Up to $3M is available for research projects that focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector, sequestering carbon and enhancing sustainable agricultural practices.
Filling the Research Gap provides $201 million over six years to fund research into new technologies and practices for land managers to reduce emissions and store soil carbon. It also includes a biennial land management practise survey to be conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to underpin additionality assessments for the CFI.
The Australian Government is helping to build Australia’s clean energy future by putting a price on carbon; promoting innovation and investment in renewable energy; encouraging energy efficiency; and creating opportunities in agriculture and the broader land sector to reduce emissions and increase productivity.
Filling the Research Gap is a component of Carbon Farming Futures Program and will invest $201 million to support research into emerging abatement technologies, strategies and innovative management practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector, sequester carbon and enhance sustainable agricultural practices.
Filling the Research Gap is building on research undertaken through the Climate Change Research Program. Projects will target current research gaps around abatement technologies and practices. Research priorities are reducing methane emissions, reducing nitrous oxide emissions, sequestering carbon and improving modelling capability.
Filling the Research Gap outcomes will underpin the development of new abatement methodologies that land managers can use to participate in the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI). The CFI voluntary carbon offsets scheme allows participating land managers to earn additional income from reducing emissions and storing carbon in the landscape.
Filling the Research Gap funds research into emerging abatement technologies, strategies and innovative management practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector (without reducing production); increase soil carbon; and enhance sustainable agricultural practices.
Filling the Research Gap is building on research undertaken through the Climate Change Research Program (CCRP) and research projects will draw on industry, science and government sectors to ensure that:
In fulfilling the Filling the Research Gap objectives, this research strategy will encourage:
Round 1 of Filling the Research Gap focused on improving understanding of the sources, scale and cause of agricultural emissions and quantifying the effectiveness of management practices and technologies aimed at reducing emissions and enhancing soil carbon stocks. Round 1 projects will contribute to better defining abatement opportunities under the CFI.
Round 2 of Filling the Research Gap will build on research efforts funded under Round 1 and the CCRP.
Under Round 2, up to $50 million (GST exclusive) is available to fund eligible research projects and coordination of national research programs.
Applications for round 2 closed 23 January 2013. Details about any future rounds will be updated here.
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Round one ($38.5 million) Filling the Research Gap investments include:
A detailed list of projects is provided here.
Host control of methane emissions from sheep—University of Western Australia.
Funding of $1,428,732 ex GST
This project is studying the interaction between animal hosts and rumen microbial populations to provide insights into the fundamental biology of rumen function and methane emissions in sheep. It will underpin the discovery of new tools for breeding low methane emitting sheep.
Genetics to reduce methane emissions from Australian sheep—The University of New England.
Funding of $810,314 ex GST
This project is developing a robust standard operating procedure for measuring methane emissions from sheep. Outcomes will enable industry breeding values for methane emissions to be developed and will provide a pathway to participation in the Carbon Farming Initiative.
Nitrate and sulphate rich shrubs to reduce methane and increase productivity—CSIRO.
Funding of $1,087,058 ex GST
This project is investigating nitrate and sulphate rich shrubs to develop practical, plant-based technologies and new grazing systems to help reduce methane emissions from livestock systems. Findings could increase agricultural productivity and sustainability without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Mitigation of nitrous oxide emissions in the national vegetable industry—La Trobe University.
Funding of $1,811,361 ex GST
This project is investigating options to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions in the national vegetable industry by assessing new fertiliser technologies and management strategies which have potential to increase nitrogen use efficiency. Comparisons will be made with benchmark values measured on current vegetable cropping systems.
Anaerobic treatment for emissions reduction from solid manure residues—The University of Queensland.
Funding of $331,800 ex GST
This project is quantifying methane emissions from conventional storage and processing of solid manure residues and will develop a processing technology to stabilise solid residues by anaerobic digestion. Outcomes will prevent volatilisation during collection, storage and land application of the manure product.
An innovative solution for accurate and affordable estimates of soil carbon—CSIRO.
Funding of $1,227,515 ex GST
This project is developing a proof-of-concept prototype system for measuring soil condition into a field-deployable system. This will assist land managers to effectively measure and detect changes in soil organic carbon stores and will provide reliable data to improve decision making and management.
Sugarcane for future climates—CSIRO.
Funding of $590,000 ex GST
This project is developing sugarcane adapted to drier and higher carbon dioxide future climate scenarios. It will identify sugarcane best suited to breeding programs and develop practical, low cost selection methods for ongoing implementation in industry breeding programs.
A simple indicator of potential nitrous oxide loss from agricultural soils—Queensland University of Technology.
Funding of $485,920 ex GST
The project is quantifying the relationship between active carbon and potential nitrous oxide loss in a laboratory situation. A rapid in-field soil test will be developed to assess the suitability of soil type for nitrous oxide reducing practices in the field.
The trade-off between feed efficiency, methane and reproduction in sheep—Murdoch University.
Funding of $662,633 ex GST
This project is investigating the trade-off between feed efficiency, methane and reproduction in sheep. A whole-farm analysis will be used to understand the profitability trade-off between animal selection for increased feed efficiency versus reduced methane production.
