Australian farmers dealing with climate change

  • We throw away more fruit and veggies that we eat
  • The genetics of burping – buying low emission bulls
  • See the future of your vineyard under climate change? Take a walk downhill.
  • We don’t need to go vegetarian to slash agricultural emissions
  • Minister Ludwig launches new strategy to fight climate change with $50 million in grants
  • Ross Garnaut talks about food security under a changing climate.

Some of today’s stories from CCRSPI – the agriculture and climate change conference in Melbourne.

While world leaders gather in Doha for the UN Climate Change Conference COP 18, Australia’s farm leaders and researchers meet at the MCG in Melbourne to discuss practical adaptation and responses to a changing climate. They’re discussing the viability of carbon farming, climate threats to winemakers, managing methane, sceptical farmers acting on climate change and more.

A major theme today is methane. Methane is rarer than carbon dioxide, but it’s also 25 times more potent in its impact on the climate – and it’s intimately connected to our favourite foods.

Livestock produce it as they digest their food, and every morsel of uneaten or wasted food lets off methane as it decays in landfill.

Food analyst Steve Spencer will outline that we throw away more fruit and veg than we eat. Seafood is almost as bad, with every prawn on the barbie being the twin of a prawn in the bin. Steve has many ideas on how we can avoid waste, cut emissions and save billions.

Aside from the emissions issue, wasted food is wasted money – well over $5bn worth of food goes to waste annually, just in NSW, according to Steve.

Buy low emission bulls and breed for less methane. If your uncle Barry has gas, you should be worried. It turns out that methane production levels (read: burps – cows don’t fart much) are partly due to hereditary factors, at least in cattle. This means we may be able to breed cattle to produce less methane.

Other stories from today include

  • A farmer’s perspective: Lucinda Corrigan reveals what it will take to get us to do our bit for the climate.
  • Climate change is sending winery harvests haywire. A snip in time could help
  • A Rosetta stone in the orchard: turning abstract climate science into local adaptation
  • Want to see the future of your vineyard under climate change? Take a walk downhill.

Media are welcome at the conference in the Olympic Room at the MCG. Enter via gate 3.

More information on these stories and others at

For interviews: Thami Croeser: 0421 133 012, AJ Epstein: 0433 339 141 or email