International Dairy Journal, Volume 31, April 2013,
This article presents a cradle-to-grave analysis of the United States fluid milk supply chain greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are accounted from fertilizer production through consumption and disposal of milk packaging. Crop production and on-farm GHG emissions were evaluated using public data and 536 farm operation surveys. Milk processing data were collected from 50 dairy plants nationwide. Retail and consumer GHG emissions were estimated from primary data, design estimates, and publicly available data. Total GHG emissions, based primarily on 2007 to 2008 data, were 2.05 (90% confidence limits: 1.77-2.4) kg CO2e per kg milk consumed, which accounted for loss of 12% at retail and an additional 20% loss at consumption. A complementary analysis showed the entire dairy sector contributes approximately 1.9% of US GHG emissions. While the largest GHG contributors are feed production, enteric methane, and manure management; there are opportunities to reduce impacts throughout the supply chain. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.