Land Water Carbon

Market need/context

  • Consumer interest in the sustainability credentials of the food they purchase and investors’ concerns about the long term viability of their investment are driving milk processors and financial institutions to take a greater interest in the management practices their suppliers/clients. Both groups are increasingly requiring evidence that farmers are managing their natural capital and climate risk and this driver is impacting on the direction and focus of Land, Water and Carbon investment.
  • The breadth of natural capital issues makes it difficult to address all and RD&E activities are focused on areas where there are both profit and environmental drivers. These are soil and nutrient management, water use efficiency and climate risk. The estimated impact of climate change on annual productivity of dairy farms in southern Australia between now and 2040 is 0.6%/year. Predominately public issues such as biodiversity will be addressed through resources, tools and e-learning.
  • The target audience is farmers, farm advisors, milk processors, financial institutions, and government and NGO organisations with an interest in land, water and climate risk management.

General approach/strategy

  • Research investment is focused on building knowledge and understanding in the areas of nitrogen use efficiency, enteric methane technologies, nutrient loss risk in an Australian context, heat stress management strategies, seasonal forecasting reliability, climate resilient strategies; and cost effective irrigation bay design, scheduling and automation. Areas of investment reflect Dairy Moving Forward priorities and incorporate cross-sector and international collaboration where viable.
  • Development and awareness raising investment is focused on developing Fert$mart group delivery and professional development programs, sustainability framework reporting tools and data collation processes, and information, resources and tools in the areas of nutrient management for intensive systems, effluent odour, waste, precision technologies to enable resource use efficiency and monitoring, managing biodiversity (including trees for shade and shelter) and managing climate risk. Where feasible Land Water and Carbon resources and modules will be integrated into Feedbase programs.
  • With the shift to regions being responsible for managing regional Land, Water and Carbon extension and provision of technical advice Dairy Australia Land Water and Carbon regional support will focus on building the capability of RDPs to meet regional stakeholder requests for technical information as well as encouraging them to form delivery partnerships with milk companies, NRM agencies and other relevant stakeholders to facilitate increased adoption of the industry Sustainability Framework environment targets.
  • National extension activities to facilitate practice change will focus on meeting stakeholder requests for technical information, Fert$mart professional development and group delivery, professional development for milk company sustainability officers and other relevant stakeholders, NCDEA effluent design courses and Cool Cows.