The grain legumes pea and faba beans are among the relevant alternatives to imported soybeans for livestock feed for growing in the European agricultural systems, but what is the climate impact of an increased European production of grain legumes such as pea and faba bean? In order to estimate the overall climate impact of producing more grain legumes in Europe, we applied Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The results showed that carbon footprints per kg protein of pea and faba bean in Europe did not vary much for different regions in Europe. Based on FAO statistics and an expert survey (Reckling et al., 2014), it was assumed that an increased European production of grain legumes will decrease the import of soybean cake and decrease the export of wheat from Europe. Taken that into account, results showed a small climate benefit of producing more grain legumes in Europe compared to importing soybeans to Europe.
Keywords: grain legumes, LCA, carbon footprint, soybeans, pea, faba bean