Carbon Farming Futures

​Under the Carbon Farming Futures (CFF) program, which began in 2012 and ran through to June 2017, the Australian Government invested more than $139 million in 200 projects, involving 350 organisations with more than 530 farm trial sites. Some of the program highlights include:

  • research demonstrated that inhibiting methane production in ruminants can improve the growth and productivity of an animal
  • lower manure application rates were found to reduce emissions while maintaining farm productivity
  • careful nitrogen budgeting can reduce nitrogen losses by up to 80 percent
  • fertiliser rates in temperate regions could be reduced (even halved) with no yield reduction
  • standardised methods for analysing soil organic carbon have been developed
  • significant gains can be made for heat tolerance in the Australian dairy herd through selective breeding
  • farm management scenarios show that emissions intensity can be reduced while maintaining farm productivity
  • many farmers and land managers, and their key influencers, became more aware of on‑farm emissions management and how to participate in the ERF scheme

More detailed research findings and results from the CFF can be found in the publication “Boosting farm productivity – Improved soils and reduced greenhouse gas emissions”. The publication also identifies some key growth opportunities and constraints that farmers will face over the coming decades, while showing how farmers can boost productivity and profitability; improve soil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Boosting Farm Productivity - Research findings from the Carbon Farming Futures programme, 2012 to 2016 DOCX8412.4 M​B
Boosting Farm Productivity - Research findings from the Carbon Farming Futures programme, 2012 to 2016 PDF843.39 MB

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The Carbon Farming Futures program ensured that advances in land management technologies and techniques for emissions reduction and adaptation will lead to enhanced productivity and sustainable land use under a changing climate. These advances will help farmers and land managers to benefit from the economic opportunities of the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) while assisting Australia in achieving its long term emission reduction targets.

The program created new opportunities for land managers to enhance productivity, gain economic benefits and help the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon storage can also increase the land sector's resilience to climate change, protect Australia's natural environment and improve long term farm productivity.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources was responsible for delivering the four components of the Carbon Farming Futures program:

  • Filling the Research Gap – $74 million to support research into new technologies and practices for farmers to reduce emissions and/or increase soil carbon, as well as adapting farm practices to address business risks from a more variable climate.
  • Action on the Ground - $44 million to assist farmers to undertake on-farm trials of new technologies and practices. More than 530 farmers and 300 partner organisations were engaged through these projects.
  • Extension and Outreach - $21 million to increase the knowledge of farmers on how to enhance productivity while reducing greenhouse gas emissions or increasing soil carbon. This programme also provided information on how farmers could participate in the ERF
  • Conservation tillage refundable tax offset - provided a 15 per cent refundable tax offset for new eligible conservation tillage equipment and was jointly delivered with the Australian Taxation Office. As part of the repeal of the Carbon Tax, the government discontinued this initiative as of 1 July 2014. The department is therefore no longer issuing Research Participation Certificates.

In June 2017, Grosvenor Management Consulting completed “An Evaluation of the Carbon Farming Futures Program”. The evaluation was informed by a desktop review of all the funded projects and consultation with key stakeholders. The full report can be found here.

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An Evaluation of the Carbon Farming Futures Program DOCX100612 KB
An Evaluation of the Carbon Farming Futures Program PDF1001.53 MB

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