Seeking clarity on net zero goal

The grains sector may be a relatively low-emissions industry but there is room to reduce emissions more while increasing productivity, according to a paper released by the Australian Farm Institute.

More information for growers considering what net zero targets mean to them is at hand, thanks to a paper released by the Australian Farm Institute.

The paper, commissioned by GrainGrowers, addresses the factors driving the need for emissions reductions and lays out in practical terms the benefits and challenges for the Australian grains sector.

“Agriculture’s absence from national net zero targets could result in a range of negative consequences for the industry, including potential exclusion in global markets, increased costs of finance and loss of community trust,” AFI executive director Richard Heath said.

“To retain our market position, the industry needs pragmatic net zero goals set by growers alongside sustainability indicators appropriate for Australia’s unique conditions.

“More importantly, future-proofing the Australian grains sector means reducing global temperatures in order prevent further significant changes to grain production regions.

“Net zero is about reducing the threat of climate change and its impact on grain productivity and profitability.”

The recent CSIRO/Grains Research and Development Corporation Greenhouse Gas Emissions report found Australian grains make up 1.7 per cent of total Australian emissions and there were opportunities to reduce emissions intensity 15 per cent by 2030 while also increasing production by 30 to 40 per cent.

GrainGrowers chair Brett Hosking says the AFI paper is just one of a suite of resources available to farmers “looking for clarity in the carbon space”.

“The AFI paper is another resource alongside the CSIRO/GRDC research, GrainGrowers Carbon and Cropping Guide and Carbon Calculators report, that can be used by growers looking for clarity in the carbon space,” GrainGrowers chair Brett Hosking said.

“GrainGrowers supports net zero by 2050, and research, education and innovation are key to this.

“For example, embedded emissions in inputs like fertiliser make up nearly 40 per cent of emissions, so how inputs are manufactured while keeping downward pressure on input prices is a real focus.

“Australian grain is already a low-emission industry, with growers having adopted new approaches like minimum/no-till and control traffic practices.

“Growers I’ve spoken to are keen to leave their farms in a better condition for their families and communities.

“The AFI paper is another important resource for growers to utilise.”

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