Economic and Environmental Sustainability of the Dairy Industry: A Case Study
Ghaly, A. E.*, A. Snow, and M. Adams
Biological Engineering Program
Department of Process Engineering and Applied Sciences
Dalhousie University
P.O. Box 1000
1360 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada B3J 2X4
* Tel 902-494-6014   Fax: 902-423-2423    abdel.ghaly@dal.ca
Modern civilization and its economy have become dependent upon a prodigious consumption of energy derived from the burning of fossil fuels. These traditional sources of energy, which we rely on for 80 percent of our needs, are rapidly depleting. Our population is growing and the demand for energy is increasing rapidly. Energy price and security of supply and their effects on the production cost have been of increasing concern to Canadian farmers. The amount of energy related costs as a proportion of the total operating costs can be as high as 29 % in areas where field crop production predominates. Thus, the increase in the real cost of energy related inputs has been one of the major factors impacting the cost of the agricultural production.

 However, agriculture has the potential for replacing some of the purchased energy in the form of fossil fuels, commercial fertilizer and field produced animal feed with bioenergy, organic fertilizer and animal feed from on-site renewable biomass in order to economically and environmentally sustain itself. Such biomass sources could be the manures from livestock and poultry operations. Fuels from these biomass materials could be used for space and water heating of farm houses and animal shelters, grain drying and as fuels for heating greenhouses, with their high energy demands in cold weather. The latter is particularly important if Canada is to reduce its imports of horticultural off-season crops. Recovery of organic fertilizers and animal feeds will not only reduce the operating costs of agricultural operations but also will help sustain the environment in which it operates and relies upon. Through the presentation of a case study in Nova Scotia, the application of integrated biosystems (IBS) and environmental biotechnology, environmental and economic sustainability of dairy operations will be highlighted.




All Submissions
7:00 AM-5:00 PM, Thursday, 20 October 2005, Oral

The Nova Scotia, Canada 2005 Meeting