Soil carbon farming a new focus at Southeast Field Days
Soil carbon farming has hit the radar of many livestock farmers across south-eastern Australia, with producers curious to understand how it works. First-time exhibitor at the Southeast Field Days, soil carbon agronomy company, Precision Pastures, will be providing insights into this relatively new industry.
Precision Pastures was founded in 2014 as an agronomy business dedicated to helping farmers measure and manage soil health and improve the productivity of their land. Based in Armidale in NSW, the company has developed significant soil carbon industry expertise and provides the full suite of soil carbon agronomy services, ranging from preliminary soil testing, project registration, baseline soil sampling, and the ongoing project management.
Precision Pastures founder Milton Curkpatrick, who originally hails from Kingston, says the Southeast region is highly prospective for soil carbon projects.
“The Southeast region is predominantly a pasture and grazing enterprise area and therefore suited to soil carbon projects,” Milton says.
“This is because increased pasture production is the main driver of a soil carbon project. The Australian Carbon Credit Units are generated by increasing soil carbon levels and these are a co-benefit of a ‘changing practice’ under the Clean Energy Regulator’s list of Eligible Activities in the Soil Carbon Farming Methodology.
Milton acknowledges there is a level of scepticism around carbon farming, mostly due to a lack of understanding of what a soil carbon project can offer farmers, however, he says soil carbon projects are worth considering in grazing enterprises, “particularly where there are plans to improve pasture production and grazing management”.
“The Lucindale Field Days always attract a tremendous gathering of farmers, businesses, and the agricultural community more broadly and we are very excited to be back in SA to share our knowledge and assist farmers keen to navigate this space,” Milton says.
“Our most popular service is a Carbon Starter Report – a simple, cost-effective way to assess your farm’s carbon farming potential and understand exactly how a soil carbon project does, or doesn’t, fit your farm business. We will be offering a ‘carbon snippet’ which is a condensed version of this report on-the-spot to anyone who visits our site at the Field Days.”
Farmers will receive a personalised cadastral boundary-drawn map of their property, measuring bulk density and tree cover, to give an estimation of their soil carbon sequestration estimation.
“We will also have one of our soil testing rigs onsite for inspection where we will showcase how a soil carbon core sample is taken, measuring as deep as 120cm in the ground,” Milton says.
“We can present the potential benefits to your production system and financial income and answer common questions, including how long a project runs, any associated costs, risks, and obligations involved in a soil carbon agreement.”