Soil Carbon Project

The Soil Carbon Project aims to improve carbon flow into the soil in cropping systems and pasture, increasing the adoption of appropriate and specific methods for each system to achieve maximum results.

Focus

The Soil Carbon project will target areas of the mixed farming and grazing sector including Westbury, West Tamar, Fingal Valley and the North East to identify and extend the costs and benefits of highly diverse pastures in improving soil health and livestock performance. The project will also focus on the broad-acre cropping industry across Northern Tasmania, specifically in the target area between Westbury and Ross.

The project will work across the grazing sector and broad-acre cropping industry to;

  • increase awareness of constraints to carbon flow into soil;
  • encourage adoption of best management practices to improve carbon flows to soil;
  • drive annual net primary productivity and soil carbon inputs through a focus on mixed-species pasture selection to maximise root depth and density; and
  • assist broadacre crop growers overcome soil constraints, improve rooting depth and increase yields.
Soil Carbon focus area
The project focuses on target areas of the mixed farming and grazing sector.
Soil samples in hands
Soil samples, before and after carbon gains.

Value

Tasmanian agricultural systems have relatively high organic carbon content due to climatic and soil influences. However, cropping systems often involve tillage and many areas in Tasmania have been cultivated for 200 years. This long history of tillage and fallows in Tasmania has led to significant declines in soil organic carbon and overall soil health.

Year-round availability of moisture and nitrogen though irrigation expansion could potentially result in further soil carbon decline, however through improved irrigation and soil management techniques, carbon gains are possible.

Delivery

Delivery methods of this project will vary between cropping and pasture systems.

Soil Carbon (Crops) delivery methods will include:

  • design and implement on-ground trials with the support of landholders;
  • practical field demonstrations and events, including a soil carbon workshop; and
  • delivery in partnership with Southern Farming Systems (TAS).

Soil Carbon (Pasture) delivery methods will include:

  • diverse-species pasture trials established in partnership with producers;
  • observe long-term production and soil carbon benefits over a 5-year period;
  • farm tours and field days to directly observe trial results and engage with key pasture and soil experts; and
  • trial and extension program delivered with support of specialist technical agronomists and other production-focused service providers.

Knowledge sharing of both below and above ground results will occur across both systems.

Soil Carbon training session
Attendees at a soil carbon field day in 2019.

Partners

This project is supported by NRM North, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

NLP logo_colour
SFS logo

Partners

This project is supported by NRM North, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

NLP logo_colour
SFS logo

Land Program & Projects

Land Program

Return to the Land Program.

Hillslope Erosion

Increasing target farmers' understanding of hillslope erosion.

Soil Acidification

Raising awareness of the limitations in productivity caused by soil acidification in pastures.

RALF – Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator

Providing important core agricultural services within the NRM North region.