Grain Producers Australia welcomes a new report which shows Australian grain producers are producing high quality, low emissions intensity grains compared to other countries we compete against in global grain export markets.
New findings were revealed in a report released today by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC); the ‘Australian Grains Baseline and Mitigation Assessment’.
GRDC commissioned Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO, to prepare the report, to establish a detailed and robust greenhouse gas emissions baseline for the $13 billion Australian grains sector and explore mitigation opportunities which can maintain or increase profitability.
It found that the Australian grains industry exhibits low greenhouse gas emissions for each tonne of grain produced compared to other major grain producing regions and countries, including the EU, USA, Canada, Russia and Ukraine.
GPA Chair and WA grain producers, Barry Large, said the report and its modelling will be the subject of healthy discussion among grain producers, government agencies and industry groups, and he welcomed and encouraged the policy debate on these important matters, to help digest its findings.
Mr Large said in particular, he welcomed the report’s focus on highlighting the work Australian grain producers already do, to continue producing grains sustainably and building a strong reputation.
This includes the recent record Australian winter grain harvest that’s forecast to deliver a $22.3 billion return, from more than 58 million tonnes.
“In order to continue producing grains more sustainably, Australian grain producers also need to be more profitable – especially when we compete against other export countries where those growers receive massive government subsidies, to help mitigate production risk-management,” he said.
“The critical question this report underscores is, ‘how do we collaborate and invest strategically to ensure Australia’s high quality, low emissions intensity grains are converted into real commercial value, to improve our export competitiveness and returns to growers?’
“This report may indicate we’re in a good position now – but when it comes to action on sustainable production on-farm we also know there’s no room for complacency, to help secure a better future.
“While we can and always need to do more to reduce emissions, including advancing initiatives such as local manufacturing of green fertilisers, this report does signal to global export markets that if you’re fair dinkum about climate change, and you need high quality food and feed grains, then Australia’s the place to buy grains from, to get real value.”
GPA RD&E Spokesperson and Victorian grain producer, Andrew Weidemann, said he also noted the comments from CSIRO Senior Research Scientist, Dr Maartje Sevenster, who led the 18-month research initiative and co-authored the report, saying that if Australia can produce grains to feed the world at relatively low greenhouse-gas intensity “there is global benefit”.
He also noted statements made in the report’s release saying any reduction in Australian grain production is likely to result in an increase in grain production in regions of the world that are not able to achieve the low emissions intensity of Australia, increasing global grains emissions.
“This report gives us the basis to send a clear message to global grain markets that we are efficient in growing the maximum amount of grain from every mm of rain,” he said.
“It also says we maximise our carbon footprint in producing food more efficiently than other competing countries and as Australian farmers we need to ensure we continually strive to improve our marketing of grain to maximise returns.”
GPA also noted the report’s statements:
The GHG intensity of Australian grains is already low compared to many other exporting countries, but it is important to stay competitive on a global market that increasingly focuses on sustainability credentials. This could be achieved while at the same time increasing production. The baseline and mitigation results provide a starting point for further research.
Full Report and Fact Sheet here:
GPA represents Australian grain producers on national policy which includes responsibilities under federal legislation representing an estimated 23,000 producers who pay compulsory government levies. These legislative responsibilities include; biosecurity, through Plant Health Australia; oversight of the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s investment into RD&E; and chemical use/market access protections, with the National Residue Survey.