WA grain industry plans a carbon neutral future

image of David Bowran
Doctor David Bowran will host ‘Strategies towards carbon neutral for the WA grains industry’ at the GRDC Grain Research Updates this February. Photo: DPIRD

Western Australian grain growers will explore strategies for making their industry carbon neutral as part of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) Grains Research Update in Perth on February 22 and 23.

The two-day event will begin with a plenary session on carbon neutral grain farming in WA, with the Director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University, Professor Mark Howden and Elizabeth O’Leary, Head of Agriculture at the Macquarie Group as keynote speakers.

Day Two will feature an extended focus session on carbon farming practices, in which convenor David Bowran will lead a discussion with a panel of scientists and policy makers on how the Australian Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative and Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) can reward WA grain growers for adopting carbon farming.

This session will cover the science of storing carbon in WA grainbelt soils, the obligation to store carbon for either 25 or 100 years, and the on-farm practicalities of adopting the initiative.

“Storing soil carbon and being paid for it seems a great way for agriculture to participate in the ERF, but like many policy initiatives there are always cost and benefits and there may be pitfalls along the way,” Dr Bowran says.

“We want to help growers understand the principles, considerations and potential benefits of carbon farming, so they can make an informed decision about strategies for becoming carbon neutral.”

The Grains Research Update is an important source of agronomic and industry information and resources and will feature more than 50 presenters sharing the latest research results and innovations to assist on-farm profitability.

Other focus sessions will include topics as diverse as heat tolerance in crops, fungicide resistance, managing subsoil acidity, the road to real-time on-farm monitoring, and new chemicals and chemical use management strategies.

‘New researcher snapshots’ will also form part of the concurrent sessions.

The GRDC Grains Research Update, Perth, will be followed by four one-day GRDC Grains Research Update events in the Albany port zone at Albany (March 3), the Kwinana East zone at Merredin (March 12), the Geraldton zone at Geraldton (March 17) and the Esperance zone (July date to be confirmed).

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