, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 753-764
Date: 09 Jan 2014

Energy Requirements and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Maize Production in the USA

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Abstract

This meta-study quantitatively and qualitatively compares 21 published life cycle assessment (LCA)-type studies for energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of maize production in the USA. Differences between the methodologies and numerical results obtained are described. Nonrenewable energy consumption in maize production (from cradle-to-farm gate) ranges from 1.44 to 3.50 MJ/kg of maize, and GHG emissions associated with maize production range from −27 to 436 g CO2 equivalent/kg of maize. Large variations between studies exist within the input data for lime application, fuels purchased, and life cycle inventory data for fertilizer and agrochemical production. Although most studies use similar methodological approaches, major differences between studies include the following: (1) impacts associated with human labor and farm machinery production, (2) changes in carbon dioxide emissions resulting from soil organic carbon levels, and (3) indirect N2O emissions.