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Carbon emissions and the dairy industry - where to from here?



On 30 June, Western Dairy Chair, Robin Lammie, and Regional Extension Officer, Dan Parnell, attended the DPIRD Agriculture Industry Consultation as part of the state-wide Sectoral Emissions Reduction Strategy.

The consultation gave Western Dairy and other agricultural industries the opportunity to provide feedback to the draft Emissions Baseline Report for the Agriculture Sector in Western Australia and guide potential pathways for emissions reductions in the future.

Using carbon accounting methods, the draft report has established that agriculture is responsible for 10 per cent of WA’s greenhouse gas emissions. The extensive livestock industries, which includes dairy cattle, is 80 per cent of this number. Of this figure, 5.1 per cent is from dairy farm operations. This is due to the relatively small number of dairy cattle in WA as compared to beef cattle and sheep.

It can be determined that while the dairy industry collectively has a small carbon footprint in WA, at the farmgate carbon emissions for dairy remain.

There was general consensus at the consultation that getting baseline emissions data for farms is the logical first step for all agricultural industries. From this data, decisions can be made about abatement strategies and the value they bring to any business.

The dairy industry is already making strides in this area with the Australian Dairy Farm Calculator embedded in Dairy Australia’s Dairy Farm Monitor Project (DFMP), the Dairy Base system or as a standalone assessment tool. 


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