WESTERN Australian grain growers now have access to valuable, industry-specific data to help calculate on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and confidently assess their enterprise’s on-farm carbon footprint.
The data was captured by the Carbon Neutral Grain Pilot Project, a collaboration between the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), Co-operative Bulk Handling Group (CBH Group) and Wide Open Agriculture.
In 2020-21 the project collected GHG emissions from 36 cropping enterprises throughout the Wheatbelt that grew wheat, barley, canola, oats and lupins – comprising 152,000 hectares and a total of 417,000 tonnes of grain.
DPIRD senior development officer Mandy Curnow said the data would assist growers to understand the likely emissions from their enterprise to help measure and adapt their operations to meet market demands and build more sustainable businesses.
The pilot project also assessed and compared three leading online on-farm GHG emissions calculators, to help growers, consultants and other stakeholders determine the best calculator for their business.
Increase market access
CBH Group head of accumulations Trevor Lucas said understanding on-farm GHG emissions was important in the face of increasing global demand for sustainable grains.
“Measuring GHG emissions from cropping enterprises is a relatively new commercial practice, which requires standardisation, research, trials, benchmarking and review of practices,” he said.
“The information from this pilot project provides valuable ground-truthing to assist the WA grains industry to move forward and remain internationally competitive.”
WA Government Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan praised the work of the three organisations in backing the pilot project.
“It is great to see the CBH Group and Wide Open Agriculture join together with the DPIRD on this project, which lays sound foundations for growers to remain ahead of the game,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“There is no denying the market signals from the global marketplace and this important resource will help our grain growers to remain internationally competitive and profitable.”
The pilot partners will continue to work together and with other collaborators to continue improving the data sets and analysis to help achieve a low carbon future for the WA grains industry.
The initiative complements the State Government’s $4.24 million investment in the Katanning Research Station demonstration site to help farmers create more sustainable businesses – all supporting the State’s vision of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Information and findings from the Carbon Neutral Grain Pilot can be found here.
Source: DPIRD, WA Government