Greenhouse gas emissions from horticulture

The horticulture industry produces approximately 1% of total agricultural emissions in Australia (National Greenhouse Gas Inventory 2007). According to national methodologies, fertilisers are the only source of emissions from horticulture, however horticultural activities also cause other indirect emissions. The key sources of direct and indirect emissions from horticulture are:

  • fuel and electricity ~70% of total emissions
  • nitrogenous fertilizers and animal manures ~20%
  • waste and refrigerant loss to the atmosphere ~10%.

Despite such small net emissions, it is still important for horticultural enterprises to understand where emissions come from and how they can be abated as emissions intensity per hectare of land is equivalent to or even greater than other agricultural industries.

It also helps enables growers to spot potential opportunities for increasing efficiencies and thus reducing input costs on farm, such as:

  • minimising tillage operations and better managing nitrogen fertiliser applications, will reduce fertiliser costs and nitrous oxide emissions as well as potential nitrate runoff into waterways
  • more efficient fuel and electricity use will reduce both input costs and carbon dioxide emissions.

Other resources

There is a range of greenhouse gas accounting tools that can be used to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from horticulture, including specific tools for Vegetable and Orchard growers.

The Horticulture Industry Network (HIN) is an initiative aimed at strengthening working partnerships between the department and the horticulture industry to deliver better services to farmers.

Page last updated: 04 Jan 2021