Farming: Meeting greenhouse gas targets

Targets for reducing the three key greenhouse gases should be set for the farming industry to help it attain achievable cuts of more than 50 per cent by 2045.

With a focus on maintaining food production, the “Farming for 1.5 Degrees” report published yesterday said that a reduction of 25 per cent in methane emissions by 2032 could be achieved through a combination of better animal health, improved genetics, early adoption of feed additives and better management of manures.

“By 2045 a reduction of 50 per cent on current levels is possible through low methane breeding and widespread adoption of feed additives,” added the report.

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For nitrous oxide the group envisaged a reduction of 25 per cent by 2032 through a combination of more efficient use of bagged nitrogen, manures and slurries, an increase in the use of legumes and the reduction of nitrogen use on land being farmed for nature.

“Nutrient budgeting, yield mapping, crop monitoring, controlled release fertilisers and variable rate application all contribute to nitrogen use efficiency.”

The report added that further uptake would result in a cumulative reduction of 50 per cent in nitrous oxide emissions by 2045.

There would also be some efficiency savings on carbon dioxide emissions in the next ten years, as the industry prepared for the full decarbonising of farm machinery in the 2030s.

Speeding up best practice adoption and innovation required an informed, explicit, coordinated and responsive approach:

“It won’t happen by itself,” said the report, which added:

“The advisory service is key, and needs to be rebooted and aligned to the goal.”

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