The Water-Use Efficiency of Dairy Farming in Eastern Ontario: A Case Study

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  • An excel-based calculator (WatBal-Dairy) was created as a framework for water use accounting of dairy farm operations. The water use of alfalfa was measured in situ and compared to Denitrification and Decomposition (DNDC) model results in anticipation of using DNDC outputs in WatBal-Dairy. Results highlighted the need to calibrate DNDC to Canadian growing conditions with the model over-estimating measured evapotranspiration (ET) (34.1%), net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide (11.8%) and biomass (9.7%), while under-estimating soil moisture (-12%). The WatBal-Dairy prototype was created using validated empirical models for cattle and barn water use and tested using operational data including measured cattle intake and washwater from a working dairy farm near Ottawa. The study farm water footprint was 1025.7 kg H2O L-1 FPCM; precipitation (green water) accounted for 99.35% and pumped (blue) water 0.45% of inputs. Consumption was dominated (99.6%) by the field environment (crops and pasture).

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  • Copyright © 2016 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2016


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