Soil Carbon Farming Advantages
Increase Profit, Reduce Risk and Mitigate Climate Change
The advantages of soil carbon farming and the opportunities it presents are myriad and growing all the time.
Soil carbon farming involving the deployment of regenerative agricultural principles is a set of practices aimed at increasing carbon sequestration in the soil. This approach has gained popularity due to its potential to offer various environmental, social, and economic advantages. Here are some of the key advantages of soil carbon farming using regenerative agriculture:
- Carbon sequestration: Regenerative agriculture practices enhance the ability of soils to capture and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. By building organic matter in the soil through techniques like cover cropping, crop rotation, and reduced tillage, carbon is locked in the soil, helping to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions;
- Climate change mitigation: Increased carbon sequestration in the soil helps to reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, contributing to efforts to combat climate change and its impacts;
- Improved soil health: Regenerative agriculture practices focus on enhancing soil health by increasing soil organic matter, biodiversity, and microbial activity. This leads to improved soil structure, water retention, and nutrient availability for plants, resulting in better crop yields and reduced soil erosion;
- Water retention and resilience: Healthy soils with increased organic matter have better water-holding capacity. This means they can retain more water during dry periods, reducing the risk of drought stress for crops and contributing to water conservation;
- Reduced chemical inputs: Regenerative agriculture often minimises the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, promoting natural nutrient cycling and pest control through increased biodiversity. This reduces environmental pollution and lowers production costs for farmers;
- Biodiversity conservation: By promoting diverse cropping systems and natural habitats, regenerative agriculture supports a wide range of plants, animals, and microorganisms, helping to preserve biodiversity and ecological balance;
- Enhanced food quality: Nutrient-rich soils produce healthier and more nutritious crops, benefiting human and animal health;
- Economic benefits for farmers: While there may be initial costs associated with transitioning to regenerative practices, over the long term, farmers can often reduce input costs, increase yields, and improve the resilience of their operations;
- Resilience to extreme weather events: Regenerative agricultural practices can make farming systems more resilient to extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, due to improved water retention and soil structure; and
- Sustainable land management: By improving soil health and productivity, regenerative agriculture supports sustainable land management practices, reducing the pressure to convert natural habitats into farmland.
These carbon farming advantages can, in turn, can lead to value being captured in the forms of:
- verified low-carbon, carbon-neutral, regenerative branding for produce;
- ecosystem services markets;
- access for farmers to discounted ‘green finance’ products, including loans and insurance; and
- improved land valuations through data-backed natural capital valuations.
What are the potential soil carbon farming benefits for Western Australia?
Western Australia has approximately 17.5 million hectares of cleared land under management for agricultural purposes (Source: DPIRD Research Update 2021).
With a conservative estimate of a 1% increase in total soil organic carbon stocks accrued over a 25-year project and an assumption of $50 per tonne carbon credit price, the annual value of carbon for Western Australia’s agricultural industry could be $6 billion, equal to the value of primary production. (Source: WA Department of Agriculture Regional Snapshot ).
This value could be realised at the same time as producing food and fibre for domestic and export markets. Soil carbon farming and the generation of carbon credits does not rely on a change in land use.
You may find the FAQ, “How much income can I make from carbon farming?” helpful as you explore the advantages of soil carbon farming.
To get in touch with Carbon Sync to discuss your farming property’s carbon farming potential, please visit our Contact Us page.