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Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by feeding dietary additives to milking cows

15 February 2017
Is the method for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by feeding dietary additives to milking cows suitable for your business?
  • Are you looking to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated by your milking cows?
  • Are your milking cows pasture fed for at least nine months of the year?
  • Are you able to feed at least one herd of milking cows eligible additives in a project year?

If you have answered yes to all of these questions, the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) (Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Feeding Dietary Additivities to Milking Cows) Methodology Determination 2013 (the method) may be suitable for your business.

Read on for further information including eligibility and compliance details.

This method applies to Emissions Reduction Fund projects that feed eligible additives to milking cows to reduce the amount of methane emissions.

Increasing the fat content of a milking cow's diet reduces methane emissions produced as a result of enteric fermentation. Enteric fermentation is a digestive process in ruminant animals such as cows, where feed is broken down by microorganisms into simple molecules, making them available for easy digestion by the animal.

Eligible additives used to increase the fat content of a milking cow’s diet include:

  • canola meal
  • cold-pressed canola meal
  • brewers grain
  • hominy meal, or
  • dried distillers grain.

Improving feed quality for milking cows in this way means the animals can use energy from the feed more efficiently while enabling faster feed passage through the rumen. This reduces the amount of enteric methane released, reducing the amount of emissions released into the atmosphere.

Under this method, the project must:

  • only occur on dairy farms, including organic dairy farms, where milking cows are pasture grazed for at least nine months of the year, and
  • maintain dietary fats and oils below 70 grams of fat per kilogram of dry matter feed in any season.

Method variations

Section 114 of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Ini​tiative) Act 2011 (the Act)​ ​allows for methods to be revised and varied. This is to ensure methods continue to operate as originally intended. Variations to methods are developed and drafted by the Department of the Environment and Energy. Information on draft methods and method variations is available on the Department of the Environment and Energy’s website.

The Clean Energy Regulator recommends making yourself familiar with proposed method variations relevant to your project should they arise, and how any changes between the original method and the varied method may affect your project plan.

Legislative requirements

You must read and understand the method and other legislative requirements to conduct a reducing greenhouse gas emissions by feeding dietary additives to milking cows project and earn Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs). This includes:

Tools and Resources​

Quick reference guide to the method for Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by feeding dietary additives to milking cows

This quick reference guide provides basic information about eligibility criteria and obligations that must be met to earn Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) for reducing greenhouse gases by feeding dietary additives to milking cows. It includes specific links to the relevant legislation but should not be viewed as an alternative to reading the full legislative requirements.

Contents

Crediting period

Seven years – The crediting period is the period of time a project can apply to claim Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs).

Eligibility requirements

There are general eligibility requirements in the Act which include:

  • newness
  • additionality and funding from other government programs, and
  • legal right.

In addition, the method requires that you:

  • conduct your project in Australia. Dairy farms in external territories have been excluded, and
  • use milking cows that are pasture fed for at least nine months of the year. The nine months do not need to be consecutive.

Project Activities

A project involves feeding eligible additives to milking cows. An eligible additive is one of the following:

  • canola meal
  • cold-pressed canola meal
  • brewers grain
  • hominy meal, or
  • dried distillers grain.

The concentration of fat in the diet of the milking herd must not exceed 70 grams of fat per kilogram of dry matter intake in any season.

The project must begin on the first day of a season (summer, autumn, winter or spring). Subsequent years must be started on the first day of a season beginning after the last day of the preceding project year.

How is abatement calculated?

The net abatement amount for each milking herd for each project year is calculated by entering data into the Dietary Fats Calculator which is available on the Department of Environment and Energy’s website.

Abatement is credited for each reporting period based the difference in emissions between the reporting period and a baseline period. Baseline emissions are established by using data from three consecutive years in the seven years prior to the commencement of the project.

Further information and abatement calculations are available in Part 4 of the method.

Reporting requirements

In addition to the reporting requirements of the Act, the method also sets out the following method-specific reporting requirements that must be included in each report:

  • The start and end dates of each project year to which the report applies.
  • All inputs and outputs from the Dietary Fats Calculator for each project year in the reporting period.
  • The carbon dioxide equivalent net abatement amount measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent calculated using the Dietary Fats Calculator.

In addition to the information above, the first report must also contain:

  • The start and end dates of each of the baseline years.
  • All inputs and outputs from the Dietary Fats Calculator for each of the baseline years.
  • Information as required in each report.

Applications for ACCUs can be made at the same time as you submit your project reports through the Client Portal using the electronic ERF Project Reporting and Crediting Application form.

Monitoring requirements

In addition to the general monitoring requirements of the Act, projects must meet specific monitoring requirements in the method.

These include monitoring and recording the number of milking cows in the milking herd via an animal identification tag or other unique identifier.

Milking cows in the milking herd must be counted at least once per month in the baseline and each project year.

The method outlines quality assurance and quality control requirements for all measuring or monitoring instruments.

Record-keeping requirements

In addition to the record keeping requirements of the Act and the Rule, projects must also meet the specific record keeping requirements in the method.

Seasonal records (such as supplier invoices) must be kept of the following:

  • the number of milking cows in the milk herd via an animal identification tag or other unique identifier
  • the liveweight of each milking cow
  • the daily milk volume produced by the eligible dairy farm
  • the mass of each feed type fed to the milking herd
  • the mass of each eligible additive fed to the milking herd

Diet records must also be kept as evidence of dry matter digestibility, crude protein content and fat content inputs. These records must include:

  • product information from the manufacturer of each feed type
  • a copy of the analysis of bulk feed samples of the feed type; or the seasonal feed quality data tables in the Dietary Fats Calculator or Australian Feed Comparison Tables 1987.

Additional eligible additive records must be kept as evidence of fat, metabolisable energy, mass and crude protein inputs. These records may include:

  • product information from the manufacturer of the eligible additive
  • a copy of the analysis of bulk feed samples of the eligible additives; or references to the applicable parts of the Australian Feed Composition Tables 1987.

All of this data must be stored in its raw form and if your data is stored electronically, it is important to have a ‘data contingency plan’ by backing up computer files.

Audits

All projects receive an audit schedule when the project is declared, and must provide audit reports according to this schedule. A minimum of three audits will be scheduled and additional audits may be triggered. For more information on the audit requirements, see the Act, the Rule and the audit information on our website.

All non-compliance whether accidental or not or through circumstances outside your control must be reported to your auditor and rectified as soon as reasonably possible. For more information, see Participant obligations.

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