Transcript of the CCRP research overview

​This ten minute video was produced to communicate the significant research effort undertaken to help provide practical solutions for our primary industries through the Climate Change Research Program. It provides an overview of all the research programs to help land managers understand how they can manage emissions and adapt to climate change.  This research has been funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to help prepare Australia’s primary industries for climate change and build the resilience of Australia’s agricultural sector.

Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry
Transcript – CCRP over-arching Video (Final) – a new generation of Climate Change research

20 June 2012


  1. Voice Over:
    The Australian Government’s Climate Change Research Program, or CCRP, is a significant research effort to help provide practical solutions for our primary industries to adapt to the changing climate. The CCRP has laid the vital groundwork for further research, demonstration and extension that will now occur through the $429 million Carbon Farming Futures Program.

    Professor Snow Barlow is chair of the CCRP’s Expert Advisory  Panel.

    Professor Snow Barlow, Chair in Food Production Horticulture, University of Melbourne:
    The CCRP marks a new emphasis on research into primary industries, namely to include climate change as one of the key objectives.

    This happens in two ways:

    Firstly, in terms of funding climate change adaptation research, to ensure that the current and next generation of farmers are able to remain profitable and productive in a changing climate.

    The second important part is that we are putting down the research base to allow Australia’s farmers in the future to reduce the emissions intensity of their agricultural production.

  2. Voice Over:
    The CCRP brought together dozens of organisations, hundreds of researchers and thousands of farmers in one of the biggest cross-agency primary industry research programs seen in this country.

    The Australian Government invested $46.2 million over four years into this research, which supported strong collaborative partnerships. Combined with the contribution from research agencies, and rural industries research and development corporations, the total research investment was over $130 million.

    The CCRP research focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, managing soils, improving adaptation to climate change, and demonstrating research on farms and in food processing plants. The aim was to help farmers and food processors adopt practical technologies that maintain productivity and deliver lower greenhouse gas emissions.

    Let’s look at some key findings from the program.

    Title: Soils ain’t soils – understanding soil organic carbon

  3. Voice Over:
    Dr Jeff Baldock from the CSIRO led the national Soil Carbon Research Program, which has  developed a cost effective way of measuring the amount and form of soil carbon and created the first detailed soil carbon benchmark for many of our agricultural regions.

    Dr Jeffrey Baldock, Lead Scientist, Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Balance, CSIRO:
    Farmers are becoming more and more interested in soil carbon because of a recognition of its potential roles in the productivity. They also now with the publicity around soil carbon trading and potential carbon trading systems that may be coming online are interested in understanding whether there’s a role for them or an opportunity for them to gain carbon credits and sell them in the market.

  4. Voice Over:
    His team has collected over 16,000 soil samples from more than 3,500 locations across Australia.

    Dr Jeffrey Baldock, Lead Scientist, Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Balance, CSIRO:
    What we’re doing with these samples is analysing both the amount of carbon plus the form of carbon present in them and what we want to end up with then in each of these regions that we sample is a very good understanding of the baseline carbon values that exist out there and how they may vary when we move from one management regime to another.

    The Soil Carbon program represents the biggest effort that’s gone on to date in defining the amount of carbon that’s contained in Australian soils. In particular the advantage that it’s had over previous work is that we’re using a consistent methodology everywhere across the country so all of our results will be comparable.Title: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving soil health

  5. Voice Over:
    Biochar is a stable, carbon-rich form of charcoal that may improve soil health and water-holding capacity. There is evidence from ancient farming cultures, such as those in South America, that similar charcoal was applied for farming purposes.  Some biochars may be able to hold carbon in the soil for 100 to 1500 years. CCRP researchers have analysed 80 different biochars to better understand the role they can play in reducing emissions and sequestering carbon in the soil.

    Dr Evelyn Krull, Research team leader, Carbon and Nutrient Cycling, CSIRO:
    Well our research in biochar is related to agriculture as well as carbon sequestration and we're looking at the properties of different biochar, how they interact with different soils, and how that effects crop productivity, and if biochars can be used to mitigate climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. Title: Scientist use farmers’ knowledge to identify the settings for successful mixed farming

  6. Voice Over:
    Farmers have an inherent ability to manage risk. Scientists have tapped into this intelligence to better manage mixed farming systems in highly variable and changing climates.

    As part of the “Developing climate change resilient cropping and mixed cropping/grazing businesses in Australia” project, researchers worked with nine research agencies and 14 farmer groups across Australia to identify activities they believe will make them resilient to climate variability.

    Mr Steven Crimp, Project leader, CSIRO:
    Farmers have put forward their ideas about what options they think will provide them with resilience into the future.

  7. Voice Over:
    The researchers used a number of cropping and grazing models, including Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) software to explore possible outcomes.

