I would hope that by now most farmers have heard that building soil carbon has huge advantages. Both from a productivity and an environmental perspective. How do you go about building soil carbon?
Carbon is one of the indicators that can be used to test for soil health. Soils with higher soil carbon are usually indicative of healthy soil. Those with low carbon indicate the opposite. Watch this simple demonstration showing how to test for carbon in soil.
Soil carbon helps with moisture retention and can get you through dry periods. Farm management practices should be wired towards sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere!
These two very simple visual assessments can give farmers an idea of how good the structure of the soil is on their farms. They are also a good demonstration of the benefits of soil carbon and how carbon contributes to well aggregated soil.
Each percentage increase in soil carbon results in 230 818 more litres of water stored per hectare. That is a massive amount of water. Increasing soil carbon levels is therefore a key factor to improving water use efficiency on farms.
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.