Login | Request Account (DAF staff only)

A framework to monitor sustainability in the grains industry

View Altmetrics

Dalal, R.C., Lawrence, P., Doughton, J.A., Walker, J., Shaw, R.J., Lawrence, G., Yule, D., Bourne, A., Duivenvoorden, L., Choy, S., Moloney, D., Turner, L., King, C. and Dale, A. (1999) A framework to monitor sustainability in the grains industry. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 39 (5). pp. 605-620.


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/EA98108

Publisher URL: https://www.publish.csiro.au/an/EA98108


Community awareness of the sustainable use of land, water and vegetation resources is increasing. The sustainable use of these resources is pivotal to sustainable farming systems. However, techniques for monitoring the sustainable management of these resources are poorly understood and untested. We propose a framework to benchmark and monitor resources in the grains industry. Eight steps are listed below to achieve these objectives: (i) define industry issues; (ii) identify the issues through growers, stakeholder and community consultation; (iii) identify indicators (measurable attributes, properties or characteristics) of sustainability through consultation with growers, stakeholders, experts and community members, relating to: crop productivity; resource maintenance/enhancement; biodiversity; economic viability; community viability; and institutional structure; (iv) develop and use selection criteria to select indicators that consider: responsiveness to change; ease of capture; community acceptance and involvement; interpretation; measurement error; stability, frequency and cost of measurement; spatial scale issues; and mapping capability in space and through time. The appropriateness of indicators can be evaluated using a decision making system such as a multiobjective decision support system (MO-DSS, a method to assist in decision making from multiple and conflicting objectives); (v) involve stakeholders and the community in the definition of goals and setting benchmarking and monitoring targets for sustainable farming; (vi) take preventive and corrective/remedial action; (vii) evaluate effectiveness of actions taken; and (viii) revise indicators as part of a continual improvement principle designed to achieve best management practice for sustainable farming systems. The major recommendations are to: (i) implement the framework for resources (land, water and vegetation, economic, community and institution) benchmarking and monitoring, and integrate this process with current activities so that awareness, implementation and evolution of sustainable resource management practices become normal practice in the grains industry; (ii) empower the grains industry to take the lead by using relevant sustainability indicators to benchmark and monitor resources; (iii) adopt a collaborative approach by involving various industry, community, catchment management and government agency groups to minimise implementation time. Monitoring programs such as Waterwatch, Soilcheck, Grasscheck and Topcrop should be utilised; (iv) encourage the adoption of a decision making system by growers and industry representatives as a participatory decision and evaluation process. Widespread use of sustainability indicators would assist in validating and refining these indicators and evaluating sustainable farming systems. The indicators could also assist in evaluating best management practices for the grains industry.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Queensland
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural economics
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Special aspects of agriculture as a whole > Sustainable agriculture
Plant culture > Field crops
Plant culture > Field crops > Grain. Cereals
Agriculture > By region or country > Australia > Queensland
Live Archive:24 Oct 2023 03:30
Last Modified:24 Oct 2023 03:30

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics