GPSA’s survey shows mixed response to sustainability

Grain Central April 4, 2023

Image 1: Survey results gauged mixed responses to sustainability pressures. Source: GPSA

A SURVEY conducted by Grain Producers SA has gauged opinion on sustainability, and found that  more than half of the respondents are not sold on carbon farming.

GPSA represents 4500 grain-farming businesses in SA, and its inaugural survey on the topic had 120 respondents whose feedback gauged environmental sustainability credentials and attitudes at a farmgate level as the basis for the SA Grain Industry Environmental Sustainability Baseline Report.

“The survey found that serious challenges remain with carbon farming, with 61 percent of grain
producers surveyed stating that either they weren’t sure or don’t believe carbon farming is an
important issue,” GPSA chief executive officer Brad Perry said.

Conducted last year, results showed growing legumes was considered by 55pc of respondents to be part of their sustainability practices, and more than 85pc of respondents said they were taking action on environmental sustainability.

Grain Producers SA CEO Brad Perry.

“Almost half of the respondents believe sustainability will be critical to their market access in the next five years, while more than 50pc surveyed want the South Australian grain sector to take the lead on sustainability.

“On the flip side, only 6pc of those surveyed are using remote sensing to make application decisions, meaning that this is a big opportunity for more technology adoption to increase productivity.”

In relation to on-farm practices, the survey found 44pc of respondents believed having access to genetically modified crops was important in achieving sustainability objectives.

On soil and crop nutrition, 15pc of respondents said they were using split nitrogen applications, and 12pc were using soil analysis to optimise nutrient application.

“This initial survey is an important step in looking at how South Australian grain producers are
approaching environmental sustainability on-farm.

“Consumers, financiers, and markets through the global supply chain are increasingly demanding
more sustainable grain and as the peak representative body for South Australian grain producers, we
want to be able to better understand where we can provide education and support for producers to
take advantage of these demands.”

Of the respondents, 83pc grow cereals, 69pc grow legumes, 53pc graze livestock, and 46pc produce oilseeds.

Of the mixed farmers who responded to the survey, 36pc are taking measures for sustainability in
their operations.

This includes: promoting native grasses; planting legumes in feed paddocks; utilising natural fertilisers;
measuring soil cover; light and carefully
managed grazing; use of saltbush as an erosion minimising feed; rotational grazing, and using dung beetles.

On waste reduction, 61pc of respondents take part in drumMUSTER, and 30pc are taking action to reduce plastic waste.

Source: GPSA



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