Carbon Toolkits in Agriculture Network update
WelcomeHi and welcome to our October 2012 issue. In the past 12 months the DPI Climate Extension Team have been busy developing new resources and tools to help you better understand and communicate the carbon and emissions on farm story. Read on to see the full range of resources available for you to access either online or in hard copy, plus links to some other great climate tools and products as well as upcoming funding opportunities.
Carbon and emissions on farm - products available
DPI has developed the following range of resources to help explain carbon and emissions in agriculture and the options available to farmers. You can view these resources online or order hard copies using our online order form. If you have any queries, please email Glenda Jackson.
This simple illustration explains how nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and methane cycle through a farming system. View it as an interactive webpage or order a hard copy poster. The interactive webpage has a clickable image that allows you to see the whole flux of greenhouse gases in and out of the farm system and the ability to click to see an enlarged view of what is happening in each cycle. Another click takes you to further information and a list of practical management options.
This series of 6 fact sheets highlights examples of specific technologies available to improve energy efficiency and save money in dairy shed operations, based on a cost benefit analysis of a typical dairy farm. These fact sheets can be viewed online or ordered as hard copies, and include:
- Energy efficiency in the dairy industry: overview
- Solar panel systems for the dairy shed; a comparison of 5kW and 30kW system
- Solar hot water systems for dairy sheds
- Thermal heat recovery system for the dairy shed
- LPG water heating in the dairy shed: is this an option for your shed's heating requirements?
- Variable speed drives in the dairy shed: for oil vane and blower vacuum pumps
The detailed report Economic analysis of technologies to reduce dairy energy consumption describes the benefits and costs of the technologies in these fact sheets in more detail.
This booklet can be ordered online and focuses on the practical actions that farm businesses can take now to improve their emissions performance. In many cases, actions to reduce emissions or increase carbon on farms have multiple benefits for farm businesses, such as increasing farm health and profitability. Such actions make sense regardless of a carbon tax or carbon incentives.
The booklet focuses on six action areas where emissions performance can be addressed; Trees, Soils, Nitrogen Fertilisers, Livestock, Energy and Supply Chain. These areas aim to help farm businesses take control of their situation and consider options to improve the resource efficiency of their operations.
Three fact sheets and four case studies have been developed to help explain bioenergy and its potential application on farms.
- Turning piggery waste into electricity
- Converting oils into biodiesel
- Farm grown energy
- Sawmill powered by woodwaste
Farmers considering selling trees for carbon on their properties need to be wary of long-term impacts of contracts. This fact sheet outlines the considerations tree growers need to assess before selling carbon from their trees. View it online or order a hard copy.
This supply chain case study outlines a recent DPI analysis of lamb exported from Victoria and sold and consumed in the United States. It found that
- There is retailer interest in establishing greenhouse gas credentials
- 82% of total value chain greenhouse gas emissions were associated with the on-farm production phase of the value chain
- Lamb production management options that improve productivity and profitability can also reduce emissions per kg.
These small, wallet-sized collectors’ cards are a quick, simple and fun way to tell the story of the carbon and emissions Action Areas and/or the Climate Dogs. There are 7 cards in the Action Areas set, including an introductory card and one for each action area - trees, energy, livestock, nitrogen fertiliser, soils and supply chain. There are 6 cards in the Climate Dogs set, including an introductory card and one for each dog - Ridgy, Enso, Eastie, Sam and Indy.
The cards have been created in collaboration with The Connies, a collective of tram conductors, performers and educators that tour festivals and field days throughout Victoria, interact with patrons and distribute collectable swap-cards on a range of environmental, social, cultural and historical themes.
Latest news and funding opportunities
The Land Sector Package is an important component of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future Initiative and includes the:
- Biodiversity Fund
- Indigenous Carbon Farming Fund
- Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund
- Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Board
For further information or to subscribe to receive email updates on these initiatives visit the Land Sector Package website.
The inaugural Annual Report from the Land Sector Carbon and Biodiversity Board was recently released and provides updates on the implementation and performance of the Land Sector Package. It is expected that updates on the Biodiversity Fund and Stream 1 of the Regional NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund will be available in the coming weeks.
The CFI allows farmers to earn carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions on their land. The latest updates include a new methodology under review, a new version of the Full Carbon Accounting Model and a qualification in carbon farming currently open for public consultation.
A new methodology on "Human-Induced regeneration of a permanent even-aged native forest" is currently under consideration by the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee (DOIC).
A new version of the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM), which is a part of the National Carbon Accounting Toolbox (NCAT), is available online and support for older versions of the software will soon cease.
The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency has contracted AgriFood Skills Australia to develop a national accredited Vocational Education and Training qualification in carbon farming as part of the Carbon Farming Skills Program. The aim of the qualification is to provide people with the skills and knowledge necessary to give accurate advice to landholders and other stakeholders about participation in the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) and to develop and implement compliant CFI projects.
AgriFood Skills Australia has released for public consultation a draft of the units of competency that will be addressed by the qualification. It is inviting comments on what units should make up the qualification and what skills and knowledge should be addressed in the units. Comments can be submitted to AgriFood Skills Australia until 5pm on 29 October 2012.
Other tools and resources
The Local Climate Tool gives you the ability to view historic rainfall and temperature information for 27 locations around Victoria. Use this tool to find out about the drivers of climate in each location and to look at updates and forecasts of their behaviour.
In June 2012, DPI surveyed 88 Victorian dairy and stone fruit producers to find out more about what support farmers need to lessen the impact of rising electricity costs on their business.
The survey found dairy and stone fruit producers are interested in learning more about improving energy use and reducing costs on farm and, while most appreciate the potential for cost savings by installing energy efficient or renewable technology options, the initial purchase cost can be prohibitive.
The survey also identified that there may be some misconceptions in both industries about which appliances and equipment consume the most energy, and on-farm energy audits can help identify and prioritise the most worthwhile changes to make.
Agri Climate Culture is an agriculture and climate blog developed by GRDC for advisers, grain growers and researchers. The blog aims to help advisers and farmers adapt to and manage Australia's increasingly variable climate, by providing the latest research, news and discussions in one place. At the site, you can share your views and comments and subscribe to posts and/or monthly digest emails.
A blog and webinar series have been established to enable a forum for change professionals to improve their own practice. A guest presenter is invited every six weeks or so to explore a topic via webinar, and a blog then enables the discussion to be continued and ideas and resources relating to change and innovation to be shared. Recent webinars topics have included "Using online tools to engage the public” and “Designing effective surveys in 3 easy steps".
Looking for other tools and resources? See our carbon and emissions webpages.
If you have any enquiries or anything to contribute to future Network updates, please contact:
Knowledge Broker Seasonal Variability
Department of Primary Industries
Farm Services Victoria
P: 52 264831
M: 0400 780 680
PO Box 103, Geelong 3220