Future Farming

Managing risks and opportunities within a constantly changing and highly variable global environment

Goal

More reliable and sustainable systems of agricultural production to maximise their economic, environmental and social value.

  • Identifying opportunities but making sure we offset the negative impacts of climate change and variability, and other large-scale risks
  • Facilitating the incremental and transformational processes required to position Tasmania’s rural sector within a global, low-carbon-emitting economy
  • Contributing towards the efficient production of food, fibre and other plant-based products in a resource-constrained and changing environment
  • Supporting the rapid adaptation necessary for agriculture as changing climatic and geo-political developments necessitate more rapid and flexible responses

Research interests and projects for future farming

Reducing dairy greenhouse gas emissions

Researchers, Karen Christie and Richard Rawnsley, have been developed modelling capabilities for assessing greenhouse gas emissions for the Australian Dairy industry. TIA was responsible for the development of the Dairy Greenhouse gas Abatement Strategies calculator (DGAS).  DGAS is the industry recognised greenhouse accounting tool and sources of GHG emissions including pre-farm embedded emissions associated with key farm inputs (i.e. grains/concentrates, forages and fertilizers) and on-farm emissions from CO2, CH4 and N2O are estimated by the DGAS software. The DGAS software allows farm managers to calculate the impact of adopting different abatement strategies on their total farm GHG emissions and can help them work out the strategies best suited to their farming system. The skills developed in modelling GHG emissions from dairy farming systems have recently been extended to other livestock industries.

Dairy project

Mitigation and adaptation projects in dairy farming

Mitigation and Adaptation in the Australian Dairy Industry (MAADI): MAADI involves on-farm demonstration and validation of climate change mitigation and adaptation options, strategies, and technologies across the dairy supply chain. The TIA part of the project focused on validating and modelling alternate forages at both a component and farm systems level.  The outcome from this part of the project led to improved models to predict the impact of future climate scenarios on the feedbase of southern Australian dairy systems. The study also provided preliminary data on the potential value of alternate forages as an option to mitigate methane emission intensities on dairy systems in southern Australia.

Climate change adaptation in the southern Australian livestock industries

This project examines the impacts of climate change on the livestock industry in southern Australia and the strategies for adaptation on both the farm and industry scale. It addresses key industry questions around adapting to the impacts of climate change on current production systems and incorporating mitigation options.

Another project identifies barriers to climate change adaptation and the issues linked with dairy farmers in Tasmania. Once the issues have been identified, the project will assist farmers to develop strategies to overcome the barriers and cope with climate change.

Whole farm systems analysis of greenhouse gas abatement options for the southern Australian grazing industries (WFSAM)

This project will conduct whole farm systems analysis of a range of nitrogen, carbon and energy efficiency and greenhouse gas abatement strategies for the dairy, sheep and southern beef industries. Strategies will be drawn from reviews and current research, as directed by an Investor Steering Group. Each strategy will be analysed in a whole farm systems context, including methane, nitrous oxide, soil carbon and productivity, plus the interactions between these. The outcomes from the project will be a series of biophysically and economically evaluated options for reducing emissions intensity, improving farm profitability and/or further development into Carbon Farming Initiative offset methods.

For more information on the Future Farming Program, please contact Caroline Mohammed.