Regenerative Agriculture sheep farmers in Australia, we need you!

Aim of this research: To co-develop profitable, sustainable, practical pathways for reducing farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, improving profitability and biodiversity of sheep farms. As part of this we will be comparing ‘regenerative agriculture’ sheep farms with those practising more conventional methods.

How: Each case study farmer participant will provide information on livestock and pasture production, soil types, financials, management, property location and size to researchers as part of the Carbon Storage Partnership. All information collected will be kept confidential and will be used to calibrate a range of models to ensure credibility of simulated pasture and livestock production, biodiversity, natural capital (trees, water, land etc), profitability, soil fertility and carbon. This ensures that models used produce realistic results. A number of adaptations partly suggested by the case study farmer and industry representatives would be modelled. Analytical processes will be refined with the participant (case study farmer/s) over two years. As part of this, the project team will compare the grazing management and natural capital outcomes of farmers practicing regenerative agriculture with those practicing more conventional farming methods.

Why participate? The research team will produce detailed scientific modelling of whole farm practices that are aimed at improving profitability and productivity, while reducing net farm GHG emissions. This will include feasible and tailored adaptations for improving biodiversity and carbon storage. Outcomes of the research will be disseminated in many ways (e.g. on-farm field days, webinars, newsletters and other multi-media). The farm/participant name could be made anonymous if desirable. Importantly, the research will demonstrate HOW whole farm adaptations can improve biodiversity, vegetation, soil carbon stocks and overall environmental stewardship. These adaptations will ultimately define pathways to carbon neutrality and beyond.

How much time will it take? We estimate participants will require around 10 days commitment over the course of two years. The timing of engagement with the project team would be flexible.

Cost/remuneration: Participation would be voluntary. We estimate that the scientific data and information produced would be worth tens of thousands of dollars – the cost to the participant would be nil. The participant’s business activities may also be promoted via extension, resulting in further awareness of the activities conducted by the participant.

Who: As the modelling and analysis is very detailed and scientifically rigorous, the project team will only engage four regenerative farmers across Australia. These will be selected based on location, evidence of good record keeping and willingness to engage over two years. All farm businesses that currently farm more than 100 sheep for wool are eligible to apply.

Further background: Interested participants may wish to view this YouTube video: Carbon farming: market risks, rebates, types of greenhouse gas emissions and accounting tools

Please note, we seek only sheep farms practicing regenerative agriculture in this study.

If you are interested in participating, please send the following to A/Prof Matthew Harrison: [email protected]

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  1. Would you class your farming practices as “regen ag” or “agro-ecological”? (this could be conducting any of short term cell grazing, implementing multi-pasture species mixtures, improving soil carbon, improving biodiversity etc) If yes please state how.
  2. How long have you practiced regenerative agriculture? e.g. 2 years
  3. Nearest town/s and postcode  e.g. Sea Lake Vic, 3533
  4. Farm size in hectares e.g. 300 ha
  5. Enterprise/s e.g. self-replacing merinos, purchase/sell wethers
  6. Type of grazing management (cell grazing, rotational etc)
  7. Typical stocking rates (e.g. 20 DSE/ha)
  8. Annual average rainfall mm/year for the farm  e.g. 500 mm/year
  9. Do you have good records of livestock numbers sold, liveweight (yes/no)
  10. Have you measured soil nutrients regularly (yes/no)
  11. Have you ever measured soil carbon on your farm (yes/no)
  12. If you have measured soil carbon, how long have you been doing this?
  13. Have you planted trees on your farm in the last 5 years? If yes how many hectares or plantations (roughly)
  14. Have you made any changes to your farm to measure or reduce greenhouse gas emissions? If yes please state what changes were made and why
  15. If you wanted to undertake a carbon farming project, what top three things would you be most likely to try?
  16. Would you be willing to share your annual farm income, costs and expenditure with the project team?
  17. How do you seeing your farm changing in the next five years. (1) much the same (2) more biodiversity (3) more carbon farming (4) more biodiversity and more carbon farming (5) going backwards (6) unsure (pick as many numbers as you like)
  18. Are you or have you been involved in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF)? If yes what activities have been implemented?
  19. What are you major focuses in farming? (1) Production, (2) Profit (3) improving sustainability (4) handing it down to future generations (5) biodiversity (6) all of 1-5 (7) other- please state
  20. Have you made any changes to your farm system with a specific intent to improve biodiversity on farm? (yes/no)
  21. Would you be willing to implement prospective modelled adaptations from this project provided they were viable? (yes/no)