Using data to accelerate sustainability measures on farm

The Australian agricultural industry today accounts for approximately 14% of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Of that 14%, 77% is due to the emission of methane, 19% to the emission of nitrous oxide, and the remaining 4% to the emission of carbon dioxide.

In the cane fields of Far North Queensland, third generation sugarcane farmer Christian Lago has recently completed a Farm Emissions Report with Nutrien Ag Solutions and said the insights have helped inform his priorities for future emission reduction activities.  

“The report used our on-farm production data and scientifically verified, governmental and industry approved models to quantify emissions occurring at each step along the production system,” said Christian. 

“It showed that that majority of our emissions are attributed to the application of nitrogen fertilisers, and highlighted techniques for reducing these losses; as well as opportunities for increasing our atmospheric carbon sequestration.”  

Nutrien Ag Solutions Sustainability Field Manager, Charles Starkings said that with the COP21 Paris Agreement and national emission reduction target of Net Zero by 2050, there’s an increased drive for transparency into the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Australian industries and businesses. 

“Market demand is further contributing towards this push for emissions transparency and reduction, 

as the preferences of consumers and other key stakeholders shift towards produce and practices 

that have a verifiably low GHG footprint,” said Charles. 

“There are both short and long-term opportunities for Australian farmers who are positioned to deliver this product, and the first step in preparing for this is to understand the emissions associated with your farm business. A Farm Emissions Report enables farmers to visualise where emissions are occurring within their production system, and then make informed decisions on practice change to reduce future emissions.” 

For Christian Lago, the experience of completing a Farm Emissions Report was educational and straightforward. 

“We wanted to get an understanding of how our farming carbon footprint is calculated, and what the major contributors are in our system. Good records will definitely make the process easier – we reviewed our production data, energy and fuel use, fertiliser and chemical applications and protected vegetation information.” 

 Pictured: Charles Starkings and Christian Lago

“It was a very informative process and demonstrated that while we’re on the right track, there are some areas where we can concentrate our efforts to achieve better environmental outcomes.” 

The Nutrien Ag Solutions Sustainability Team can now assist in the completion of a Farm Emissions Report. If you are interested in completing this first step, contact your local branch or your regional Sustainability Field Manager for more information. 

North East Sustainability Field Manager 
Charles Starkings  
0438 400 988 

South East Sustainability Field Manager 
Todd Price  
0418 508 755 

West Sustainability Field Manager 
Kirsty Smith  
0428 637 242