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Profitability and environmental implications when growers transition to best management practices

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Poggio, M., Renouf, M. A., Connolly, C. and Thompson, M. (2018) Profitability and environmental implications when growers transition to best management practices. International Sugar Journal, 120 (1437).

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Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed on the basis that they are perceived to be beneficial for production and the environment. However, research that holistically examines the economic and environmental implications of BMP adoption using 'real-farm' case studies is limited. The aim of this work was to evaluate the farm profitability and life cycle environmental implications of BMP adoption by six sugarcane growers in the Wet Tropics region of North Queensland. Economic, biophysical and farm management data before and after BMP adoption were supplied by participating growers and used in the Farm Economic Analysis Tool (FEAT) and Cane Life Cycle Assessment (CaneLCA) tool to determine the farm profitability and environmental implications of BMP changes. Despite variations between farms, the economic benefit or, more specifically, the annualised equivalent benefit, revealed a positive result for all farms ranging between AU$25 and AU$220 per hectare per year, suggesting that the changes toward BMP were economically beneficial for each farming business analysed. BMP adoption also resulted in reduced environmental impacts over the life cycle of sugarcane production, including reductions in potential water quality impacts from nutrients and pesticides, as well as energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Under some conditions, the degree of economic and environmental benefits were found to be sensitive to increases or reductions in cane yield, and the yield necessary to break-even in terms of annual (economic) benefit was quantified in each case study. Overall, the project findings indicate that BMP implementation in the Wet Tropics can be a win-win for both economic and environmental outcomes. Communication of these findings may give confidence to growers to encourage further adoption, and may promote the industry's efforts to the wider public. The methods employed in the project could be used for further analysis of BMPs in other regions. © 2016 Informa Plc.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Agriculture
Keywords:Controlled traffic Nitrogen Pesticides Practice change Row spacing Economic analysis Economic and social effects Energy utilization Environmental impact Environmental management Gas emissions Greenhouse gases Profitability Tropics Water quality Best management practice (BMPs) Best management practices Economic and environmental benefits Environmental implications Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Life cycle
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural economics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural meteorology. Crops and climate
Plant culture > Field crops > Sugar plants
Live Archive:30 Jul 2019 04:57
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:45

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