AGFACE (Australian Grains Free Air CO2 Enrichment)


Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is predicted to rise above 550 ppm (parts per million) within this century. CO2 is the direct substrate of photosynthesis - the process by which green plants fix solar energy and produce biomass. Increasing concentrations stimulate plant growth and the process is often referred to as the "fertilisation effect". To successfully adapt crop production practices and agro-ecosystem management in the face of increasing CO2, plant production must be studied in a range of environments under field conditions.

The Australian Grains Free Air CO2 Enrichment (AGFACE) facility enabled the exposure of field grown crops to elevated CO2 levels under dryland field conditions.

The FACE (Free Air COEnrichment) technique is used internationally at more than 30 sites, investigating a multitude of ecosystems including cropping systems, pastures, and forests.

AGFACE was a collaborative effort by the partner organisations of PICCC - Agriculture Victoria and the University of Melbourne. It was supported by funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and the Australian Research Council.

During its first phase (2007-2014), AGFACE research focused on yield, grain quality and disease responses to elevated CO2. The second phase of research (2014-2018) focused on increasing our understanding of elevated CO2 impacts on water and nitrogen resource use and grain yield and quality as well as disease response, so that growers can capitalise on the 'CO2fertilisation effect' without the negative impacts on grain protein and micronutrients.

Results from research carried out as part of the AGFACE projects (DAV00109 and DAV00137) are available at

Related resources

Title Excerpt
AGFACE fact sheet (2011) Crops for an evolving climate. The Australian Grains Free Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment (AGFACE) facility is one of only six agricultural FACE sites internationally.
AGFACE fact sheet (2014) Fact sheet profiling the project Australian Grains Free Air Carbon dioxide Enrichment program.
AGFACE publications A bibliographic survey of research publications produced by the AGFACE program and its projects.
AGFACE workshop presentations Download presentations from the 2014 AGFACE Crop Science Workshop.