Farm Carbon Accounting Pilot

Farm Carbon Accounting Pilot

Capacity to Deliver

The issue

WMLIG have investigated soil carbon sequestration opportunities for landholders in our region by undertaking a detailed analysis of the current soil carbon levels and correlated market opportunities. As part of this process WMLIG ran a Pilot carbon assessment project at Peter and Wendy McDonald’s property ‘Glencoe’, located in Caldwell on the Thule Lagoon. The Pilot consisted of employing FarmLab (a company that provide carbon sequestration and biodiversity software) to guide WMLIG through the process of taking soil carbon measurements. WMLIG was supported by Carbon8 who eduacted staff on how to conduct sampling for soil carbon and other indicative tests of soil health, such as water infiltration time. Funding provided equipment to conduct soil chemical testing and determine simple soil physical characteristics such as infiltration rates. GPS sample site coordinates along with labratory testing for soil analysis were loaded onto Farmlab software.

The solution

Farmlab provided an overview of how to use their software with property overlays to determine different soil types and obtain representative soil test locations across properties. Glencoe received an economic value assessment of soil carbon which indicated an approximate soil carbon level that could be obtained with strategic management practices.

The impact

Findings from our Pilot project at Glencoe have realised that climate limitations in our region limit the potential for soil carbon gains to be made. This is due to multiple factors, including our low rainfall. Farmlab advised that there is only potential for @1.5% increase in soil carbon sequestration over a long term, based on soil type and rainfall, taking into account loss of C in drought conditions. The carbon market is very complex regarding the methodology and verification process. Value to the farmer is also questionable, with income split roughly 50:50 between the farmer, brokers and consultants. Product risk is likely borne by the landholder who will have to buy back carbon credits on the ·market, likely to be a higher value in the future, if soil carbon sequestration levels are not achieved. This risk needs to be taken into account before embarking on a carbon farming contract. WMLIG is looking at a farmer owned carbon & biodiversity income model developed by the Regen Farmers Mutual (RFM) to provide farmers a fair price to incentivise the uptake of EG&S projects. RFM will provide an income pathway for community groups to provide independent information and deliver upon community wealth building outcomes.

Key facts

  • Property Assessed: 356.30ha
  • Ground Cover: 75%
  • Forested: 15%
  • Current Soil Carbon: 1.2%
  • 0.5% Increase Soil Carbon Sequestation: 27.299
  • 0.7% Increase Soil Carbon Credit Units: 38,218
  • Market Price Australian Carbon Credit Units: $17-22
  • Limitations: Medium rain fall area
  • Drought prone

Project Partners