THE reduction of greenhouse gas intensity of Australian grain production is set to be the next big area of research and development conducted by the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
The need for more of a focus on emissions and how to reduce them within the industry was raised by GRDC chairman John Woods at the Grains Research Update in Perth on Monday.
Alongside CSIRO, GRDC will be making an 18-month investment into providing baseline data for the current level of greenhouse emissions, opportunities for mitigation and a realistic plan for emission reduction.
Mr Woods said the investment came at a critical time for the industry, with intense global scrutiny on the links between greenhouse gases and climate change demanding a response across every sector of the economy.
"It's clear that future capital investment in the grains sector will be influenced by our ability to develop effective mitigation strategies and approaches to accountability," Mr Woods said.
"This new investment will help to facilitate grain growers' access to working capital by aligning greenhouse gas emission practices to the increasingly rigorous requirements of finance institutions and other investors."
The initial focus of the investment would be on assessing the Australian grains industry's greenhouse gas profile to establish a baseline measure.
Mr Woods said that would complement the suite of GRDC investments in its existing portfolio that focused on driving profitability of growers while reducing emissions.
"It will also identify farming practises that can reduce emissions and opportunities for further research, development and extension to explore new mitigation opportunities, while enhancing enduring grower profitability," he said.
"In addition, it will develop a realistic trajectory towards reducing greenhouse gas intensity of Australian grain production that can be achieved as part of a profitable grain growing business sector.
"We don't want to be in a position like the beef industry currently is where they said they'd be carbon neutral by 2030 and they've since discovered it'll cost in excess of $250 million in R&D to meet that expectation."
GRDC has a long history of investing in RD&E that assists grain growers to adapt to climate change, mitigate its impact and to manage industry-wide emissions.