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Strategic Research & Development Plan 2012-17

Theme 5—Improving your farm resource base

This theme is focused on protecting and enhancing the farm’s soil, water, habitat and atmospheric resources to maintain production performance under a variable climate and to demonstrate to consumers and the wider community the sustainable nature of Australian grains production.

Australian grain growers operate in a variable climate and will be significantly affected by climate change. In addition, growers will need to react to Australian Government and international policies, programs and market expectations set in response to climate change—for example, in relation to greenhouse gas emissions.

These impacts need to be understood so that the industry can minimise risk and maximise opportunities. The issues of climate variability and change need to be factored into both seasonal and longer term farm business decisions.

Within the context of a changing climate, soil, water, habitat and atmospheric resources need to be improved across the environment in which the industry operates. Soil carbon is declining in many grains catchments, as is soil pH. Although water consumption by agriculture is being reduced and becoming more efficient, water quality in some key catchments requires further management. Native vegetation communities have become highly fragmented, affecting both biodiversity balance and the potential for exploitation as habitat for beneficial organisms.

In addition, as consumers are becoming more interested in how the food they buy is produced, the grains industry needs to be able to communicate its commitment to good stewardship. The ‘Improving your farm resource base’ theme will assist growers, across the industry and as individual producers, to demonstrate that they are using chemicals and fertiliser wisely and caring for the land.

Figure 10 details the aspirational and intermediate outcomes for this theme, as well as the performance measures.

Figure 10

Planned outcomes for Theme 5—Improving your farm resource base

Aspirational outcome (10+ years)

Grain growers are valued for adopting practices that improve regional habitat, soil, water and atmosphere resources in a changing climate.

Intermediate outcomes (5 years)

Planned outcomes for Theme 5—Improving your farm resource base

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