Farmers Want More Climate Action Starting In Their Own Backyards

Farmers Want More Climate Action Starting In Their Own Backyards

According to the National Farmers Federation, Australia requires a stronger climate policy. They are calling for the Morrison government today to set a broad economic goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

It is quite reasonable that the agricultural sector calls for more action to combat climate change. Agriculture is especially vulnerable to climate change. The sector is working towards becoming carbon neutral while still maintaining its profitability.

Australia is very proud of its agricultural sector. Australia’s 51% land use is dominated by farmers. They also contributed 11% to all goods and services exported in 2018-19. The sector contributed 14% to national greenhouse gas emissions. Australia needs a climate-ready, carbon neutral food production sector for its future food security and economy.

Paris Agreement Is Driving Changes

According to the 2015 Paris Agreement, 196 nations pledged to cut their emissions. The goal is net-zero emission by 2050. 119 of these commitments included cutting agricultural emissions, while 61 specifically addressed livestock emissions.

Methane (from livestock production), nitrogen (from soils), and, to a lesser degree, carbon dioxide (from machinery using fossil fuel and the use of lime or urea on soils) are all major components of agricultural emissions.

Australia’s emissions from this sector have dropped by 10.8% in the past decade, partly due to drought and an ever-changing climate that has had an impact on agricultural production (for instance, wheat production).

The National Farmers Federation however wants the sector’s farm gate production to reach A$100 Billion by 2030. This is far more than the current $84 billion trajectory. If mitigation strategies are not implemented, this will lead to future emissions growth.

Runs On The Farmers Board

Australia’s agricultural sector is already showing that net-zero emissions are possible. The Australian red meat industry committed to carbon neutrality by 2030 in 2017. A variety of red meat producers claim to have achieved net zero emissions, including Arcadian Organic & Natural’s Meat Company and Five Founders.

Our research revealed that two Australian livestock properties Talaheni farms and Jigsaw farms- also have carbon neutral production. This was achieve primarily through the regeneration of soil carbon and tree carbon on their property, which in turn draws down an equal amount of carbon dioxide from their atmosphere to balance their farm emissions.

Other agricultural sectors, such as cropping, dairy and wool are also actively looking at their emission reduction targets. Ross Hill, Tulloch, and Tahbilk are producing carbon neutral wines.

Offset Farmers Emissions

These examples focus on offset farm emissions, such as buying carbon credits or regenerating soil carbon. They are not based on direct reductions of emissions like methane and nitrogen. There are many options available or in development to reduce enteric methane emissions. This is the result of fermentation occurring in the foreguts of ruminants like sheep, cattle, and goats.

You can feed livestock dietary supplements rich in oils and tannins, which will reduce the number of microbes that produce methane in their stomachs. Grape marc, which is the solid waste from grape pressing, contains oil and tannins. It has shown to reduce methane emission by about 20%.

There are other promising technologies that are soon to hit the market. Asparagopsis and 3-NOP are two other promising technologies that actively inhibit methane-generating enzymes. These technologies could reduce methane up to 80%. Active research programs are underway to find ways to breed animals that make less methane and raise animals that don’t produce methane as much later in life.

Nitrous oxide is mostly lost on farms through a process called denitrification. This is when bacteria converts soil nitrates to nitrogen gases. These gases then escape from soil into the atmosphere. There are many options to reduce these losses, including effective nitrogen fertilisers and balanced diets for animals.

The Future Of Agriculture Unis Must Prepare Students To Secure Both

The Future Of Agriculture Unis Must Prepare Students To Secure Both

Australia’s agriculture will soon be worth A$100 million a year. This industry employs over 250,000 people and stewards 80% our land. It also drives the world-class agribusiness sector and food industries. Every new graduate in agriculture has six options for employment in an uncertain market.

Today’s agriculture is dynamic, global, diverse, and reliant upon high-end scientific discoveries. It also responds to consumer concerns about ethics, provenance, and health. Many of our brightest students still have a hard time grasping the wonders of agriculture.

Each year, around 300-400 students in Australia graduate with a degree in agriculture. This would be only 23 students per university, with 17 universities offering extensive agriculture studies. The numbers are decreasing.

Why is it not attractive to students as a growing sector that has many job opportunities? Is there a way to attract school-leavers who want to be farmers?

Social problems are part of the problem. Agriculture is not well-known unless Australia is on fire, covered with dust, flooded by water, or when its crops are starving. Students and parents associate agriculture with dry, rural landscapes and poor farmers, and not high-tech science or genetics to produce the best meat and crops.

What Should Students Agriculture Know?

Although it may begin in a small rural community far from Sydney Harbour’s CBD, the agricultural industry eventually finds its way to the commodities markets of London, Paris, and New York, where it is supported by some of the most successful businesses in the world. It does all this with the support of some of the most innovative scientists in the world.

It is essential that students are as diverse, exciting and challenging as possible in order to attract the best school leavers. To use a federal term, the future job-ready (agriculture), graduate must have experience in and knowledge of best-practice regional farming methods. This is agriculture that works with diverse landscapes and is resilient to climate change.

