Development of Economic and Environmental Life Cycle Analysis Tool for the Assessment of Nitrogen Fertilizers in Apple-Tree Fruit Industry

The project developed an environmental and economic assessment tool for the tree fruit industry. Moreover, an assessment study of fertilizer types was performed contributing to the sustainability of apple production. A simplified and interactive life cycle analysis (LCA) tool was programmed in excel. The LCA tool analyzes operations throughout the establishment, training and production phases of the orchard life cycle. The tool allows the user to define/update the list of operations in each phase and automatically generates a budget sheet of variable cost and carbon footprint using built in template models of typical orchard operations from conventional, integrated and organic apple production systems. The tool also generates and integrates models of the considered operations. Model parameters are both quantitative and qualitative values and selections that are grouped in one sheet and linked with the generated models and budget. Accordingly, the user can

  1. Fine-tune model parameters to minimize both the carbon footprint and variable costs of the orchard.
  2. Change operations and evaluate transitions from conventional to integrated or organic management systems
  3. Compare the changes of variable costs and carbon footprint comparing different fertilizers and materials

Grant Information

  • Project ID: 077
  • Project Status: Complete




Zaher U., Verhey S. and Stockle C.O. (2010) Life Cycle Assessment 101, Washington Tilth Annual Conference, November 12, 2010, Port Townsend, WA, USA.

Stockle C.O. and Zaher U. (2010) Farm LCA and Carbon Footprint Preliminary Experience with Eastern Washington Cropping Systems, Future Energy Conference, November 9-10, 2010, Seattle, WA, USA.

Additional Funds Leveraged

USDA NIFA – Organic Research and Extension Initiative $1,538,115 9/01/2010 – 8/31/2014