Achieving least cost greenhouse gas abatement–opportunities in Australian grains farms—CSIRO.
Funding of $1,046,565 ex GST
This project is modelling scenarios to estimate mitigation benefits of various management practices applicable to Australian grain farms. The project will establish case-studies with farmer groups currently involved in the Action on the Ground program and other Grains Research and Development Corporation projects in major grain growing regions.
Managing biological, physical and chemical constraints to soil carbon storage—University of Western Australia.
Funding of $1,216,388 ex GST
This project is assessing the stability of soil carbon under a variety of management practices, including emerging management practices that may increase soil carbon at depth. The project will assess how soil carbon stability will be affected by changing climate predictions.
Crossing the threshold: adaptation tipping points for Australian fruit trees—University of Melbourne.
Funding of $938,932 ex GST
This project is focusing on the Australian fruit tree industry (specifically stone fruit and cherry) to investigate adaptation lead times to critical tipping points for winter chilling, spring frost risk, extreme heat exposure and yield potential. The project will collect field data across Australia and will evaluate effectiveness of adaptation options.
Reducing nitrous oxide emissions in key perennial tree crop industries—University of Tasmania.
Funding of $612,961 ex GST
This project is investigating ways of reducing nitrous oxide emissions in key perennial tree crop industries in cool and temperate climates of southern Australia. Products and practices most likely to reduce nitrous oxide losses will be identified, and findings will allow horticultural producers to establish baseline data for greenhouse gas emissions and improve data on emissions factors.
Innovative livestock systems to adapt to climate change and reduce emissions—University of Western Australia.
Funding of $1,248,634 ex GST
This project is quantifying productivity of legume pastures with lower potential for methane production in the rumen. Modelling will determine impacts of a range of sheep and pasture management strategies on whole farm profit, risk and methane emissions for different environments and climate change scenarios.
Novel strategies to breed dairy cattle for adaptation and reduced methane emissions—Dairy Futures Limited.
Funding of $1,950,000 ex GST
This project is developing novel strategies for the dairy industry to adapt to a changing climate and reduce methane emissions. Outcomes will allow dairy farmers to select breeding animals with reduced methane emissions (per litre of milk produced) and improved heat tolerance.
Maximising energy-yielding rumen pathways in response to methane inhibition—CSIRO.
Funding of $430,882 ex GST
This project is investigating ways of maximising rumen digestion efficiency in response to methane inhibition. Findings will identify dietary supplements and/or microbial treatments that can reduce methane production (while increasing productivity) and outcomes will establish a safe target for methane reduction using commercial diets.
Composting as a means of minimising greenhouse gas emissions from the manure supply chain—Queensland University of Technology.
Funding of $678,644 ex GST
This project is investigating manure composting as a practice for minimising greenhouse gas emissions from intensive livestock industries and the manure supply chain. The project is comparing composting and stockpiling of manures to quantify reduction of methane and nitrous oxide emissions. It will provide emission factors that could be used to improve Australia’s National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. The project will also determine the potential to reduce nitrous oxide emissions through the application of composted instead of raw manures.
Crop traits for productivity in a high carbon dioxide world under drought and heat—University of Melbourne.
Funding of $1,200,000 ex GST
This project is studying cereal, pulse and oilseed crops for resilience to heat and drought stress under elevated carbon dioxide conditions. It is providing real world, validated measurements of crop water, nitrogen use and plant carbon allocation under elevated carbon dioxide conditions in interaction with climate variability factors.
Adaptive value chain approaches—CSIRO.
Funding of $798,000 ex GST
This project is answering critical questions such as: how are value chains impacted by climate change and variability; how can value chains effectively respond through adaptation and mitigation strategies; and what are the impacts of these strategies on value creation and competitive advantages in value chains?
Low-emission nitrogen fertilisers based on clay-modified activated charcoal—The University of Newcastle.
Funding of $925,045 ex GST
This project is investigating the low emission potential of nitrogen fertilisers based on clay-modified activated charcoal. It is focusing on reducing emissions of nitrous oxide from fertiliser application in high-emission agro-climatic zones by developing new fertiliser technology and practices. It is also examining the important relationship between nitrogen and carbon in the production of nitrous oxide.
Improving resilience against heat stress in dairy cows and pigs—University of Melbourne.
Funding of $1,034,388 ex GST
Building on previous work that examined heat stress in sheep, this project is validating the use of dietary additives to reduce the impact of heat stress on lactating dairy cows and lactating and growing pigs. The project is informing genetic selection to handle heat, making particular use of extensively genotyped dairy cows.
Can advances in mid-term weather forecasts reduce emissions from nitrogen fertiliser?—Queensland University of Technology.
Funding of $652,144 ex GST
This project is investigating whether advances in mid-term weather forecasts can better inform farm management practices that will reduce emissions from nitrogen fertiliser. The project is also assessing how different fertiliser regimes can be used to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions under forecast scenarios.
Dairy intensification and climate change adaptation, impacts on profit, risk and people—Dairy Australia Limited.
