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Adoptability and effectiveness of livestock emission reduction techniques in Australia's temperate high-rainfall zone


James, AR and Harrison, MT, Adoptability and effectiveness of livestock emission reduction techniques in Australia's temperate high-rainfall zone, Animal Production Science, 56, (3) pp. 393-401. ISSN 1836-0939 (2016) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright CSIRO 2016

DOI: doi:10.1071/AN15578


Significant research has been conducted on greenhouse gas emissions mitigation techniques for ruminant livestock farming, however putting these techniques into practice on-farm requires consideration of adoptability by livestock producers. We modelled the adoptability of a range of livestock greenhouse gas abatement techniques using data from farm case studies and industry surveys, then compared the effectiveness of several techniques in reducing emissions intensity and net farm emissions. The influence of the Australian Government Emissions Reduction Fund on adoptability was included by modelling techniques with and without the requirements of an Australian Government Emissions Reduction Fund project. Modelled adoption results were compared with data obtained from surveys of livestock farmers in northern Tasmania, Australia. Maximum adoption levels of the greenhouse gas mitigation techniques ranged from 34% to 95% and the time required to reach 90% of the peak adoption levels ranged from 3.9 to 14.9 years. Techniques with the lowest adoption levels included providing supplements to optimise rumen energy : protein ratio and feeding high-lipid diets. Techniques with the highest adoptability involved improved ewe reproductive efficiency, with more fertile flocks having higher adoption rates. Increasing liveweight gain of young stock so animals reached slaughter liveweight 57 weeks earlier (early finishing) and joining maiden ewes at 8 months instead of 18 months had the fastest adoption rates. Techniques which increased net emissions and reduced emissions per liveweight sold (emissions intensity) had higher adoptability due to profit advantages associated with greater meat and wool production, whereas some techniques that reduced both net emissions and emissions intensity had lower adoptability and/or longer delays before peak adoption because of complexity and costs associated with implementation, or lack of extension information. Techniques that included an Australian Government Emissions Reduction Fund project had reduced maximum adoption levels and reduced rate of adoption due to difficulty of implementation and higher cost. Adopting pastures with condensed tannins reduced net emissions, emissions intensity and had high adoption potential, but had a long delay before peak adoption levels were attained, suggesting the technique may be worthy of increased development and extension investment. These results will be of benefit to livestock farmers, policymakers and extension practitioners. Programs designed to mitigate livestock greenhouse gas should consider potential adoption rates by agricultural producers and time of implementation before embarking on new research themes.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:greenhouse gas, sheep, beef, dairy, emissions intensity, mitigation, livestock, production
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Agricultural systems analysis and modelling
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Mitigation of climate change
Objective Field:Management of greenhouse gas emissions from animal production
UTAS Author:Harrison, MT (Associate Professor Matthew Harrison)
ID Code:106442
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2016-02-10
Last Modified:2018-03-29

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