Friday, May 16, 2008

More Kiwis come to OZ to learn soil carbon war dance

A steady stream of farmers are arriving in Australia wondering what hit them after the NZ Government apparently decided to leave Agriculture out of its Emissions Trading Scheme for soil carbon and in for its emissions (Methane and Nitrous Oxide). The latest was Graham Clarke, Otago-based organic beef and sheep grower who came to OZ to join the audiences at Young and Condobolin last week at the "Practical Carbon Farming" One Day Seminar, now being conducted by the Carbon Coalition's Convenors Michael & Louisa Kiely. Despite the chilly weather, Graham wore stubbies and (formal) thongs throughout his visit. Graham is Chairman of the Southern Beef Council, among other roles. Kiwi farmers are in despair, if the deflated tone of their Federated Farmers chairman Charlie Pedersen is a guide. He simply waved a white flag in response to a damning report on the NZETS, when he presented to the Farm Institute conference.

It might help to have a fact or two up your sleeve when the doomsayers are writing Agriculture off. WHile they recite those tired old stats: the agricultural sector contributes around 16% of national greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for 60% and 85% of total methane and nitrous oxide emissions, you can tell them this:

Research in New Zealand has revealed that breeding for more efficient animals may result in 10 to 20% less methane. Similarly, research in Australia demonstrated that animals on high quality spring pasture producing up to 37% less methane than those on poor quality summer pasture. Still more research shows that dietary oils (eg. whole cotton seed) fed to
dairy cattle on summer pastures can reduce methane emissions by 12% and feeding tannin extracts from the black wattle to
dairy cows on lush spring pasture was shown to reduce methane emissions by up to 29%. These figures come from the nation's foremost expert on emissions from agriculture, Dr Richard Eckard, Greenhouse in Agriculture,The University of Melbourne and Department of Primary Industries, Victoria.

No comments: