Carbon footprint for one tonne of wheat
One tonne of wheat produced generated 200 kilograms of carbon dioxide emitted by the process, start to finish.
The highest emissions came from the production and transport of fertiliser and lime, in a Life Cycle Assessment, conducted by NSW Department of Primary Industries’ researchers.
As part of an innovative initiative, the researchers are calculating the carbon footprint of Australia’s key agricultural commodities.
“Looking at the production chain to the farm gate, the initiative will measure the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the production of some of our icons,” NSW DPI Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) leader, Dr Pip Brock, said.
“The initiative provides industry with real data and will help farmers enter carbon trading markets, such as through the Carbon Farming Initiative.
“Starting with wheat, we’ve calculated the greenhouse emissions from every stage of pre and on-farm production, from the manufacture of fertiliser to on-farm diesel use for sowing and harvesting.
Dr Brock (pictured) said, after wheat, the LCA project would analyse the emissions profile of other cropping and livestock enterprises, especially to enable interactions in a mixed farming system to be modelled.
“The project will provide consumers, the agricultural industry and policy makers with rich information on the emissions impact of key commodities,” Dr Brock said.
“The data will help the industry direct its efforts on the most emissions-intensive stages of production and where we can have the greatest impact on reducing emissions and improving productivity.
“This work can feed into the development of broader LCAs, including for food and fibre products such as bread, pasta, clothing or meat products.
“Farmers may also look to differentiate their commodities and promote lower emissions products.”
- 37 per cent from pre-farm production and transport of fertiliser and lime
- 26pc from nitrous oxide emissions from nitrogenous fertiliser applied to crop
- 15pc CO2 emissions from use of fertiliser and lime
- 16pc from production, transport and use of diesel
- 6pc from minor emissions
Contact Pip Brock, Port Stephens, (02) 4916 3940, firstname.lastname@example.org
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