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Emissions Reductions

Emissions Reductions

Reducing your emissions can result in on-farm productivity gains. A good understanding of carbon management and emissions reduction and how they influence productivity is becoming vital for the future of farming.

Reducing your emissions on your property involves the mitigation or abatement of greenhouse gas emissions. At this stage, primary industry businesses do not need to participate in a regulated emissions reduction scheme to decrease their carbon footprint.

A variety of different practices can decrease carbon emissions and thus a properties footprint:

  • planting vegetation
  • pasture cropping
  • no-till cropping
  • mulching and manuring
  • rumen inoculants and feed additives
  • natural fertilisers
  • maximising groundcover.

The additional benefits of these carbon footprint reduction practices include:

  • reducing erosion
  • improving soil structure and fertility
  • increase biodiversity and plant productivity
  • buffering against drought
  • increased water efficiency.

Benefits of reducing your carbon emissions

There are many benefits to reducing your businesses emissions. Proactive farmers who reduce their greenhouse gas emissions could be rewarded in two ways:

1. Through co-benefits of enhanced production. For example, shading or shelter provided by trees can improve lamb survival and increase liveweight turnoff, increasing profit.

2. In the future, the government may introduce a carbon tax that charges farm businesses who produce above a certain threshold of emissions. People who have already and proactively reduced their emissions will thus be in a better position should carbon taxes be legislated.

For the most part, greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced rather than offset by abatement activities such as:

  • enteric methane reduction from livestock
  • strategic and reduced nitrogen fertiliser use including enhanced efficiency fertilisers.

Other benefits include:

  • income from carbon in compliance or voluntary schemes
  • opportunities to participate in low carbon or carbon neutral branded supply chains
  • increased domestic and international market access
  • increased access to finance borrowing options
  • carbon prices may increase in future – current price ~$AU35/t CO2-e, current EU prices ~$97/t CO2
  • improved consumer and public rapport for agriculture sector
  • income from biodiversity conservation
  • government introduces a future carbon pollution tax on agriculture
  • other government regulations if the agricultural sector fails to curb emissions.

Source: Adapted from Assoc. Professor Matthew Harrison's Carbon Farming: market risks, rebates, types of greenhouse gases and accounting tools webinar

There can also be trade-offs and risks associated with carbon farming. You can read more about this on our considerations and benefits page.