Counting on carbon for the future of farming

By Dairy News

A major new project will show how increasing soil carbon on 20 Heytesbury district farms can lead to food production and climate change benefits.

Heytesbury District Landcare Network will lead the $298 000 project which has been funded by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation through the Eldon and Anne Foote Trust.

Twenty farms across the Heytesbury region are being recruited to take part in the two-year project and the findings will be shared across the farming community through a series of field days, discussion groups and on-ground activities.

HDLN landcare co-ordinator Geoff Rollinson said the project could pave the way for big improvements and savings for all local farmers and build their capacity as advocates for change.

“It aims to show how different soil activities can increase soil carbon, moisture content and nutrient content that ultimately results in better soil health that benefits all farmers and the environment,” Mr Rollinson said.

Heytesbury region farmers, including dairy, beef, sheep or other enterprises, are being encouraged to submit an expression of interest to join the program.

A steering group has been formed and is developing a work plan for the project. Partners are Deakin University, EAROPH, Focus, Corangamite CMA, Corangamite Shire and Triple R BioChar.

The group is also working with Agriprove to develop a platform for farmers to potentially chase carbon credits through the Emissions Reduction Fund.

During the project, a series of on-farm tests will measure soil health improvements and increases in the nutrient and vitamin value of milk and meat.

“The objective is that over the two-year period, landholders should see improvements in those parameters and develop strategies to improve soil health and ecosystem function,” Mr Rollinson said.

“It will look at the most cost-effective ways to achieve desired outcomes and the business case for farmers to pursue these activities.”

The project is part of a drive to advance Australian agriculture to a more sustainable form of farming by improving soil and animal health and farm productivity and reducing greenhouse gases to mitigate against negative climate impacts.

This new project will build on the success of HDLN’s Keeping Carbon on the Farm and Activating Soil Biology projects.

For more information or an expression of interest form, contact Geoff Rollinson on 0427 983 755 or email