Sustainable food crops under the microscope

Image: CSIRO The CSIRO and Bayer CropScience will examine the sustainabiliy of next generation food crops. Image: CSIRO.

The sustainability of new generation crops is the subject of a two-year research program by the CSIRO and Bayer CropScience.

The collaborative project will develop and apply models to assess the system-wide consequences of new generation cerea crops and assess their full environmental impacts.

CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship director, Dr Brian Keating, said new generation crops offered enormous potential to help deal with future food security challenges.

“Through reduced input requirements and improved efficiency in the use of water, energy and nutrients, they also have the potential to reduce pressure on the environment, including reduction of greenhouse emissions that contribute to climate change,” Dr Keating said.

“This cooperation with Bayer fits perfectly with the top-line objective of the Sustainable Agriculture Flagship which is to raise agricultural productivity by 50 per cent by 2030, while halving carbon emissions intensity.”

Head of bio-science at Bayer CropScience, Dr Joachim Schneider, said innovation and sustainability were central to the project.

“We are convinced that innovative new generation crops can deliver greater yield per hectare while requiring less resources such as water and energy,” Dr Schneider said.

“This project will develop methodology to assess these benefits at a plant, field, country and global level.”

The CSIRO said results of the research program will be published in international science forums to ensure transparency and objectivity.

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