    Mr Steven Crimp, Project leader, CSIRO:
    The way that we evaluate the effectiveness of those options is by looking at how those management options actually affect the yields and the other economic indicators.

    For example, If some of these adaptation options were taken up across the whole Australian wheat belt by 2070 and these are just different varieties, so, optimising varieties for climate conditions, and optimising planting windows, then we estimate that the benefits to the Australian cereal industry would be around $100 million to $500 million per annum.Title: Nitrous oxide emissions – no longer such a mystery

  8. Voice Over:
    Researchers in the Australian Nitrous Oxide Research Program, or NORP, studied nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural soils in Australia and the benefits that farmers can achieve by focusing on reducing emissions of this gas.

    The research was conducted on six experimental sites across Australia, collecting real time nitrous oxide emissions data over a broad range of irrigated, dryland, crop and pasture farming systems.

    Graphic: Map of Australia
    NORP core field sites:

    • Mackay, QLD
    • Kingsthorpe, QLD
    • Tamworth, NSW
    • Hamilton, VIC
    • Terang, VIC
    • Wongan Hills, WA

    Professor Peter Grace, Institute for Sustainable Resources, Queensland University of Technology (QUT):
    Nitrous oxide has a global warming potential 300 times that of carbon dioxide, so it is a very potent greenhouse gas.

    What we wish to achieve is actually develop simple tools and some practical guidelines for growers, to reduce their nitrous oxide emissions but at the same time increase their nitrogen use efficiency and productivity.

    In the majority of cases we feel that too much fertiliser is being applied at any time. Its efficiency can be greatly increased by better management of the fertiliser, the potential use of inhibitors…. We also look at other management practices that growers have a direct hand on.

    The overall benefit of this program will be growers will have a clearer picture of how they manage their resources on farm.Title: Oils ain’t oils – reducing methane emissions in the dairy industry

  9. Voice Over:
    Victorian dairy producers have trialed natural feed additives to improve dairy conditions and reduce their carbon footprint.

    Associate Professor Richard Eckard, Director, Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre:
    The aim of the research here was to look at practical ways to reduce methane from dairy cattle in this case. Dairy cattle have the advantage of being fed in the dairy nearly everyday and so there’s practical options to add something to their diet that will reduce methane.

    In the case of the experiment here, we looked at a range of different feed supplements including dietary oils. There was some evidence that dietary oils can reduce methane and we tried a range of different oil seeds, oil sources; whole cottonseed oil, cold pressed canola, hominy meal, a range of oils and we found a consistent reduction in methane from these if fed on a daily basis.

    But during the summer, in most of Victoria, the natural oil content is down around by 1% - 1½% so there’s a window to add a significant amount of oil during summer and reduce methane during that period.Title:  Hotter and Drier – adaptation in southern livestock industries

  10. Voice Over:
    Using sophisticated models, researchers involved in the Southern Livestock Adaptation Program have worked through future climate scenarios and their impact on current grazing systems across southern Australia.

    Mr Phil Graham, Technical Specialist, Grazing systems, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Yass:
    This is how the enterprise performed historically, this is how it’s performing with the future climate. What’s the difference? So in doing that, we’ve assessed what the impact is. And then we start moving onto “What changes can we make?”

  11. Voice Over:
    Knowing what these models are showing, southern graziers can have more certainty around what they can do now to adapt their business to a changing climate.

    Mr Phil Graham, Technical Specialist, Grazing systems, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Yass:
    At most locations the impact of changes in rainfall and temperature has been that we’re going to have a shorter growing season. So we’re going to be growing green grass for less months than we were before. That’s placing pressure on ground cover. So one way, which producers are already using, is summer feedlots. We’ll get the animals off the pasture to protect the vast bulk of the farm from degradation. So some producers are looking at that are saying, “ I was thinking of developing these facilities, this is giving me the indication I should go ahead and do that.”

  12. Voice Over:
    This important foundation work will be built on through the Australian Government’s new Carbon Farming Futures Program, or CFF. This six year program will provide $429 million for research and demonstration of technologies and techniques to help reduce agricultural emissions and provide the tools and information land managers need to benefit from carbon farming.

    Professor Snow Barlow, Chair in Food Production Horticulture, University of Melbourne:
    Farmers have more than climate to deal with but it’s important that they are climate aware going forward. Not only what it is now, but what it might be in the future.

    The Climate Change Research Program funds research projects and on-farm demonstrations to help prepare Australia’s primary industries for climate change and build the resilience of Australia’s agricultural sector into the future.

    The Climate Change Research Program is supported by funding and in-kind support from the following partners:

    Dairy Australia
    Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)
    Meat & Livestock Australia

    For more information visit the DAFF website, Climate change

Last reviewed: 30 September 2020
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