Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig announced today the funding of 17 projects by a network of 12 universities, government agencies and research institutions on the efficient use of nitrogen in agriculture at QUT's Samford Ecological Research Facility near Brisbane.
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 that has developed an automated greenhouse chamber operating in a network of research centres around the country to measure nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide emissions in real-time which enables this research to be undertaken.
"QUT has received $3 million of the funding for three research projects, one of which is to coordinate the 16 other projects across Australia that will produce high quality data and knowledge for policymakers, stakeholders and farmers to improve nitrogen efficiency and reduce nitrous oxide emissions ," Professor Grace said.
"One of the other projects is in collaboration with Dairy Australia and is aimed at reducing nitrous oxide emissions and improving nitrogen use efficiency. It will aim to find the optimal level of fertiliser to maintain productivity while reducing both air and water pollution.
"The other QUT project is to analyse soils from different farming systems across Australia to develop a greater understanding of the nitrogen cycle and reduce nitrous oxide emissions.
"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."
The projects are part of a $70 million research program aimed at lowering agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, funded by the Australian Government.
The QUT research program comes under the Nitrous Oxide priority of the Climate Change Filling the Research Gap (FtRG) Program which is part of the Carbon Farming Futures program under the Securing a Clean Energy Future plan.
QUT has also received funding for an additional project from the Soil Carbon priority in the FtRG Program.
Provided by Queensland University of Technology
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