Supplementary materials-Impact of nitrate and 3-nitrooxypropanol on the carbon footprint of milk from cattle produced in confined-feeding systems across regions in the United States: A life cycle analysis

Published: 10 March 2022| Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/55s6mczd9r.2


It is estimated that enteric methane (CH4) contributes about 70% of all livestock greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Several studies indicated that feed additives such as 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP) and nitrate have great potential to reduce enteric emissions. The objective of this study was to determine the net effects of 3-NOP and nitrate on farmgate milk carbon footprint across various regions of the United States and to determine the variability of carbon footprint. A cradle-to-farmgate life cycle assessment was performed to determine regional and national carbon footprint to produce 1 kg of fat- and protein-corrected milk (FPCM). Records from 1,355 farms across 37 states included information on herd structure, milk production and composition, cattle diets, manure management, and farm energy. Enteric CH4, manure CH4, and nitrous oxide were calculated with either the widely used Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Tier 2 or region-specific equations available in the literature. Emissions were allocated between milk and meat using a biophysical allocation method. Impacts of nitrate and 3-NOP on baseline regional and national carbon footprint were accounted for using equations adjusted for dry matter intake and neutral detergent fiber. Uncertainty analysis of carbon footprint was performed using Monte Carlo simulations to capture variability due to inputs data. Overall, the milk carbon footprint for the baseline, nitrate, and 3-NOP scenarios were 1.14, 1.09 (4.8% reduction), and 1.01 (12% reduction) kg of CO2- equivalents (CO2-eq)/kg of FPCM across US regions. The greatest carbon footprint for the baseline scenario was in the Southeast (1.26 kg of CO2-eq/kg of FPCM) and lowest for the West region (1.02 kg of CO2-eq/kg of FPCM). Enteric CH4 reductions were 12.4 and 31.0% for the nitrate and 3-NOP scenarios, respectively. The uncertainty analysis showed that carbon footprint values ranged widely (0.88–1.52 and 0.56–1.84 kg of CO2- eq/kg of FPCM within 1 and 2 standard deviations, respectively), suggesting the importance of site-specific estimates of carbon footprint. Considering that 101 billion kilograms of milk was produced by the US dairy industry in 2020, the potential net reductions of GHG from the baseline 117 billion kilograms of CO2-eq were 5.6 and 13.9 billion kilograms of CO2-eq for the nitrate and 3-NOP scenarios, respectively.



Milk, Dairy Cattle, United States of America, Life Cycle Assessment, Carbon Footprint