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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.

Soil organic carbon & pH online workshop – 23 March

An online workshop with Dr Cassandra Schefe (AgriSci Pty Ltd)  will present the key findings from the Riverine Plains project “Quantifying in-paddock variations of soil organic carbon and pH” project. The project was funded through Goulburn Broken CMA’s “From the Ground Up” project and commenced in 2019.

The workshop will present the research results from this project and aims to increase the understanding of the interaction between soil organic carbon and pH, as well the need for updated sampling practices and opportunities for increasing soil organic carbon.

When: Tuesday 23rd March 2021

Time: 9.00am – 10.15am

Where: online

To register for this workshop, click here or contact Karen Brisbane – Bullock on 0409 955 396 or email karenb@gbcma.vic.gov.au

To download a pdf copy of the flyer, please click here.

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