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Report into pH, soil organic carbon helps improves local understanding of carbon farming

Report into pH, soil organic carbon improves local understanding of carbon farming

Riverine Plains has recently completed a region-first project looking into the viability and practicality of increasing soil carbon for trading through the Australian Government’s Emission Reduction Fund.

As part of the project, and with the support of the Cool Soil Initiative, paddocks were sampled to determine baseline soil pH and soil organic carbon using the  methods set out in the Carbon Farming Initiative.

Stocks of soil organic carbon were calculated for each paddock, with a specific paddock example used to determine what a 0.5% increase in soil carbon might look like in terms of the Australian Carbon Credit Unit, (the unit of trade for the Emission Reduction Fund).

The calculations, based on a pasture paddock near Springhurst, showed the potential financial gains from carbon farming to be modest, with the returns also weighed against the sampling, auditing and reporting costs of participating in the Emission Reduction Fund.

The project highlighted how complex it can be to measure and validate any increase or change in soil organic carbon over time, and that trading carbon through the Emission Reduction Fund requires a thorough understanding of the process before committing.

Aside from carbon farming, one of the most important take-home messages from the project was that interactions between soil pH and soil organic carbon are complex, and that soil pH is a key parameter driving the soil’s ability to increase soil carbon, with low pH soils having reduced microbial activity and organic matter turnover.

For the full report, visit https://riverineplains.org.au/quantifying-the-carbon-gains-from-mixed-cropping-systems/

This project was completed within the Cool Soil Initiative with partners Mars Petcare, Kellogg’s, Manildra Group and Allied Pinnacle, through the Sustainable Food Lab and Charles Sturt University (CSU), with additional funding through the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and participating growers. This project was also supported by the North East and Goulburn Broken CMAs through funding provided by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

New On-farm Weather Stations at Miepoll & Bungeet

28 November, 2017

Word Count: 393

Farmers in the Riverine Plains region now have free access to two additional weather stations and moisture probes, installed at Bungeet and Miepoll, as part of a project facilitated by local farming systems group, Riverine Plains Inc.

Riverine Plains Inc Research and Extension Officer, Dr Cassandra Schefe, explained that access to real-time weather information was important to help farmers manage their spray and fertiliser applications, harvest fire risk and also their response to damaging environmental events such as frost.

“Weather patterns, topography and soil types all vary across a region and while there are official BOM weather stations located at Shepparton, Yarrawonga, Wangaratta and Benalla, these may not reflect conditions at individual locations across the Goulburn Broken catchment” she said.

“Local weather stations, such as those recently installed at Bungeet and Miepoll, can act to fill the void across the region and work to help farmers save time when making decisions” she added.

The on-farm weather stations continuously record air temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed and direction: this data is then used to calculate Delta T for spraying, fire safety during grain harvest, as well as frost risk. Soil moisture probes installed at varying depth increments at the sites also provide information to help farmers monitor crop water use and fertiliser application.

The new weather stations at Bungeet and Miepoll complement Riverine Plains Inc’s existing weather stations located at Barooga, Berrigan, Culcairn, Henty, Howlong Lockhart, Pleasant Hills, Rand, Redlands, Dookie, Rutherglen Telford, Yabba and Yarrawonga.

Information from the Goulburn Broken CMA funded Bungeet and Miepoll weather stations, and the entire Riverine Plains Inc weather station network, is available for free public access via the weather page at riverineplains.org.au. Simply select the nearest location then save to your smartphone, tablet or computer.

The Miepoll and Bungeet weather stations were installed through the Improving fertiliser and chemical use through local real time weather and soil information for farmers of the productive plains project. The project was funded by Goulburn Broken CMA through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

For more information please contact Riverine Plains on (03) 5744 1713 or visit riverineplains.org.au.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

….ends………………

More Information or Interview:

Cassandra Schefe, Extension Officer, Riverine Plains (03 5744 1713 / 0419 238 798)

 

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