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Agricultural Greenhouse Emissions (AGE) Project

This Sustainability Fund 2 project aims at showing how 50 dairy and beef farmers in Cardinia and Bass Coast Shires can reduce energy use by 10%, water use 15% and waste to landfill by 10% as they improve productivity. The two participating landcare networks, the Bass Coast Landcare Network and the Western Port Catchment Landcare Network, support farmers to implement changes in farm practice.

Farming practices in the beef and dairy industry are significant contributors to greenhouse emissions. This project involves energy audits, carbon offsets and planning with farmers for practices to minimise greenhouse gas production. Reducing the use of water and energy and cutting waste will lead to more productive farming.

“We will identify the main sources of greenhouse emissions on participating farms and work with industry experts to convert emissions into production, we will look at farm waste management to reduce waste generation and improve methods of disposal and we’ll develop whole farm water plans to protect water resources on farms.”

Moragh McKay, Bass Coast Landcare Network

The South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA), with the Bass Coast Landcare Network, the Western Port Catchment Landcare Network, Bass Coast and Cardinia Shire Councils, will carry out this project with support from the Victorian Government Sustainability Fund.

In 2005, the SECCCA found, for the agriculture sector in Western Port, that dairy and beef farms were a high source of greenhouse gas emissions, chiefly enteric methane (burps) and nitrous oxide losses from animal excreta and carbon dioxide from energy use. The Project will show farmers how to alter practices to reduce these gas emissions and what can they do to offset the carbon dioxide from their energy use.

Of the SECCCA councils, Bass Coast and Cardinia contain the highest number of dairy and beef farms. To achieve the biggest impact on reducing total greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector the project will focuses on farms in these local government areas.

The key phases of the project are:

  • Establishing a fully representative project committee;
  • Finding 50 landholders to be involved over the 3 years of the project;
  • Auditing the current situation, then developing action plans and data management for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 10%, an improvement of up to 15% in water efficiency and a reduction of 10% of waste to landfill from the participating landholders;
  • Providing ongoing support and training through the local Landcare Networks to achieve these targets; and
  • Careful evaluation of the success, effectiveness and transferability of the model/process to other regions.

PROJECT: Agricultural Greenhouse Emissions (AGE) Project

START / FINISH: 2007/2009

FUNDER/GRANT: Sustainability Victoria – Sustainability Fund