GRDC has announced an important new initiative aimed at reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of Australian grain production, while maintaining and enhancing grower profitability.
Speaking at the Grains Research Update in Perth in February, GRDC chair and Goondiwindi grain grower, John Woods, said the GRDC co-investment with CSIRO would support the nation's grains industry to better measure and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr Woods told the Update that the 18-month investment would:
- provide essential baseline data around the current level of greenhouse emissions;
- investigate opportunities for mitigation; and
- shape a realistic plan for emission reduction.
"This investment comes at a critical time for the industry, with intense global scrutiny on the links between greenhouse gases and climate change demanding a response across every sector of the economy," he said.
Mr Woods said it is increasingly clear that future capital investment in the grains sector will be influenced by our ability to develop effective mitigation strategies and approaches to accountability.
"This new investment will help to facilitate grain growers' access to working capital by aligning greenhouse gas emission practices to the increasingly rigorous requirements of finance institutions and other investors," he said.
"Consumers and finance markets are requiring that sectors, including agriculture, demonstrate they are lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
"The Australian grains industry must meet sustainability requirements to access markets, such as the European Union canola market, which is valued at $1.5 billion per annum."
Establishing a baseline measure
Mr Woods said the GRDC investment would focus initially on assessing the Australian grains industry's greenhouse gas profile to establish a baseline measure.
"It will also identify farming practices that can reduce emissions and opportunities for further research, development and extension (RD&E) to explore new mitigation opportunities, while enhancing enduring grower profitability," he said.
"In addition, it will develop a realistic trajectory towards reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of Australian grain production that can be achieved as part of a profitable grain growing business."
He said the investment outcomes would be essential in supporting and enabling the work by the wider grains industry to develop a Grains Industry Sustainability Framework, being led by Grain Growers Ltd.
GRDC has a long history of investing in RD&E that assists grain growers to both adapt to climate change and mitigate its impact, and to manage industry-wide emissions.
"This investment will build on previous work undertaken through industry collaborations such as the Climate Research Strategy for Primary Industries (CRSPI) and the Managing Climate Variability Program collaboration, as well as investments to reduce nitrous oxide emissions from fertiliser and explore soil carbon sequestration opportunities," Mr Woods said.
More information: Kylie Dunstan, GRDC head of corporate affairs, 0428 864 934, firstname.lastname@example.org