Riverine Plains' CSI participants

Cool Soil Initiative farmers meet to discuss emissions, tour Mars Petcare

8 September, 2022

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Cool Soil Initiative farmers meet to discuss emissions, tour Mars Petcare

Cool Soil Initiative participants from the Riverine Plains region recently met to discuss their on-farm greenhouse gas emissions and tour the Mars Petcare factory in Wodonga.

Mars Petcare is a founding partner of the Cool Soil Initiative, which has been joined more recently by Kellogg’s, Manildra Group, Allied Pinnacle, Charles Sturt University and the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre.

Riverine Plains Senior Project Officer, Jane McInnes, explained that the Cool Soil Initiative project supports wheat and maize growers to monitor and manage their greenhouse gas emissions, while also exploring how different farming practices can provide long-term carbon and soil health benefits.

“As part of the Initiative, farmers submit crop input and paddock history data, which when combined with soil test data and yield results, allows greenhouse gas emissions to be calculated for each paddock,” said Ms McInnes.

“Coming together to discuss these paddock results really helped highlight the factors driving on-farm emissions and the factors that can influence the spectrum of results season-to-season,” she added.

Being involved in the Initiative helps farmers pinpoint areas of inefficiency and production constraints within their farming systems and is one of the Cool Soil Initiative’s major benefits.

“The program can help identify areas for improvement and has the potential to really generate significant input cost savings and production gains,” said Ms McInnes.

Mars Petcare is a significant purchaser of grain from southern NSW and north-eastern Victoria and the day also provided an opportunity for farmers to tour the Mars Petcare manufacturing facility at Wodonga and hear how the company is working to reduce the environmental impacts of the business.

“The group very much enjoyed the tour of the facility and appreciated hearing how grain is sourced and integrated into products,” said Ms McInnes.

Mars Petcare Australia Corporate Affairs Manager, Andrea Bradley, said that Mars’ climate target is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its full value chain by 2050 – it’s an ambitious goal that relies on industry collaborations like the Cool Soil Initiative to drive meaningful change.

“We’re so grateful to the farmers for sharing our vision and coming on the journey with us” she added.

Wheat and Maize farmers interested in learning more about monitoring their emissions through the Cool Soil Initiative are invited to contact Riverine Plains’ Project Officer Jane McInnes, by phoning (03) 5744 1713 or emailing jane@riverineplains.org.au

“The importance of quantifying on-farm emissions is only likely to increase over time as a result of government and consumer pressure, so it’s very exciting that this project is leading the way in providing a framework for local farmers to start considering their emissions,” added Ms McInnes.

Further information about the Cool Soil Initiative is available at https://riverineplains.org.au/cool-soil-initiative/

The Cool Soil Initiative is funded by Mars Petcare, Kellogg’s, Manildra Group and Allied Pinnacle, in partnership with Charles Sturt University and the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre, with support from the Sustainable Food Lab.

ENDS

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

More information or interview:

Emily Thompson, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713) or email emily@riverineplains.org.au