ECOS magazine, October 31 2011
To strengthen the science around the measurement of soil carbon – and help better inform farmers of the emissions abatement options available to them – the Australian Government is significantly expanding Carbon Farming Futures as part of the Clean Energy Future plan.
A scientist and farmer inspect a canola crop. The Australian Government is expanding the Carbon Farming Futures package to strengthen the science around the measurement of soil carbon, and help better inform farmers of their simple emissions abatement options. Credit: CSIRO/Willem van Aken
Agriculture remains an important component of the Australian economy, not to mention the lifeblood of regional Australia. Yet, few sectors will be affected as much as agriculture by changes in global climate.
Unless we do something, Australian agriculture as we know it will be harmed by adverse changes in temperature and rainfall. But, we also face the menace of extreme weather events like droughts, bushfires, floods and cyclones – all set to increase in their frequency under modelled global warming scenarios.
Landholders have an interest in addressing Australian carbon emissions, and it is perhaps understandable that Australian farmers have already begun to act on climate change.
by Yolandi Groenewald
Mail & Guardian, South Africa, October 28 2011
Agriculture is extremely vulnerable to climate change, but it also produces about 14% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
There is consensus that climate change will have a significant impact on agriculture in developing countries. Even a 2°C rise in the mean global temperature by the year 2100, which is regarded as an optimistic scenario, will radically change the face of farming.
Drastic consequences The agricultural sector will be one of those hardest hit by climate change.
In South Africa agriculture contributes up to 12% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 30% of national employment. South Africa’s white paper on climate change warns that crop failures could therefore have a significant economic impact. At the upcoming COP17 conference in Durban, one of the debates will be whether agriculture deserves special treatment.
So far agriculture has been on the fringes of negotiations, despite it being a role player in any future legally binding agreement. But because it stands so central to climate change, voices are getting stronger that agriculture should get its own work programme at the talks. One of the debates will be whether the agricultural sector should be exempt from any greenhouse gas caps because of food security.
by Clarisa Collis
GRDC, October 17 2011
To help fortify their western Darling Downs property against climate variability, the Coggan family has put together a comprehensive strategy combining improved seeding and harvesting efficiencies and crop diversification.
For the Coggans – Phillip, Cindy, John and Lyn – spreading production risks across one of the largest wheat properties in Australia has involved a carefully staged approach over 10 years. In that time they have witnessed a distinct shift in weather patterns.
Phillip Coggan says that when they introduced controlled-traffic farming in 2001 they also took steps to increase sowing efficiencies.
Investment in a 36-metre Multi Farming Systems banana planter and another two airseeders, with a total capacity of 30,000 litres, now helps them sow 10,900 hectares in about three weeks.
Testament to the efficiency gains the Coggans have achieved is the Guinness World Record for sowing the largest field of wheat over 24 hours in 2008. The 905ha paddock they planted superseded the unofficial previous record of 571ha set by a Ukraine company.
by Rob Fisher
Groundcover Supplement, October 17 2011
It is hard to know if starting a climate change project in 2010-11 in northern Victoria was a good or bad omen. The challenges of the long and extremely wet summer, together with locusts and mice, limited the results from the first year of a summer forages trial. However, they also highlighted what can be achieved if such summer conditions are to become the rule rather than the exception.
Run by the Victorian Irrigated Cropping Council (VICC) and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) in association with BCG (formerly the Birchip Cropping Group) and Riverine Plains Inc. as part of Grain & Graze 2, the trial is looking at forages for a new climate.
Originally, it was planned to assess 30 forages at the three sites – Kooloonong (dryland Mallee), Kerang (dryland but with the capacity for irrigation) and Tungamah (dryland).
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
FarmReady aims to improve the capacity of primary producers to increase their self reliance and preparedness to adapt to climate change through participation in targeted training activities.
Two grants will be available through the FarmReady program.
- $1,500 primary producers reimbursement grant
- $80,000 industry, farming and natural resource management group grant