Funding of $1,163,173 ex GST
This project is combining biophysical and economic modelling, social research and farmer engagement to identify farm management responses and/or innovations that maintain profitability while building resilience under a more variable and challenging future. The project is examining the impact of challenging future climates on farm development scenarios including intensification and de-intensification.
Impacts of Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies on whole-farm systems—The University of New England.
Funding of $532,613 ex GST
Assisted through international collaboration of researchers from the United States of America and New Zealand, this project is filling knowledge gaps about manipulation of methane production in the rumen. The project is quantifying emissions under different forage and nutritional regimes and is estimating changes in enterprise productivity resulting from potential rumen-based methodologies for the Carbon Farming Initiative.
Novel business structures for adaptation to a changing climate—University of Western Australia.
Funding of $226,162 ex GST
This project is examining how novel business structures can allow farm businesses to better adapt to a changing climate. The merits and feasibility of innovation in farm business structure will be assessed and widely communicated to farmer and investor forums to show the role and value of business structure innovation in facilitating farm adaptation to a changing climate.
Indirect emissions of nitrous oxide from broad-acre irrigated agriculture—Cotton Research and Development Corporation.
Funding of $677,884 ex GST
This project is measuring the indirect emissions of nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide from the surface waters of each of the major water supply components of an irrigated cotton farm. The project will consider the effects of water management and nitrogen application rates on emissions and will also investigate indirect nitrous oxide losses to deep groundwater.
Importance of ‘deep’ soil carbon to long-term carbon storage—The University of New England.
Funding of $513,414 ex GST
This project is considering the impacts of different management practices on soil carbon. It will improve the understanding of the effect of contemporary management practices on the amount, form and stability of soil carbon. Findings will help identify opportunities for long-term carbon storage through targeted management practices and/or specific land use and soil type combinations.
Cost-effective viticultural strategies to adapt to a warmer, drier climate—Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.
Funding of $599,373 ex GST
This project is building on results from the Climate Change Research Program to produce a toolbox of viticultural adaptation management options for a hotter and drier vineyard environment. It is also identifying innovative viticultural strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Farm scale assessment of soil organic carbon from disaggregated national/regional scale models—University of Sydney.
Funding of $297,837 ex GST
This project is developing and validating tools that will enable farm-scale estimates of baseline soil organic carbon to be derived from nationally and/or regionally calibrated models. This research will be conducted in collaboration with Landcare Research New Zealand.
Evaluating transformative adaptation options for Australian extensive farming—CSIRO.
Funding of $1,600,000 ex GST
This project is assisting cereal–livestock and pastoral zones to adapt to a changing climate by identifying and assessing innovative and adoptable practice change. In consultation with landholders, the project will evaluate practices beyond business as usual and will identify opportunities to transfer adaptation practices across climatic zones.
International coordination of the ruminant pangenome project—University of Western Australia.
Funding of $333,256 ex GST
This international collaboration brings together scientific expertise to coordinate livestock systems research focused on reduction and/or abatement of greenhouse gas emissions. Outcomes of coordination will instil confidence in research findings about genetic control of livestock methane emissions and will inform policy development.
Farmers will benefit from 31 new research projects looking at how farm practices can be adapted to reduce carbon emissions and earn them a second income stream by generating and selling carbon credits.
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Joe Ludwig, said 31 projects would share in $30 million under the Gillard Government’s $201 million Filling the Research Gap Program, which funds the research that will assist in developing methodologies that can be applied by farmers and landholders to reduce emissions.
A report released by the Climate Commission today reinforced the need to act on climate change, finding climate change is already increasing the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events which pose significant risks to agriculture and the environment.
Minister Ludwig said the Filling the Research Gap Program aimed to provide data to assist in developing methodologies that help farmers and landholders participate in the Carbon Farming Initiative to reduce emissions, improve their farm sustainability and diversify their farm income.
“These projects will build our knowledge about how farmers and landholders can play their part in reducing carbon emissions and act to fight climate change and the risks it poses for agriculture,” Minister Ludwig said.
“It is research projects like these that underpin the agriculture sector’s ability to take up the opportunities presented by the Carbon Farming Initiative.
“Some of Australia’s best research organisations have been successful in this round, including research and development corporations, universities and private industry.
“By supporting and investing in these research projects we are helping to develop new technology and land management practices and reinforce Australia’s reputation as a world leader in sustainable farming.”
Minister Ludwig announced the recipients during a visit to the Queensland University of Technology which will receive $1,816,708 for three projects that will:
“The Filling the Research Gap Program is part of the Gillard Government’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions, combating climate change, and supporting sustainable farming practices,” he said.
“This year’s grants build on last year’s first round that saw $47 million awarded to 57 projects. It also progresses the excellent work conducted under the Climate Change Research Program.”
Minister Ludwig said the research undertaken from Government funding in this round would focus on six themes: reducing emissions from livestock production systems; reducing nitrous oxide emissions; increasing soil carbon; farm system design and analysis; adaptation to climate change; and international collaboration.
Filling the Research Gap is an ongoing program with initial funding of $201 million allocated over six years to 2016–17. The Program is a component of the Carbon Farming Futures Program, under the government’s $1.7 billion Land Sector Package.