A$5 Million for Greener, Profitable Dairy Industry

AUSTRALIA - The Australian dairy industry has received over A$5 million from the Australian Government Carbon Farming futures fund to investigate ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase production efficiencies on dairy farms.
calendar icon 7 June 2012
clock icon 2 minute read

Six dairy focused research projects have been funded as part of the first round of the Australian Government’s Filling the Research Gap and Action on the Ground grants.

The approved dairy projects will run for three years and focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions including nitrous oxide produced by nitrogen fertilisers used on farms and methane produced from livestock. The efficient use of nitrogen and modelling for greenhouse gas abatement options in southern Australia are also targets of the research.

Western Australian dairy farmer Victor Rodwell will be a participant in one of the projects investigating the efficient use of nitrogen. Mr Rodwell has already doubled nitrogen use efficiency on his farm through involvement in other industry programmes such as Greener Pastures and the WA nutrient programme.

“These new management practices have increased pasture production without extra cost or a drop in milk production on the farm which is important,” Mr Rodwell said.

With nitrogen costs expected to fluctuate in the future the research being funded through these new projects will identify further savings, he said.

Dairy Australia Natural Resource Management Programme Manager, Catherine Phelps, said the secured funding would help farmers increase the performance and profitability of their operations as well as address future environmental concerns.

“These programmes are an investment for the future of the dairy industry. They address issues that will help dairy farmers improve productivity while reducing their impact on the environment”, she said.

The research will be undertaken Australia wide by organisations including the Department of Primary Industries in Victoria (DPIV), Queensland University of Technology, The University of Melbourne, New South Wales Department of Agriculture, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and Western Dairy Incorporated.

The projects include:

  • Potential for Smart-N technology to reduce nitrogen use by Australian dairy farmers – Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and Western Dairy Incorporated
  • Research into an integrated assessment of management practices for reducing nitrous oxide emissions and improving nitrogen use efficiency for subtropical dairy systems – Queensland University of Technology
  • Research into the effect of fertiliser nitrogen breakdown inhibitors and nitrogen rates on greenhouse emissions, nitrate leaching and nitrogen use efficiency in intensive dairy pasture systems in hot dry climates – NSW Department of Agriculture
  • Researching greenhouse gas abatement options for whole farm grazing systems in southern Australia – The University of Melbourne
  • How livestock emissions may be reduced through manipulation of livestock feed systems – DPIV
  • Research into the use of inhibitors to improve nitrogen cycling and reduce nitrous oxide losses from intensively grazed pasture systems – DPIV

All six projects were developed under the Dairy Moving Forward national research, development and extension framework and prepared in partnership with a wide range of industry stakeholders.

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