A new $4.9 million national government and industry partnership has been established to help grain growers adapt to a changing climate.
Through the Australian Government’s climate change initiative, Australia's Farming Future - Climate Change Research Program (CCRP), the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) have commenced a demonstration program called the National Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative (NAMI).
GRDC is in partnership with Birchip Cropping Group (BCG), the Department of Employment Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), the Department of Primary Industries Victoria (DPI Vic) and the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA) in the delivery of the initiative. There are four projects that will demonstrate practical ways for farmers to adapt to long term climate change and seasonal variability. The initiative will involve grower-driven demonstration sites in 24 locations across Australia.
GRDC Managing Director Peter Reading says the initiative will play an important role in equipping primary producers with tools to adapt and adjust to the impact of climate change and to manage their emissions.
“Adaptation to climate change and the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions has been identified as a key driver for change in the grains industry to 2012 and beyond,” Mr Reading said.
“In particular, Australia’s grains industry is projected to be significantly affected by climate change and climate change-related policy decisions.”
Mr Reading said the potential introduction of carbon trading to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would require the application of knowledge to ensure a reduction of emissions while at the same time ensuring ongoing increases in the efficiency and productivity of farming systems.
The four projects will build on research outcomes from the initial round of the CCRP. To fulfil its overarching aims, the initiative will bring together farmer groups and research providers in demonstrating research outcomes in adaptation and mitigation.
As part of the initiative, BCG is working with 10 farming systems groups in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Queensland and will be undertaking trials and demonstrations of adaptive practices and techniques to minimise the impact of climate change on farm viability.
BCG Chief Executive Officer, Alexandra Gartmann, says the demonstrations and trials, some of which are already underway, will involve field-based work, modelling and communication.
The farming systems groups will be exploring the impacts of a range of practices, inputs and strategies, including time of sowing, multi-purpose crops, phosphorus, polymers, precision agriculture, soil moisture conservation, livestock integration and stubble management. This work will conclude in June 2012.
The National Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative will have strong linkages with DAFF and GRDC’s existing research projects relating to nitrous oxide, soil carbon and climate change adaptation which will ensure direct extension, demonstration of outcomes, close collaboration and well integrated programs.
The specific objectives of the initiative are to:
• directly involve farmers and advisers in designing on-ground demonstrations of locally-relevant adaptations to climate change to maintain or enhance farm viability;
• assist rapid dissemination of information about adapting to and mitigating climate change;
• assess the greenhouse gas emission implications of different farming practices;
• demonstrate practices which could reduce net greenhouse gas emissions from nitrous oxide and methane as well as increase soil carbon sequestration; and
• increase awareness and knowledge in the grains industry of the viability of greenhouse gas mitigation strategies, and demonstrate how to put them into practice.
Mr Reading said the above objectives aligned with the core strategic aims relating to climate change in the GRDC’s Environmental Plan for the Australian Grains Industry in developing innovative solutions that are profitable, productive and sustainable in challenging circumstances.
North, South, West