AgriFutures Australia reveals trailblazing insights from its Carbon Initiative Program

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Deakin University freshwater plants project, Barwoon Downs VIC
Photographer: Paul Benjamin

In a monumental leap towards a greener future, AgriFutures Australia proudly presents the outcomes of the Carbon Initiative Program, a $2 million commitment fuelling 15 pioneering research projects.

The 15 projects have not only enriched current industry-specific endeavours towards a net-zero future but have also forged new frontiers in cross-industry carbon research.

Venturing into unchartered territory has yielded remarkable revelations, including five hero insights across the 15 projects:

  • Innovative Carbon Testing: The fusion of cutting-edge machine learning with satellite sensing technology is re-writing the rules of soil organic carbon testing. By driving down costs, these methods are racing to surpass the Australian Government’s ambitious target of $3 per hectare.
  • Reimagining Farm Irrigation: Exploration into emissions from Australian farm irrigation dams has stunned the scientific community, where traditionally there has been a lack of carbon footprint data. The discovery showcases nitrous oxide emission rates that defy conventional wisdom, sitting four times lower than the estimations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • Nature’s Methane Solution: Unlocking the potential of native freshwater plants and seaweed species has unveiled an ingenious solution to curbing methane emissions in cattle. This foundational evidence opens new pathways for research into freshwater alternatives to red seaweed.
  • Precision in Valuation: A fresh set of guidelines caters to rural valuers, promising enhanced precision when valuing carbon projects. This leap will elevate the accuracy of assessments, paving the way for more robust carbon initiatives.
  • Empowering Producers: Embarking on a mission to empower producers, a user-friendly online tool has emerged. This digital companion assists producers in navigating the complex landscape of carbon methods, ensuring alignment with their unique business vision, risk tolerance, and individuality.

AgriFutures Australia General Manager, Rural Futures Michael Beer, said supporting efforts to enhance the effectiveness and adoption of carbon farming was a pivotal role for the organisation.

“This was a strategic investment borne out of the conversations we’d had with farmers, landholders and rural industry participants who said they wanted to enter the carbon space but were not sure how to do it or where to find the right information,” Mr Beer said.

“This is a complex and rapidly evolving area so guidance from trusted sources is essential, especially as the nation accelerates the decarbonisation of the economy and seeks to meet emissions reduction targets,” Mr Beer added.

AgriFutures Australia’s Managing Director John Harvey says he is proud to be investing in programs that will help our rural industries transition towards net zero emissions.

“Through the course of the AgriFutures Carbon Conversations events, it became clear there was a considerable and growing thirst for knowledge about emission reduction efforts in our agricultural sector and the desire for people in communities across Australia to be heard,” Mr Harvey said.

“The discussions we’ve had with Australians has brought home the importance of research programs like the 15 Carbon Initiative projects in providing guidance for those who are directly affected,” Mr Harvey said.

The Program, launched in 2021, explored novel approaches to carbon storage, greenhouse gas emission reduction and emission avoidance, as well as methods to drive awareness, overcome barriers and develop market pathways for farmers, fishers and foresters. The Program was led by Julian Hill on behalf of AgriFutures Australia.

To review all 15 reports visit AgriFutures Australia. Visit our Carbon Initiative Program page here.

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