Project to cut nitrous oxide emissions from dairy farms

29 May, 2018 04:00 AM
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Andrew Whitlock, Precision Agriculture GM. The business will conduct research into ways of minimising nitrous oxide emissions on dairy farms using PA farming techniques, such as variable rate fertiliser applications.
The aim is to increase nitrogen use efficiency in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions...
Andrew Whitlock, Precision Agriculture GM. The business will conduct research into ways of minimising nitrous oxide emissions on dairy farms using PA farming techniques, such as variable rate fertiliser applications.

A VICTORIAN-based ag-tech business has launched an ambitious new project to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from dairy farms by up to 80 per cent.

Ballarat-based Precision Agriculture will run the project in Gippsland, with a focus on managing nitrogen fertiliser to combat volatilisation.

To this end, the Precision Ag team are looking at the rate, source, timing and placement of N-based fertilisers to see if more accurate application can cut the amount of N that is lost.

Dairy farmers use N-based fertiliser to improve growth rates in their pastures.

In particular, the use of variable rate technology will be pursued as a means to cut N losses.

Precision Agriculture manager of research and innovation, Dean Jones, said the company will be working to demonstrate how variable rate application of fertiliser can reduce the amount of free nitrogen leading to a reduction in nitrous oxide emissions.

“The aim is to increase nitrogen use efficiency in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions using smart farming techniques,” Mr Jones said.

And should the project be successful it will have national implications.

“The project will focus on the Gippsland region, however the techniques we use are relevant to dairy farms nationally.”

He said Gippsland’s climate was a key reason the company was doing its work in this area.

“The region’s high rainfall, access to irrigation and predictions that Gippsland will be less impacted by climate change than many agricultural regions were all factors we considered,” he said.

Funded by the Victorian government’s Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) Climate Change Innovation Grants, the project is part of a series of Victorian government schemes designed to address climate change

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