Wheat Power Partnership to Secure Sustainability

Wheat Power Partnership to Secure Sustainability | The Cultivator Spring 2020

Wheat Power Partnership to Secure Sustainability

Manildra Group has entered into a partnership with Mars Petcare, the household name that serves the nutritional and health needs of our beloved pets, as well as a number of other iconic brands to advance farming sustainability across Australia.

Together, industry intelligence and agricultural academia have joined forces to support Australian wheat farmers to improve farm sustainability and evaluate the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The “Cool Soil Initiative” is a partnership across the industry. It brings together Manildra Group, Kellogg’s, major pet care producer Mars Petcare, Charles Sturt University and digital innovation hub, the Food Agility CRC, as well as farming groups to scale the project through New South Wales with a $2 million commitment over the next three years.

The Cool Soil Initiative dishes up a concoction of the best minds in the industry, in academia and in agriculture, all working together to deliver real, long-term positive impacts in farming.

A key area of focus will be on increasing farmer productivity while making a meaningful difference to the environment.

The initiative will work with farmers to develop strategies which reduce GHG emissions from wheat production in Australia.

Manildra Group National Sales Manager, Murray Newman said Australian wheat farmers have done it tough over the last several years as they battled a crippling drought.

“As one of Australia’s largest purchasers of wheat and a major manufacturer, we’re passionate about supporting our wheat farmers and doing what we can to integrate sustainable practices in the supply chain.

“Growers recognise the value in sustainable farming which could lead to increased yields, be it through efficient nutrient management, increased soil organic matter or enhanced water-use efficiency,” said Mr Newman.

Dr Cassandra Schefe, the Cool Soil Initiative Project Lead and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow from Charles Sturt University said, “Farming is an incredibly complex business with every decision subject to risk verse reward.”

“By overlaying solid economic assessments on a range of agronomic strategies which may influence GHG emissions, we hope to develop greater information for farmers on the relative return on investment, over relevant time frames,” she said.

“To date, the cropping sector has recognised that nutrient inputs have increased in order to maintain yields which is due to organic matter depletion and mining of soil fertility.

“While farmers are not necessarily motivated by GHG reductions, improving soil health is one of the top three production issues that they say will affect their farm over the next five years.

“Therefore, by improving the health of the soil, farmers may see a positive impact on productivity or yields while supporting sustainable farming systems to pass onto the next generation,” said Dr Schefe.

The Cool Soil Initiative will work with more than 200 farmers over the next three years to assess and implement innovative farming practices that improve soil health and demonstrate the potential for significant reductions in GHG emissions.