Ms Hodgkinson said the initiative, called the life-cycle assessment project, will measure the impacts of water, land and energy use for grain production on greenhouse gas emissions, water and soil health.
“International grain markets are increasingly seeking assurances about the environmental sustainability of production systems so NSW grain growers need to be able to demonstrate the environmental impacts of their grain production,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“This three-year project, funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), will see NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) researchers work with CSIRO and Life Cycle Strategies Pty Ltd.
“Impacts from each component of the production system will be calculated – that includes all inputs, from the production and transport of fertiliser and farming activities, to the point when grain leaves the farm gate.
“Led by DPI technical specialist, Dr Aaron Simmons, the team aims to deliver data that our grains industry can use to meet market requirements and benchmark production systems.
“Data generated to account for the environmental impact of grain production will also give growers the information they need to identify hotspots and areas for improvement.”
Ms Hodgkinson said environmental indicators will be developed to identify where grain growers can modify management to reduce emissions and boost soil health in a profitable way.
“Practical solutions, such as using existing and emerging technologies to improve fertiliser efficiency, will be recommended for the GRDC’s 18 Australian agro-ecological zones,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“Grain growers are working with the project team and contributing to the research through a national steering group established by the DPI.”
Results from the grains industry life-cycle assessment project will be recorded on AusAgLCI; a national life-cycle database for key agricultural commodities.