Agricultural bioenergy cropping in Victoria – balancing the issues

Bruce ShelleyA, Mary-Jane RogersB, Graeme AllinsonC and Nathan DayD

A Department of Primary Industries, 621 Sneydes Road, Werribee, Victoria 3030, Australia.
B Department of Primary Industries, Private Bag 1, Ferguson Road, Tatura, Victoria 3616, Australia.
C Department of Primary Industries, Queenscliff, Victoria 3225, Australia.
D Department of Primary Industries, Epsom, Victoria 3551, Australia.


There has been considerable interest in biofuels and bioenergy production (the generation of energy from biomass), as alternative agricultural industries for the future. High oil prices, diminishing total oil supply, the energy security debate, growing environmental awareness and the need to develop sustainable regional agricultural industries under climate change, are issues that are driving this interest.

The Victorian Government, through its Agriculture and Fisheries Four Year Strategy, recognizes the benefits of developing a sustainable bioenergy industry, particularly using second generation biofuels. The development of a sustainable biofuel industry in Victoria may have a major impact on the Victorian economy by potentially: lessening the dependence on fossil fuels; enabling new markets and alternative income streams for farmers to be developed; developing new industries for regional Victoria; assisting in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; developing land management systems which provide efficient, low emissions energy sources, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, while bioenergy offers potential for significant benefits, it is critical that the economic, environmental (including weed risk, lifecycle GHG emissions and energy balance) and social values of any potential biofuel crop be fully assessed before its introduction and promotion.


Plant Protection Quarterly (2011) 26 (3) 97-99.