THIS spring, we will be launching a pioneering project to help farmers capitalise on perennial forages suited to the South Coast and simultaneously reduce methane emissions intensity.
Capitalising on Perennial Forages will collect data by trialling and demonstrating a variety of grazing systems designed to reduce methane emissions by increasing animal growth rates and reducing the time for livestock to reach market weight.
Methane emissions testing usually occurs in laboratory conditions, but this new method, developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), will be one of the first times testing has been conducted in the field.
“We will be using a vacuum tent which captures and records animals’ omitted methane levels,” South Coast NRM carbon farming project officer Charlotte Powis said.
“This tent is the only one of its kind and is being used for projects across Australia, so it’s really exciting for South Coast NRM to be involved in this cutting-edge research,” she said.
Livestock will be grazed on different perennial species and taken through the tent to measure the methane emitted - the first round of these measurements will take place at Cranbrook in late October.
Data from Capitalising on Perennial Forages will show how to best utilise farming practices to adapt to a changing climate, maximise marginal land and provide the best landscape-scale opportunity to protect our unique region.
This project is funded by the Australian Government until June 2017.
The vacuum tent will be trialled at Cranbrook this spring. Pic: CSIRO.