LCA of Milk Production Update

The Canadian Milk Production Lifecycle Assessment (LCA) Update conducted by Groupe AGECO and released in January 2019 assesses several environmental issues in milk production, including carbon footprint, water consumption, and land use. Its findings indicate that the Canadian dairy sector has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world!

The LCA update characterizes the environmental performance of Canadian milk production in 2016 and compares it with data from 2011. In 2012, the first Lifecycle Assessment of Milk Production was conducted and published under the Dairy Research Cluster (2010-2013) and integrated into a comprehensive online tool called Dairy Farms + under the Dairy Research Cluster 2 (2013-2018). Dairy Farms + is available to every Canadian dairy farmer for environmental self-assessment and benchmarking at DairyFarmsPlus.ca.

Informed by science, the LCA update results demonstrate that Canadian dairy farmers adopt practices that benefit the environment. Practices like more crop rotations, improved manure management, reduced tillage and precision agriculture techniques, as well as increased milk production per cow, show continuous improvements in these environmental profiles.

KEY FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

  • Milk produced in Canada has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world. A litre produced in Canada emits 0.94 kg CO2 eq, which is about 1/3 the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, compared to the global average. 
  • Carbon footprint, water consumption, and land use associated with milk production have decreased by 7%, 6%, and 11%, respectively, in the past five years.
  • As a result of improvements in animal nutrition, genetics, and housing, milk production per cow increased by 13% since 2011.
  • In 2016, Canadian milk production was responsible for generating only 1.3% of Canada’s total GHG emissions.

 

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More and More Evidence of Dairy’s Role in Prevention of Chronic Diseases

shutterstock_255113662The scientific evidence supporting the role of milk products in the prevention of chronic diseases continues to accumulate.

A list of the science-based articles available on DairyNutrition.ca includes information on Milk Products and Cardiovascular Diseases, Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, and more.Additionally, recent studies on dairy product consumption and Cardiovascular health and the prevention of Type 2 Diabetes report that:

  • Higher dairy intake is associated with a lower risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease. A study published in The Lancet in September 2018 led by Canadian researchers  involved 136,384 participants from 18 countries aged 35-70 years who were followed for a median of 9.1 years. Researchers found that consumption of >2 servings/d of whole-fat dairy (milk, yogurt and cheese) was associated with a 25% reduced risk of mortality and a 32% reduced risk of major cardiovascular disease (compared to intake of < 0.5 servings/d).

  • Consumption of dairy fat may confer protective effects against type 2 diabetes. A 2018 meta-analysis provides the strongest evidence to date for the association of certain fatty acids with reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study examined the association of type 2 diabetes with certain fatty acids (as measured in the blood and fat tissue), which are considered objective measures that reflect dairy fat intake.  The different fatty acids were associated with reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes from 19-45%.

For additional information on other topics, visit DairyNutrition.ca.