University of Tasmania

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A whole farm systems analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of 60 Tasmanian dairy farms

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 09:23 authored by Karen Christie, Richard RawnsleyRichard Rawnsley, Eckard, RJ
The Australian dairy industry contributes ¡­1.6% of the nation¡¯s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, emitting an estimated 8.9 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents (t CO2e)/annum (DCC,2008). This study examined GHG emissions of 60 Tasmanian dairy farms using the Dairy Greenhouse gas Abatement Strategies (DGAS) calculator, which incorporates International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Australian inventory methodologies, algorithms and emission factors. Sources of GHG emissions including pre-farm embedded emissions associated with key farm inputs (i.e., grains/concentrates, forages and fertilizers) and on-farm emissions from CO2, CH4 and N2O are estimated by DGAS software. A detailed description of GHG calculations and functionality of DGAS software are provided. Total farm GHG emissions of 60 Tasmanian dairy farms, as estimated with DGAS, ranged between 704 and 5839 t CO2e/annum, with a mean of 2811 t CO2e/annum. Linear regression analyses showed that 0.93 of the difference in total farm GHG emission was explained by milk production. The estimated mean GHG emission intensity of milk of production was 1.04 kg CO2e/kg fat and protein corrected milk (FPCM; ranged between 0.83 and 1.39 t CO2e/t FPCM) with a standard deviation of 0.13. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis showed that feed conversion efficiency (kg FPCM/kg dry matter (DM) intake) and N based fertilizer application rate explained 0.60 of the difference in the GHG emissions due to milk production from these pastoral based dairy systems. Estimated per cow and per hectare emission intensity was 6.9 ¡¾ 1.46 t CO2e/cow and 12.6 ¡¾ 4.37 t CO2e/ha, respectively. Stepwise multiple linear regression analysis showed that DM intake per cow (t DM intake/cow/lactation) explained 0.86 of the variability in per cow GHG emissions intensity, while milk production/hectare (t FPCM/ha) explained 0.92 of the variability in per hectare GHG emission intensity. Given the influence that feed conversion efficiency and/or N based fertilizer application rates had on all GHG emissions intensities, it is clear that these factors should be key target areas to lower the intensity of emissions associated with dairying in Tasmania.


Dairy Australia Limited


Publication title

Animal Feed Science and Technology: An International Scientific Journal










Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Elsevier Science Bv

Place of publication

Po Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae

Rights statement

The definitive version is available at

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem)

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