At a glance
Who: Australian Agribusiness Group Investment Management (AAGIM)
Where: Western Australian farms are in Green Range, Scott River and Lake Jasper. Other assets in Australia are based in Victoria, NSW, Tasmania and the NT.
Property/organisation: AAGIM manages farms for institutional and family investors. The goal is carbon neutral 2025 at a farm gate level across the portfolio. The WA assets are large scale dairies and mixed sheep and cropping.
The main motivations behind our CNP (Carbon Neutral Project) are increasing efficiency and increasing resilience – i.e. more consistent returns in an increasingly volatile climate.
A farm that is carbon neutral or produces fewer emissions per unit of product is more efficient than those farms that have higher emissions. Additionally, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of the products they purchase. In the future, it is highly likely that carbon neutrality will be a market access requirement, or at least those products that can be sold as carbon neutral will attract a price premium.
So far, AAGIM has used the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre model to estimate total emissions across the portfolio for the 2018 calendar year. Sequestration estimates were made using a look-up table from the FullCAM model, embedded inside the DGas model. The numbers were added together to establish net emissions. This is not an ideal way to measure net emissions, however it seemed to be the best option with the tools available at the time.
During 2020, AAGIM has commenced several revegetation projects in non-arable and underproductive areas on farms, along with planting a number of shelterbelts for livestock protection. These projects will continue over the coming years.
Measurement of soil carbon stocks has commenced, with the goal of having a baseline for all farms complete by the end of 2020. Discussions and meetings have been held with farm staff and head office about building soil carbon stocks, increasing nitrogen fertiliser and energy use efficiency, and ways in which methane emissions can be reduced over the coming years.
So far, one of the greatest challenges is measuring the impact any management practice changes may have on emissions. Currently, there is no carbon calculator that can be used for all agricultural enterprises, that accounts for both emissions and sequestration, and adjusts emissions based on changes in management.
Start the conversation with anyone and everyone about AgZero2030. Share information, ideas and strategies and this goal can be achieved sooner. Make a start, because every great journey starts with the first step!
Story submitted by Alice Debney, Manager, Carbon Neutral Project, AAG Investment Management Pty Ltd