Mitigation and adaptation for the Australian dairy industry

Background

The Mitigation and Adaptation for the Australian Dairy Industry (MAADI) project provided on-farm demonstration and validation of climate change mitigation and adaptation options, strategies, technologies and techniques for the Australian dairy industry.

Project outline

Based at DemoDAIRY in south west Victoria, researchers conducted a series of field trials and laboratory and modelling studies measuring greenhouse gas emissions under a range of management strategies. Model validation and simulation of alternate forages aimed to give producers greater confidence in managing levels of production under future climate change scenarios.

Management strategies tested included cultivation practices, dairy sludge application and irrigation allocations.

A second component of the project, managed by Dairy Australia, was focused on demonstrating (on commercial dairy farms) those strategies and technologies that have already been proven and therefore are the basis for any dairy farmer wanting to explore adaptation and mitigation options for their farm. More information about this component is available on the Dairy Australia website.

Results

Results indicated that incorporating alternate forage species into the feedbase can increase profitability of dairy systems in warmer and drier future climate scenarios. Deep-rooted forage species, such as lucerne, and double cropping systems, such as winter wheat followed by summer brassica, showed potential at the sites modelled.

Forage samples were analysed for digestibility and methane gas yield, with a moderate relationship between methane production and digestibility demonstrated for a range of forage crops. The data will be integral for the development of forage-based feeding systems designed to mitigate methane emissions.

Field experiments testing the effect of applying nitrogen to the forage crop in the form of dairy sludge showed higher nitrous oxide emissions compared to both the control crop and the crop treated with inorganic nitrogen fertiliser. The study will provide preliminary data on nitrous oxide emissions from different nitrogen sources on dairy farms in southern Australia.

Outcomes

The activities undertaken in MAADI have resulted in:

Related resources

Title Excerpt
MAADI fact sheet Fact sheet profiling the completed project 'Mitigation and Adaptation for the Australian Dairy Industry'.

Research Theme

Adaptation

Project Status

Archived

Project Leadership

Deli Chen
  • Professor Deli Chen
  • Professor
  • University of Melbourne

Joe Jacobs
  • Dr Joe Jacobs
  • Principal Scientist
  • Agriculture Victoria

Fact Sheet

Project Team

  • Dr Brendan Cullen
    University of Melbourne
  • Dr Richard Rawnsley
    Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
  • Debra Turner
    University of Melbourne
  • Graeme Ward
    Agriculture Victoria

Funding Organisations

  • Agriculture Victoria
  • Dairy Australia
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
  • University of Melbourne

Collaborating Organisations

  • Agriculture and Agri-food Canada
  • Dairy Australia
  • Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture