BASF Launches AgBalance in Canada
OREANDA-NEWS. June 06, 2012. BASF Canada Inc. (BASF) is set to launch a new method to measure sustainability in Canada. The company’s new proprietary tool, AgBalance™ , uses a set of 69 indicators to calculate the social, economic and environmental impact of various farming practices. The results help growers identify the most impactful levers to improve their overall sustainability score.
BASF is collaborating with several organizations, who will act as consultants on the project. These include: Canola Council of Canada, Canadian Canola Growers Association, Manitoba Canola Growers Association, Alberta Canola Producer Commission, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Pulse Canada, and the University of Alberta. These organizations will also gain first-hand knowledge of AgBalance and how results compare to other life-cycle assessments. The holistic nature of AgBalance will allow the research community to identify and address potential data gaps in the general understanding of sustainability factors.
“AgBalance puts producers in the driver’s seat when it comes to developing farm management practices that improve agricultural sustainability,” says Jeff Bertholet, Technical Development Manager at BASF Canada. “Results will provide a basis for discussions with producers about long-term planning, maximizing return on investment, improving the environmental profile of their production methods and mitigating risk.”
The Canadian canola study will compare today’s more intensive canola production with the standard from 1995. It is part of a series of pilot studies to identify the key drivers of sustainable intensification and discuss outcomes with growers. The results of first pilot studies in soybeans and sugarcane were announced in Brazil last month. Further studies in many countries, including the U.S., France and China, are underway. The Canadian AgBalance study will analyse canola production between 1995 and 2010. Data collection has begun and results are expected in the second quarter of 2013.
AgBalance is an expert method that utilizes agronomists, biologists, soil scientists, and economists to collect and measure real-world data against 69 sustainability indicators. These range from soil erosion to renewable energy potential, fixed costs and more. The data are then sorted into economic, environmental or social profiles to produce a sustainability score that can be used to objectively compare various farming practices against one another. Once data are collected and analysed, they will be shared in a peer-review process to ensure an independent critical review of the results.