Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, vol.18, no.6, pp.1733-1746, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
© 2022 SETAC.This study aims to assess the environmental impacts and the energy efficiency of organic and conventional vegetable production in Palas Basin, Kayseri, Turkey. Three organic and three conventional farmers representing the vegetable production in the region participated in face-to-face questionnaires. Life cycle assessment (LCA) was implemented to assess the global warming potential (GWP), eutrophication potential (EP), acidification potential (AP), and energy use, which were selected as environmental impact potentials. Additionally, the environmental risk assessment was conducted to understand the impact of pesticide use in the region. Six farmers were investigated individually, and it was found that all of the farmers had a common cultivation calendar, but there were differences in the application. Particularly, mineral fertilizer use and irrigation were excessive in some agricultural practices. Although the use of N- and P-based mineral fertilizers was one of the main differences between organic and conventional farming, irrigation was a common practice. Irrigation, the most influential practice, elevated not only water consumption but also EP, AP, and GWP as a result of electricity consumption by electrical pumps. Electricity consumption from irrigation contributed to the GWP most, and this value was in the range of 45%–95%. Mineral fertilizer use covered up to 40% of the EP, 31% of the GWP, and 37% of the AP for conventional farmers. Three different scenarios were developed to reduce the environmental impacts of the use of excessive mineral fertilizer and irrigation. The developed scenarios recommended the reductions by 38%, 44%, 25%, and 60% in GWP, EP, AP, and total energy inputs, respectively. This study demonstrates that LCA is beneficial in determining the environmental impact of hotspots in vegetable production and allows the development of different solutions to mitigate environmental impacts for agricultural sustainability. Integr Environ Assess Manag 2022;18:1733–1746. © 2022 SETAC.