Australian farmers seek to lower greenhouse gases
The programme employs coaches to help producers calculate their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and "understand and implement strategies to reduce emissions while remaining productive and profitable".
Farm300 is managed by Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) in partnership with the Australian Farm Institute, Australian Wool Innovation and Dairy Australia.
It has seen 128 advisors ‘upskilled’ to become Farm300 coaches and establish their own producer groups. They organise group workshops and one-to-one sessions to identify how changes in on-farm management can achieve improvements in productivity and profitability, and emissions reduction.
Irene Sobotta, MLA research extension manager – sustainability, said: "The overall aim of the program is to give producers the skills to increase their profitability by 10%, while reducing GHG emissions by up to 30%."
The organisation has reported that producers are identifying their footprint and emissions profile; and this, plus the ability to display the steps that are being taken to reduce emissions, could be a tool to secure market share.
West Australian coach Ed Riggall, who is working with 30 producers, said: "I work with producers to assess the GHG emissions of their farm business using the FarmGAS tool. It calculates net farm emissions based on variables such as flock size, dry matter availability, lambing rates, pasture and crops, diesel and electricity use, and any tree plantations.
"Benchmarking is important – you have to get the data right first. We then line up that with what each producer wants to achieve with their emissions reductions and profitability to see if they are on the right track. Is their enterprise mix, genetics, even local environment suitable for that goal? What do they need to change? Do they need to reassess their goal?"
He advised producers: "Take a systematic approach – look at stocking rates, genetics, lambing percentages, pastures. Then, ask yourself: "Am I using what I’ve got to the full potential?"