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Hi everyone,

I’m new using Open LCA and in my project, I have to include the life cycle inventory of agricultural production systems. Taking into account the example of Viticulture (tutorial of Open LCA), where the outputs are known. Can I estimate outflows (If I don`t have them)? Reading about this, I found a database which is called AGRIBALYSE. Can I use it to solve my problem? How could I do it?

For example, according to the viticulture example, Table 1 shows input and output flow for the process "Organic Viticulture Production", where:

Input flows
Compost, at plant (2 kg)
Horn meal, at regional storehouse (1 kg)
Diesel, at regional storage (0.005 kg)
Transport, lorry 7.5-16t, EURO5 (0.000001*248t*km)
Occupation, arable (0.00286*1 m2a)

Output flows
Grapes, organic (1 kg)
Phosphate (0.000053 kg)
Ammonium, ion (0.000067 kg)
Nitrate (0.074)

But, I want to do the same but assuming that I don`t have output flows, (except the functional unit). What should I do to estimate the respective output flows (phosphate, ammonium, nitrate, etc)? Can I use AGRIBALYSE? If yes, how could I do that?

Best regards :)
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1 Answer

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Hi, you could use data from an existing database (such as Agribalyse) to get a feeling about outpt and input flows and then adapt to your specific situation and process, which is common LCA modeling practice. Or, you can start from scratch with your process that you want to model, and measure / investigate resource use, product inputs, emissions, waste, product and coproducts, and their amounts.
For agricultural processes, the outputs to the environment are often based on a model (or ideal) of the uptake by plants of inputs,with residuals assumed to be released. So in the example of viticulture you give, it`s quite likely (I don`t know for sure in Agribalyse) that the phosphate output is calculated as a proportion of phosphate input (in the form of part of an NPK fertiliser), and similarly for nitrate. You could look in documentation of LCA processes for crops similar to the one you`re interested in and find an appropriate way of calculating output from input data, if you have that. Ecoinvent reports or Adrian Williams` reports of LCA of agricultural commodities would be good sources.
Good luck,
Chris Foster