Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building soil carbon in the rice industry


Current methane and nitrous oxide emissions are likely to be high due to anaerobic conditions in flooded rice production and nitrogen fertiliser use, and soil carbon levels are likely static or declining due to stubble burning or removal. The project will determine baseline emissions and carbon levels under current practices and will investigate management options to manipulate soil carbon and gas emissions, including stubble retention, pyrolysed stubble (biochar), stubble removal, delayed permanent water and stubble mulching. The project will address the stated CFF priorities of reducing methane and nitrous oxide emissions and building stable soil carbon through research (SCU, NSW DPI and RRAPL) and extension (RGA and NSW DPI). The project will initially be submitted under the Filling the Research Gap program, and again (modified) under the Action on the Ground program at a later date if the first submission is unsuccessful.



Research Organisation

Ricegrowers' Association of Australia

Objective Summary

The project will assess the potential for alternative water and stubble management regimes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build soil carbon compared to the current farming practices in temperate and subtropical Australia. Specifically, the project will: Establish baseline emissions data for current practices in temperate Australia under two soil types at RAPL, and establish baseline emissions data at one trial site in subtropical Australia (Lismore). Compare emissions of methane and nitrous oxides under current practice with alternative management practices of retained standing stubble, retained chopped stubble or incorporated stubble, stubble removal and pyrolysed stubble (biochar) in temperate and subtropical growing environments. The impact of delayed permanent water on greenhouse gas emissions will also be investigated at the temperate trial site at RRAPL. Investigate soil carbon dynamics under current practice compared to the management strategies detailed above at two additional sites in temperate Australia and one additional site in northern Australia. Develop a dataset appropriate for completing a “methodology”

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Project Completion Date

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries

National Priority

Adoption of R&D

National Priority

RIC-Farm productivity - crop inputs, crop protection and the farming system