A paddock to product partnership in the grains supply chain to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on-farm.
Initially piloted by Mars Petcare in 2017, the ‘Cool Soil Initiative’ now includes Charles Sturt University, Kellogg’s, Manildra Group, Allied Pinnacle, the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and the Sustainable Food Lab.
The project will support farmers to investigate innovative cropping practices to improve soil health and in-turn reduce on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Improving soil health is one of the top three production issues that farmers in the region say will affect their farm over the next five years.
The 'Cool Soil Initiative' is working with wheat and irrigated corn growers to investigate how to mitigate GHG emissions on-farm.
Early soil testing results reveal greater variations in the level of soil carbon across paddocks than was expected.
This indicates more opportunity for farmers to increase soil carbon.
Participating farmers will receive a digital atlas of regional scale soil and landscape data related to their farm, with satellite imagery information.
This will show linkages between variables such as soils, landscape, crop growth, productivity and management, and GHG emissions.
The project will also gather data to evaluate the online greenhouse gas calculator, Cool Farm Tool’ to quantify emissions in an Australian farming context so we can measure and track changes.
The research hopes to deliver a scientifically credible framework for the food industry to support cropping farmers to reduce GHG emissions.
While Mars and Kellogg's continue to work on reducing their factory GHG emissions, they have identified that over 50 per cent of their emissions happen upstream from their manufacturing sites, from production and processing – including growing, and milling – as well as transport of materials used in their products.
Dr Cassandra Schefe