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Type: Journal article
Title: Greenhouse gas abatement costs are heterogeneous between Australian grain farms
Author: Dumbrell, N.
Kragt, M.
Meier, E.
Biggs, J.
Thorburn, P.
Citation: Agronomy for Sustainable Development: sciences des productions vegetales et de l'environnement, 2017; 37(4):1-10
Publisher: Springer
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 1774-0746
Statement of
Nikki P. Dumbrell, Marit E. Kragt, Elizabeth A. Meier, Jody S. Biggs, Peter J. Thorburn
Abstract: Globally, agriculture is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The environment (e.g., soils and climate) and management influence agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and the potential to reduce emissions. For agriculture to contribute to greenhouse gas abatement in the long term, it is important to identify low-cost mitigation actions that farmers can adopt. It is hypothesized that greenhouse gas abatement potential and the associated costs will differ substantially between environments in Australia. Seven alternative management scenarios were identified as both suitable for adoption across different grain growing environments in Australia and potentially able to provide greenhouse gas abatement. The Agricultural Production Systems Simulator was used to simulate these alternative management scenarios over a 25-year period and analyze the potential for Australian grain farmers, across contrasting environments, to increase soil organic carbon stocks and/or reduce nitrous oxide emissions. This analysis was paired with a whole-farm economic analysis to determine the implications of the different greenhouse gas abatement scenarios on farm profitability. Results from case studies in Australia’s three main grain growing regions demonstrate that significant heterogeneity exists in the biophysical potential and costs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across locations. The maximum predicted abatement potential for the case study sites varied from 0.34 to 2.03 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents per hectare per year. In most simulations, greenhouse gas abatement came at a cost to farmers ranging from 0.11 Australian dollars (AUD) to more than 300 AUD per metric ton of abated carbon dioxide equivalent. This is the first study to explore the costs of mitigation including multiple greenhouse gases and grain farming case studies across Australia. These findings can inform the future development of effective climate change mitigation policies, which frequently use national default values in their design.
Keywords: Bio-economic modeling; climate change policies; emissions reduction; farm economic modeling; greenhouse gas mitigation; APSIM
Rights: © The Author(s) 2017. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
DOI: 10.1007/s13593-017-0438-6
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