The many ways that agriculture can be practiced requires students to have a broad knowledge. These include organic and regenerative agriculture practices that aim to replicate natural processes. Technology-driven precision farming, and the rising trend of using local inputs in circular farming.

No more shipping and shearing. Provenance is now an integral part of the supply chain. We need to be able trace food from farm to table.

Strong skills in experimental design and statistical analysis will be required by graduates to manage the science and economy of agriculture. Graduates now need to have the right quantitative skills since precision agriculture has emerged. They will need to manage large data sets in order to make informed decisions and optimize farm production.

The curriculum must be expand beyond the historical emphasis on experimental design. It should also include spatial and temporal data, as well as ecological statistics. Farmers need real-time data that is map across their farms to optimize management and make spatially mapped yield forecasts.

An Increasing Awareness Of Ethics

Recent films Kiss the Ground, David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet Agriculture, and recent film Kiss the Ground are both highlighting the impact of food production.

Food producers are being ask to produce more. They are represent by groups that advocate for better nutrition and health, more varied diets, and differing ethical views.

This student group is also one of the most socially conscious we’ve seen in many decades. These students must equipped with the necessary tools through the new agriculture curriculum.

Digital agriculture will increase the use of technology and data to make decisions throughout the supply chain, from farmer to consumer. Digital technologies can use to decommoditise, presenting unique products that are closely link to sustainability priorities and adding value to farm outputs. Graduates should be familiar with how these technologies can be use. Producers will be able to profit from rapidly expanding global markets, especially in Asia.

Farmers are still trying to preserve the land. With calls for payments to ecosystem services that support biodiversity, this is being acknowledge.

Future graduates will have a better understanding of the characteristics that make a resilient landscape. They will be able draw on scientific evidence to support their on-farm management decisions, and to ensure that they receive ecosystem service payments. They will be able tailor each farm’s land-management strategy.

Agronomists And Breeders Should Review Agricultural Science

Agronomists And Breeders Should Review Agricultural Science

How can agriculture adapt to changing climates? This is a crucial Agronomists question that more governments are trying to answer. Numerous papers published in well-respected scientific journals often claim to be able to predict crop yields worldwide or provide guidance for farmers on how they can adapt. These papers, however, are often written in an academic bubble which seriously limits their utility.

Nature Climate Change has published the most recent version of this paper. These findings are claimed by the author. It was shown that seasonal climatic forecasts can be used to predict crop failures and help monitor global food production. This will allow for better monitoring of the climate extremes in the future. The path to these findings is not easily understood by anyone who hasn’t been deeply involved in modeling chaotic systems like weather. However, it is open to debate.

The authors of such papers have a habit of not asking potential users of their findings, such as breeders, agronomists, and marketers, to comment on the claims. Reality therapy is not something they seek. This applies to modelling as well as to many papers in experimental plant sciences that are claim to improve food production.

Benefits Of A New Method

What are the benefits of a new method for predicting crop failures. Information about current crop production around the globe is crucial to the large financial industry that relies on grain futures. It is worth its time to have good information. However, does this paper actually improve the information?

To determine this, the authors had to evaluate the effectiveness of their model against current methods of forecasting yield. One cannot determine from the paper whether they have. Is there any improvement? Is this a work in progress? A step towards something more useful? Why is the paper not publish in a better journal?

The paper claims that it will encourage adaptation of food systems to extreme climatic conditions. This paper will encourage adaptation, but who exactly? Agronomists and first-rate breeders are already working hard to solve problems with grain crops that are subject to volatile environments, especially in Australia. What would they do differently if they had read this paper? I’d say no

Wheat breeders in Australia test potential new cultivars in many environments, including Agronomists the wettest and shadiest areas of the wheat belt. They also sample extremes of heat damage and frost damage. Our agronomists continue to make substantial improvements in farming systems, which are significantly increasing yields per unit rainfall.

Similar Agronomists Claims

This paper, and thousands of other papers that make similar claims about being agriculturally useful, has no basis. This is not fraud, but naivety on the part of both the authors and the institutions supporting them. This highlights a serious problem in our system for peer review in agricultural research. This problem can be easily solve. similar claims

It is important to have peer reviews in this field. The missing ingredient is additional review from people further down the value chain in agricultural R&D, the potential customers. Because they understand the limitations and requirements of current practices, and have an understanding of their own domains, they can verify the promises of any piece of work.

It would be a huge benefit to involve them. They would play more than a filter. They could also provide guidance and direction on how to make their domains more efficient, including the best places to find them. Our agronomists now often work with designated farmer groups and their management consults. These collaborations have proven to be extremely productive.

Laboratory scientists can embrace close collaborations Agronomists with other scientists not with farmer associations, which would be too extreme, but with field scientists as well as the agronomists, breeders, and field scientists. They would have a better understanding of the field and could therefore make their research more useful.