REDUCING greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) intensity is a priority for the Australian dairy industry, and a new tool from Dairy Australia will help farmers identify potential emissions reductions within their business.
The Australian Dairy Carbon Calculator enables farmers to generate reports based on their farm data with the aim of increasing efficiencies and therefore profit, whilst reducing overall environmental impact.
Dairy Australia's Cathy Phelps said the new tool was an ideal first step for farm businesses wanting to implement emissions strategies.
"Greenhouse gas emissions represent inefficiencies in dairy systems, with the loss of methane and nitrous oxide gases into the atmosphere meaning that energy and nitrogen that could be directed towards production is not being utilised," Ms Phelps said.
"Some level of loss is expected, but there are many opportunities within a typical dairy system to reduce greenhouse gases and achieve efficiency and profitability gains."
In addition to being a useful tool to identify opportunities to improve farm profitability, the Australian Dairy Carbon Calculator will assist the industry to maintain or enhance market access.
Multinational food companies, consumers and investors were increasingly asking for information about the carbon footprint of Australian dairy farmers.
Australia is the first country to develop a carbon calculator that can utilise data from existing industry databases.
Incorporated into DairyBase and utilising the farm physical parameters data already collected for many Australian dairy farms, the Carbon Calculator provides a breakdown of greenhouse gas emission sources on-farm as well as information on the emissions intensity per kilo of milk solids.
There are two options to reduce GHG intensity - either reduce the absolute emissions per unit of product or increase the amount of product produced from the same level of inputs (increased efficiency).
For example, increasing the percentage of renewable energy utilised will reduce absolute emissions per unit of product.
Alternatively, increasing feed utilisation efficiency will increase milk production per hectare and/or per cow which will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions intensity per unit of product.
To compare farms producing differing amounts of milk, emissions intensity is calculated by dividing total emissions by the amount of fat and protein corrected milk (FPCM; standard of 4.0 per cent fat and 3.3pc protein).
Research shows the average Australian dairy farm has an emissions intensity in the order of 1 kg Co2 emissions per 1 kg FPCM.
To generate a report with the Dairy Carbon Calculator for a farm business go to www.dairybase.com.au.
Further advice on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the farm business can be found at http://www.dairyclimatetoolkit.com.au/.
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