Soil carbon is critical for farm health and productivity, says Goulburn Broken CMA Land Health Project Coordinator Rhiannon Sandford.
“Soil carbon, organic matter, carbon credits and carbon neutral – they’re all different terms and while all linked, they are different aspects of ensuring our land is resilient to climate change. Of greatest importance is keeping your soil rich in carbon,” Ms Sandford said.
“The term soil carbon refers to the total amount of carbon in the soil - the organic and inorganic components. It is the organic component that is of most significance to farmers as that is what we can have most influence on.”
She said climate and soil type set the upper limit of soil organic carbon, however, management also had a big influence.
“Farmers will know which paddocks have more and less soil organic carbon; those that dry out quickly or hold on a bit longer.
“If you want to increase your soil organic carbon levels, then management is critical. Good management improves the health and productivity of your soil, which in turn provides many other benefits such as reduced erosion and resilience to temperature extremes.”
Taking a soil test is a good way to benchmark current soil carbon levels.
“To increase your soil organic carbon, your soil organic matter needs to increase. The top 20cm of soil comprises a diverse collection of living components which can improve soil structure and nutrient cycling. Soil organic carbon is good for the soil and therefore good for farms.”
For more detailed information about soil carbon, practices to improve your soil organic matter or to register your interest in soil carbon workshops, please contact the Goulburn Broken CMA on 5822 7700.
Goulburn Broken CMA’s From the Ground Up project is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.