Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
Grain growers in Australia are “up for the task” of reducing their carbon footprint further, according to a CSIRO analysis that indicated reducing greenhouse emissions by 2030 could result in less grain being produced. The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) commissioned the study to see how the grains business could help Australia fulfil its climate goals. The Australian Grains Baseline and Mitigation Assessment showed that by changing farming methods such as regional crop rotations and fertiliser use, the sector could reduce emissions by 15% by 2030. Farmers are well aware of the problems of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, according to GrainGrowers chairman Brett Hosking, particularly when it comes to nitrogen use and machinery use.
Mr. Hosking, a grain producer from northwest Victoria, thinks the research is “very valuable” since it explains how farmers may cut their carbon impact even more. “I don’t believe a reduction in output is feasible; I believe we need to lower the carbon intensity of the products we create,” he told AAP. According to the CSIRO analysis, 315 kg of CO2 was emitted for every tonne of Australian grain produced in 2005, based on baseline data from 2005. “I believe the answer will be found if we can reduce that number and improve grain production efficiency. Moreover, farmers in Australia have shown to be pioneers in this field “Mr. Hosking explained.
“The Australian grains sector can help manage global climate change by boosting outputs and reducing greenhouse gas intensity,” she told AAP. “However, reducing on-farm emissions is extremely difficult to achieve.” The study also found that Australia’s grains industry emits fewer greenhouse gases than other grain-producing countries, including the United States, making it one of the world’s most efficient producers. Dr. Sevenster believes that reducing Australia’s grain production would be a trade-off. “If we stop producing, someone else will have to step up their output, which would most certainly result in higher greenhouse gas emissions,” she warned. “It would be unwise for Australia to cut its grain production in the face of rising food demand from a climatic standpoint.”
Mr. Hosking stated that lowering Australia’s carbon footprint will benefit in global emissions reduction. People still need to eat, so people need to figure out a way to focus on areas like Australia where grain can be farmed more efficiently in terms of the carbon footprint. When it comes to changing farming practices, Australian farmers have already done a lot of hard work. The sector has taken the lead throughout the world. “Any bad effects from climate change will be felt first by our growers, and we don’t want that, so if we can do anything today to lessen the intensity and frequency of those events that will be better for the farmer of tomorrow as well.”