There are potential abatements which could be delivered by NSW agriculture over the 10 years 2020 to 2030 and the collective actions of individual landholders can make a difference.
Before you consider sequester of carbon on your farm, action can be taken to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Be energy efficient
There are straightforward steps you can take to quickly reduce your farm emissions such as ensuring that use of fossil fuel energy on the farm is as efficient as possible. This includes petrol, diesel, LPG or natural gas and electricity.
Energy efficiency can reduce emission and at the same time substantially reduce costs.
This can include:
- Replacing old inefficient machinery and equipment;
- Converting from diesel to electric irrigation pumps;
- Insulating buildings to reduce heating and cooling energy consumption and costs;
- Installing efficient lighting; and
- Installing solar power generation or hot water systems.
Implement ruminant livestock management strategies which will help reduce methane emissions
Ruminant livestock naturally produce methane as by-product of the bacteria in their digestive systems which allow them to utilise pasture so effectively.
Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas and accounts for about 75 per cent of agricultural emissions in NSW.
Ruminant methane emissions can be reduced by ensuring that your production system is as efficient as possible.
Careful management of nitrogenous fertiliser application
The management of nitrogenous fertiliser application can reduce denitrification, losing the potential benefits of the applied fertiliser and production of nitrous oxide – a potent greenhouse gas.
Nitrous oxide is produced in the soil particularly under waterlogged conditions through the breakdown of plant material, manure and applied nitrogen fertilisers.
Research has shown that, in some cases, up to 80pc of applied nitrogen fertiliser can be lost to the atmosphere through denitrification.
Careful timing of application and use of slow-release coating and inhibitors can reduce loses thereby reducing emissions, improving production and saving money.
Management of manure from intensive animal enterprises
Animal enterprises such as feedlots, piggeries and dairy farms produce menthane and nitrous oxide – both potent greenhouse gases.
Emission from decomposing manure from intensive livestock enterprises account for about 4pc of NSW agriculture greenhouse gases.
There is potential to reduce this emission from manure through composting or spreading and incorporating in the field.
There are also opportunities to generate renewable energy through the installation of an on-farm biogas system.
For further information on the potential for on farm generation of bioenergy see: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/dpi/climate/energy/clean-energy/bioenergy
All of these actions you can take to reduce farm emissions of greenhouse gases allows the farmer to do their bit to contribute to the target of Nett Zero by 2050 and at the same time improve farm productivity and profitability.
So it is not only good for the environment, it’s good for business.