Environmentally friendly farming

22 Sep, 2005 07:00 PM

MORE farmers are adopting greenhouse-friendly farming practices, according to a new report.

Landcare Australia and the Australian Greenhouse Office have released the Meeting the Greenhouse Challenge report, which also shows farmers how to boost profits and increase productivity.

Agriculture is the largest source of methane emissions in Australia; methane from livestock represents 12pc of the national greenhouse gas emissions.

Landcare Australia chief executive Brian Scarsbrick said the report indicated more farmers were realising they could increase profits and improve their bottom line at the same time.

"Greenhouse is certainly a real issue for farmers because there are many ways greenhouse gases are emitted through the farming process," Mr Scarsbrick said.

"This report is good news because it shows more and more farmers are adopting practices that make a meaningful environmental difference.

"Much more needs to be done; there's a long road to go down yet."

Mr Scarsbrick said farmers could undertake a greenhouse emissions audit of their property to provide a good indicator of how sustainable their farming system was.

The report also recommends six ways farmers can reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

p More effective livestock management: by having good quality pastures and improved rotation farmers will save money on cattle and reduce greenhouse gas per kilogram of meat produced

p Place more emphasis on nitrogen management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

p Soil management: excessive ploughing means carbon in the soil is oxidised and released as carbon dioxide. Use minimal tillage

p Efficient water management: inefficient irrigation means more pumping and releasing more greenhouse gas. Over-irrigating leads to the loss of nitrous oxide into the air, which adds to emissions

p Use solar energy and LPG

p Effective vegetation: nurture biodiversity and strategically plant more trees to improve the property's overall health.


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