Future Ready Dairy Systems

Dairy Australia

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Greenhouse Gas Emissions Workshop

Objective of the event

Dairy farmers, including a visiting group from Gippsland, learned some practical ways to reduce farm greenhouse gas emissions. The group of about 20 farmers and industry representatives also toured some of the research projects being undertaken at DemoDAIRY which aim to reduce greenhouse gases caused by dairy farm production.

The seminar was hosted by the Future Ready Dairy Systems (FRDS) project for Young Dairy Development Program members. Several young farmers from Gippsland attended the seminar as part of their tour of south-west Victoria.

Key Messages

Department of Primary Industries Dairy Extension Officer/Climate Risk Management Zita Ritchie said research showed that a number of abatement strategies are available but farmers should consider emissions reduction options that lead to productivity gains or have cost benefits.

“The focus is on practical ways to reduce emissions and at the same time improve efficiency gains,” Ms Ritchie said.

“In many cases it is simply a matter of adopting best management practices and farmers will be able to reduce their greenhouse gas production,” she said.

Some of the suggestions include:

  • Reducing the number of unproductive cows
  • Increasing pasture quality
  • Efficient feeding of high quality diets
  • Adopting optimum rates and timing for fertiliser applications.

Reflections on the Event

“It is important that dairy farmers talk about how the industry generates greenhouse gases and be aware of ways to potentially reduce that impact. Ideally we are looking for a win-win situation where best practice can improve efficiency and reduce emissions.”

Quotes and Feedback from Attendees

One of the visiting farmers, Sarah Pritchard from Winnindoo in Gippsland, said the session had been a real eye-opener.

“I didn’t really know much about climate change and how it affects farms,”  Ms Pritchard said.  “This really made me think about our carbon footprint and that we should be looking at ways to reduce it.” 

Ms Pritchard is a pasture manager for a 900-cow farm and will return home with fresh ideas for developing the property and reducing its emissions.

 “For one thing I think we should be planting more trees,”  she added.  “It is good to research best practice and constantly review what you do on your farm.” 

Date:

2 Feb,2011

Event Type:

Professional Development Workshop/Seminar

Location:

DemoDAIRY, Princes Highway, Terang 3264

Coordinator:

Louise Sheba, Dairying for Tomorrow Regional Coordinator