Savanna burning saving the farm

Savanna fires that burn fiercely in the dry season can generate anywhere between 2 to 4 per cent of Australia’s annual emissions.

Across Australia’s tropical north, mosaic burning by cattle graziers and Indigenous landholders in the cool months of the first half of the year reduces that impact.

Now they are being paid for those carbon offsets, and for some landholders it has saved their farms from the banks.

“I can say that categorically we have saved at least three farms from going into receivership, and that’s due to the money they’ve earned by reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Country Carbon’s Nicholas Cameron said.

For Fairlight Station at Laura, north of Cairns in Far North Queensland, the carbon credits mean they change their fire preparation to burning off early in the year.

“The second half is a very, very hot burn and it emits, you could say tenfold the carbon into the ozone, so what we’re doing is managing the environment to have a better outcome,” grazier Cheree Callaghan said.

“In a good year, you could make between $140,000 and $160,000 a year.

“It’s huge when you have a debt, and most people do, and it makes the world of difference.”

For northern cattle producers like Ms Callaghan, selling carbon credits is diversifying their income.

“You’re a soil farmer, you’re a cattle grazier, and you’re a carbon farmer,” she said.