Australian Agriculture Shares A$70 Million in Research Grants18 May 2012
AUSTRALIA - Over 100 research and demonstration projects across the country will share in $72.5 million as part of the Gillard Government’s first round of Filling the Research Gap and Action on the Ground grants.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, announced the funding at the Queensland University of Technology’s site in Samford, near Brisbane, and said this investment will help farmers and land managers lower greenhouse gas emissions and access new sources of farm income.
“This work will take the research from the lab to the farm,” Minister Ludwig said.
“These 117 projects cover a range of areas, including reducing emissions from livestock and cropping, through to on–farm trials of practices and technologies to help land managers become more sustainable and resilient.
“The funding for these projects is an investment in the future of Australia’s agriculture sector and provides opportunities for farmers to diversify their income.”
Minister Ludwig said almost 500 applications had been received for the two programmes.
“Australian farmers, landholders and agri–researchers all see the value of supporting research projects that will build the foundation of the long term new economy for Australian agriculture,” he said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus QC MP said the grants were part of the Gillard Government land sector package.
“The Land Sector Package is delivering for rural and regional Australia by offering farmers and landholders the chance to earn income through approved projects designed to cut dangerous greenhouse gas emissions," Mr Dreyfus said.
“The Filling the Research Gap programme will invest A$47.3 million into 58 projects in five key research areas including reducing methane emissions (from livestock and manure), reducing nitrous oxide emissions (from fertilisers and soils), increasing soil carbon and improving modelling capability.
“The Action on the Ground programme will invest A$25.2 million into 59 projects involving 424 properties around the country. These projects will trial and demonstrate a range of on–farm technologies and innovative practices that store carbon, reduce or mitigate emissions of nitrous oxide and methane and improve farm productivity.”
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) was among the recipients, receiving funding for four projects under Filling the Research Gap.
QUT’s Professor Peter Grace, who is theme leader for Healthy Ecosystems and Environmental Monitoring at the Institute for Future Environments, said the projects would focus on reducing the amount of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide produced by the agricultural use of nitrogen fertilisers, while maintaining crop and pasture production levels.
QUT has been part of an international consortium which has developed an automated greenhouse chamber that is operating in a network of research centres around the country that measures nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide emissions in real–time which enables this research to be undertaken.
“We know that farming produces about 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions globally and nitrogen fertiliser accounts for about 75 per cent of nitrous oxide emissions.”