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Assessing energy efficiencies, economy, and global warming potential (GWP) effects of major crop production systems in Iran: a case study in East Azerbaijan province


Efficient use of energy in farming systems is one of the most important implications for decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and mitigating global warming (GW). This paper describes the energy use patterns, analyze the economics, and report global warming potential effects of major crop production systems in East Azerbaijan province, Iran. For this purpose, 110 farmers whose main activity was major crop production in the region, including wheat, barley, carrot, tomato, onion, potato, alfalfa, corn silage, canola, and saffron, were surveyed. Some other data was obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture Jihad of Iran. Results showed that, in terms of total energy input, onion (87,556 Mj ha−1) and potato (80,869 Mj ha−1) production systems were more energy-intensive than other crops. Among the studied crops, the highest values of net return (6563.8 $ ha−1) and benefit/cost ratio (1.95) were related to carrot and corn silage production systems, respectively. Studies have also shown that onion and saffron production systems emit the highest (5332.6 kg CO2eq ha−1) and lowest (646.24 kg CO2eq ha−1) CO2 eq. emission, respectively. When it was averaged across crops, diesel fuel accounted for the greatest GHG contribution with 43% of the total, followed by electric power (28%) and nitrogen fertilizer (21%). In the present study, eco-efficiency was calculated as a ratio of the gross production value and global warming potential effect for the studied crops. Out of all the studied crops, the highest values of eco-efficiency were calculated to be 8.65 $ kg CO2eq−1 for the saffron production system followed by the carrot (3.65 $ kg CO2eq−1) production. Generally, from the aspect of energy balance and use efficiency, the alfalfa production system was the best; however, from an economical point of view, the carrot production system was better than the other crops.

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Correspondence to Abdolmajid Mahdavi Damghani.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Mohammadzadeh, A., Mahdavi Damghani, A., Vafabakhsh, J. et al. Assessing energy efficiencies, economy, and global warming potential (GWP) effects of major crop production systems in Iran: a case study in East Azerbaijan province. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 16971–16984 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9253-5

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  • Eco-efficiency
  • GHG
  • CO2
  • Crop production
  • Energy