Members and friends are invited to study these policies and provide advice on improvements and additions.
The recent reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlined the reality and impact of climate change on Australia. The predicted impacts of climate change in Australia include reduced rainfall and runoff in south eastern Australia. Predicted reduction in winter and spring rainfalls will adversely affect agriculture based on a temperate climate. The impacts of climate change on agriculture will include reduced availability of water for irrigation and dryland crops and pastures and reduced water supplies for stock. There will also be changing patterns of flowering and fruiting for many horticultural species. Weather events such as droughts and floods will be more extreme. Average temperatures will increase and raise evaporation rates. Landholders should be aware of these possible impacts and also seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions generated on farm.
The Australian Greenhouse Office estimates that primary production contributes about 17% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Australia This only includes biological processes as transport and stationery energy are measured elsewhere. The main gases are methane and nitrous oxides. Each molecule of methane is equivalent to 21 molecules of carbon Dioxide in terms of global warming effect and nitrous oxide is equivalent to 310 molecules of carbon dioxide.
Main emissions for agriculture in south eastern Australia are
- Rumen fermentation and manure management (over 60%)
- Emissions from the nitrogen cycle in agricultural soils and applied fertiliser
- Burning crop residues
- Anaerobic processes in rice paddies
1. Encourage research into:
- new farming systems which are both water and energy efficient, including alternatives to fossil fuel based fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides,
- improved carbon sequestration techniques in cropping and grazing systems,
- biofuels as a farm product,
- integrated farm forestry,
- land use change and its impact on the catchment environment and farming systems.
- techniques to reduce farm emissions from soil and farm animals
- carbon and nitrogen cycles in soils and plants
2. Develop information programs to help landholders understand the impact of climate change on existing enterprises
3. Develop market mechanisms such as carbon trading which will allow farmers to be rewarded for capturing greenhouse gases on farm.