 % of the total GHG emissions for swine and poultry production, respectively) and fossil fuel consumption (79 % and 84 % of the total fossil fuel consumption for swine and poultry process, respectively).

Among the four ingredient types, amino acids had the biggest GHG emission footprint; however, DDGS had the largest effect on increasing GHG emissions of swine and poultry production.