New carbon farming technology to drive up grazier’s profits | ABC.net
A new technology that measures the precise level of carbon in soil could drive a national boom in carbon farming.
Central Queensland company Carbon Link recently secured $1 million from the Federal Government to commercialise the system, which they have been developing for nine years.
One farmer, Andrew Lawrie, already estimated he could add 50 per cent to his grazing income through the technology.
The process requires days of drilling on a property for soil samples to determine the initial level of carbon.
Crops and grass are then planted to pull carbon from the air into the ground.
In five years time, the soil is examined again to determine how much carbon they have managed to store, earning the farmers money.
The technology opens up another industry for producers who can sell off the stored carbon in their soil to polluters under the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Cattle farmer Andrew Lawrie is trialling the system at his cattle farm at Gogano, west of Rockhampton, and said it offered both environmental and economic benefits.
“I’m guessing that that I’m going to be making half as much again as I do out of the cattle as I do with the carbon if we manage it properly,” Mr Lawrie said.
Carbon Link business manager Ian Hall said carbon is beneficial for the growth of plants and soil health, and does not cause negative environmental effects when underground.
“Farmers will be able to use these managements practices to increase their soil carbon, and the productivity [of the land] and offset the effects of global warming,” Mr Hall said.
“They get improved drought resilience, as it allows for the soil to retain the moisture longer, and less erosion, so there’s a benefit like even to the reef because there’s less run off occurring.”
Mr Lawrie said it is still a risky move as it will not offer a financial return for years.
“There’s no income from it, there’s a fairly big upfront cost now, and then we need to measure it in five years and we get paid on the difference,” he said.
“It’s something that we can’t see in the ground, so you know there’s a lot of research saying we can make money, but we have to look after it properly.
“I think once people can see that it is a real thing, that [farmers] are making some money out of it, then people will people will get behind it.”