Evaluation of two production methods of Chilean wheat by life cycle assessment (LCA)
Agricultural production is an activity that generates environmental impacts, primarily associated with the use of machinery and chemical inputs. For this reason it is expected that cultural practices and technological levels will influence significantly the environmental impacts of different production systems. In this study we evaluated conventional and organic methods using life cycle assessment (LCA). The results identified soil management as the stage of conventional production that generates the greatest environmental impact; the most affected impact categories were acidification, with 15.28 kg SO2 equivalent per ton of grain produced, and eutrophication, with 4.83 kg PO4 eq/ton of grain. The category most affected by organic production was soil management, mainly due to the Diesel fuel used in agricultural machinery. In this production method the category of abiotic resource depletion had the greatest impact, with 0.89 kg Sb eq/ton of grain. The use of compost as a strategy fixed important amounts of biogenic carbon, generating environmental benefits in the impact category of climate change -4.39 kg CO2 eq/ton of grain.