A JOINT project between Cargill, Nutrien and Riverina farmers will look to reduce carbon emissions by creating efficiencies in on-farm nutrient management.
The two agribusiness powerhouses have developed a pilot project with ten growers in southern NSW with a view to reducing on farm emissions in canola production and to see how nutrient management can help to contribute towards decarbonising the canola supply chain.
"The bottom line is we have a dynamic where our purchasing customers are demanding decarbonisation, it is a space that just continues to grow," he said.
"On the other hand our growers customers have already done a lot of this sustainability work already, much of it through necessity in managing our variable climate.
"They are interested in the potential market access opportunities these type of projects can present given in many cases they are already working with a lot of the measures required, the question is just how do you practically connect the two."
He said the trial had been brought together to help harness Nutrien's expertise in on-farm nutrient management practices and technology, with Cargill's access to grain market customers, to work with farmers who are interested in the opportunities to reduce on farm emissions whilst maintaining productivity and profitability.
"That is the key thing with this project, we don't want to see a drop in productivity as a result of the changes made and we're confident we won't."
David Stanko, head of commercial sustainability, Nutrien Ag Solutions, said he was excited to be working on practical solutions that had benefits for both grower and end-user customers.
"The idea was very much to ensure this is a practical project in which we can pair up agronomic and environmental outcomes," he said.
"We believe we can achieve much better results in terms of lowering emissions associated with the nutrient program without losing any productivity."
The pilot will involve the 10 farmers across the Riverina over around 1000 hectares.
"The project has intentionally been made up of multiple growers on smaller hectares to get a good sample," Mr Fargher said.
Mr Stanko said the Nutrien team would help the growers collate the data to get a measure of on-farm emissions created during the fertiliser management process.
"We will then come up with a baseline greenhouse gas footprint and then work with agronomists out in the field to help improve outcomes."
"Within the pilot, we will look at grower standard practices, test fields and solutions against the standard practice."
"We're looking to move the needle and demonstrate what ag can provide in terms of improved outcomes.
"We believe we can target a 20-25pc cut in emissions through this project."
Mr Fargher said there were a host of easily adjusted practices that could help cut emissions.
"Technology such as nitrogen fertiliser inhibitors and variable rate application both have a really strong fit for canola growers."
"That was part of the reason we are working with nutrition to start off with, it is somewhere we can see good adoption because it will likely be a sound economic decision for growers as well."
Mr Stanko said there was scope for further take-up of nitrogen inhibitors.
"Nitrogen inhibitors are proven to reduce emissions, they're widely used in the US but here the usage is relatively low."
"Variable rate will also be good, we can get a map and ensure the right areas are getting the right amount of nutrition at the right time."
Mr Fargher said the two companies would be working to ensure the project generated a lot of data.
"We want to quantify the savings and demonstrate what can be done."
"The good thing with nutrient management is that it is inherently measurable."
Looking further ahead he said the sustainability space could present opportunities for growers in a range of ways.
"The ESG (Environmental Social Governance) area is something financial institutions and big corporations are very interested in."
"Farmers could look down the inset and potentially offset pathway, the important thing is that all the factors are layered together and not siloed out separately."
"We're really looking closely at how we assist growers to integrate these sustainability practices and layer them."
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