Advice to reduce emissions and increase productivity
29 May 2015
As a Farm300 coach, agricultural consultant Kristy Howard has worked closely with producers to lift their productivity and profitability while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Here, she talks us through the journey.
Coach: Kristy Howard, Inspiring Excellence, Beechworth, Victoria
Producer group: 10 farm businesses in north-eastern Victoria, collectively managing 7,000 ewes and 1,000 breeder cows.
How does Farm300 benefit Australian producers?
It shows how practical reductions in methane emissions from livestock can also make a farm business more productive. The success of the program is that it targets profitability first, with reduced emissions as the added bonus.
Why did you sign up to be a Farm300 coach?
As an agricultural consultant, I focus on productivity and profitability so I was curious about how farm businesses can integrate greenhouse gas emissions management practices.
What response did you get from producers?
The producers were happy to move beyond debates about climate science to focus on how they can be better custodians of their land. Their underlying motivation was the desire to leave the land in a better state than they got it in.
What steps did you take to coach producers?
After an initial group workshop, I conducted one-on-one follow up sessions with participants to calculate their emissions profile (using the FarmGAS calculator) and identified an on-farm project they could implement to increase productivity and reduce emissions in their enterprise.
What are some of the strategies your group is exploring?
Some are looking at how they increase their flock’s reproduction by incorporating tools from Lifetime Ewe Management and Making More From Sheep programs such as shorter joining. Others are exploring how to turn off young stock more quickly, while other producers want to better utilise their grass resources to reach turn-off weights sooner.
What are your top tips for producers to increase profitability and productivity while reducing emissions?
Aim to be as efficient as you can with the resources you have. Target good reproduction from breeding stock (to produce more kg/adult methane emitter), utilise feed and genetics to increase growth rates, and maintain healthy soils.
Farm300 is funded by the Australian Government, and managed by MLA in partnership with the Australian Farm Institute, Australian Wool Innovation and Dairy Australia.
Producers wanting to learn more about reducing greenhouse gas emissions while increasing productivity and profitability can access the Farm300 resources (including videos, a webinar and tutorials)
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