Soil carbon project gets second round of credits

soil carbon
Organic dairy farmer and Soilkee contractor Stephen Whitsed, Soilkee founder and inventor Niels Olsen and AgriProve managing director Matthew Warnken

Australia’s leading soil carbon project has been issued with soil carbon credits for the second year in a row under the Federal Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).

Late last year AgriProve and Soilkee Pasture Renovator founder, farmer Niels Olsen, led the world when they received the first soil carbon credits eligible under the Paris Agreement. Now the project has received its second round of credits for the Grounds Keeping Project in West Gippsland, Victoria.

The announcement comes at a time when farmers are facing unprecedented challenges, from drought to fires, floods and now coronavirus.

AgriProve managing director Matthew Warnken said an average annual increase of around 10 credits per hectare over two years had been recorded, which the company believes demonstrates soil carbon farming works and can diversify farm income.

“[It] has enormous potential to grow because it improves farm productivity and profitability while also helping to reverse global warming,” he said.

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“There is an appetite for change in the farming community and landholders are showing a strong interest in soil carbon and regenerative agriculture.

“AgriProve is customising the program to farms in different regions and contexts, which is building more experience and confidence in the ability of farmers to participate in [these] projects.

Mr Olsen welcomed the credits, which he said reflects the results he is seeing on the ground.

“Our productivity has increased, and we are getting dry matter yields of 20 tonnes per hectare, which is double the regional average,” he said.

“Our cattle get in-calf more easily, weight gains have improved and our animals are healthier. We have more air and structure in our soils, there are more worms and fungi that cycle nutrients and the carbon holds more water in the soil.”

Almost 2000 Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) have been issued for the project, including 1498 credits in this second round issuance.

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