UNE receives $1.8 million for climate research

Published 23 April 2013

Kirby 3The University of New England has welcomed a $1.8 million boost in Federal funding to extend research into farming and livestock management initiatives to reduce methane gas emissions and increase soil carbon storage.

UNE Vice-Chancellor Jim Barber said this week’s announcement was welcome recognition of the quality work of the collaborative research partnerships between UNE and NSW State and Federal Government Departments.

“The University of New England aims to be the nation’s university of choice for research into regional issues of global significance and is highly regarded for the quality of its research that is of particular significance to rural and regional communities,’ Professor Barber said.

“Through this program, UNE has been a significant contributor to the Federal Government’s Climate Change Research Program, and this week’s announcement will allow our leading agricultural and environmental scientists to continue their groundbreaking research into farming management practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and store additional soil carbon.”

UNE received grant funding for the following three projects under Round 2 of the Federal Government’s Filling the Research Gap Program:

  • Genetics to reduce methane emissions from Australian sheep                $810,314
  • Impacts of Carbon Farming methodologies on whole-farm systems     $532,613
  • Importance of ‘deep’ soil carbon to long-term carbon storage                $513,414

UNE Professor of Animal Nutrition, Roger Hegarty, leads both livestock emissions projects and says this research is the next step in delivering real greenhouse management tools for farmers.

“Our UNE-NSW Department of Primary Industries partnership has previously shown that methane emission yield from livestock is a heritable trait, so genetic improvement is possible” Professor Hegarty said.

“This funding boost will enable us to develop simpler ways of measuring these emissions in order to make genetic change in emissions commercially viable across large numbers of animals.

Dr Brian Wilson who leads the soil carbon component of the work emphasised the value of research partnerships with NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, CSIRO and ANSTO in building this key research project to examine long-term carbon storage to offset greenhouse gas emissions.

Each of these projects paves the way for farmers and landholders to employ different management strategies to manage emissions without compromising productivity and to draw benefit from the current Carbon Farming Initiative.