I think many people have been sceptical of the idea that dairy farms could possibly be carbon neutral, but this data shows that this is actually possible. This is a massive positive impact! The theory is being put into action.
This is part of the reason why Trace & Save initiated the carbon farming project. It is a central place where information on sustainable farm management can be transferred, a place where the commonality is caring for our soils and their health. Caring for our soils is caring for the future.
Plants are made-up of many components which each play an important role in the plants’ functioning. The part with the most important role of all is the leaf. This is where the core of the plants defensive and growth systems are initiated.
As a farmer, your primary use for soil is for growing crops. Soil fulfils this function by being an anchor for plant roots and a store for water and nutrients. One of the soil properties that ensure that this happens effectively is soil structure.
So what is soil and how can it sequester carbon? Soil is a living miracle. In one handful of soil; there are more organisms than there are humans on earth. We are now only beginning to understand this vast network of beings right under our feet.
The original source of carbon in the roots is atmospheric carbon dioxide. Photosynthesis is a process which everyone has heard of, and probably studied at school, but I don’t think we fully realise and appreciate its uniqueness and value.
Farmers that implement sustainable land-management practices can improve the carbon levels of their soils, thereby moving carbon from the atmosphere through plants into the soil.
The carbon in plants is then transferred to the soil when plant roots and vegetation die and are incorporated into the soil by microorganisms in the soil.
The challenge for farmers is sieving through all these techniques at their disposal and finding that one technique which they understand and identify with – one which is simple and informative enough for them that they would be able to use the results and implement directed management practices on their farm.