Carbon Footprint of Poultry Farms in South Georgia: A Case Study

Based on information including propane and electricity use, house size and age, flock size, number of flocks per year and the manure management system, University of Georgia researchers calculated emissions of mechanical and non-mechanical origin from broiler, pullet and breeder houses and found wide variation in their results.
calendar icon 19 April 2015
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A study was conducted in South Georgia to assess the carbon footprint of poultry farms and the results have been published in the current issue of Journal of Applied Poultry Research.

Authors Dr Claudia Dunkley and colleagues at the University of Georgia explain that their study included broiler grow-out farms, pullet farms and breeder farms from one commercial broiler complex.

Data were collected on the fuel and electricity bills from each farm, house size and age, flock size and number of flocks per year and the manure management system.

Emissions were calculated using a greenhouse gas (GHG) calculation tool. The carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane emissions were computed and a carbon footprint determined. Carbon footprint comparisons were made based on house construction and age.

Based on these results, an evaluation of the mechanical sources of emissions showed that approximately 96 per cent of the emissions from the broiler and pullet farms were from propane use, while only 3.9 per cent of the total mechanical emissions from breeder farms were from propane use.

On breeder farms, 83 per cent of mechanical GHG emissions were the result of electricity use, while the pullet and broiler grow-out farms accounted for 2.9 and 2.7 per cent, respectively, of the total mechanical emissions from electricity use.

The data collected from the farms and entered into the GHG calculation tool revealed that breeder houses had higher levels of methane emissions from manure management than from broiler and pullet houses.

Even though the GHG emissions from poultry production farms were minimal compared to other animal production farms, Dunkley and colleagues concluded, the different sources of emissions were identified, thereby enabling the farmer to target specific areas for mitigation.


Dunkley C.S., B.D. Fairchild, C.W. Ritz, B.H. Kiepper and M.P. Lacy. 2015. Carbon footprint of poultry production farms in South Georgia: A case study. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 24:73-79.

Further Reading

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April 2015

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