Monthly Intellectual Compost - July 2019

Welcome to the July edition bringing intellectual compost to your farming and soil practice. Recently we published a number of resources through our channels that received positive feedback as to their impact. This edition aggregates some of this in one place, to make a good intellectual compost!

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July Summary - This last month we have continued to support Australian soil carbon farming projects by providing independent soil science services across the industry. Highlights include dialogue with US based Indigo Ag about the state of play of soil carbon measurement, and participating in an exciting project led by Volt Farmer and their Climate Smart Farm Project. The up and coming highlight will be next week's Carbon Farming Conference and Expo! We'll bring you much more in August about this and remember, if you want to find out about carbon farming, we can help and welcome hearing from you... just make contact.

Climate Smart Farm Project

Volt Farmer launched its “Electricity to Soil’ project on the Mornington Peninsula. Using a combination of a solar farm along with carbon farming, the project will provide farmers and the local community with technology to dramatically increase the soil health of participating farms.

“Soil carbon ... is created by increasing the biological activity of the farmland and then measuring the increased amount of carbon being stored deep in the soil by roots. Providing farm diversification income from sheep grazed solar farms, habitat creation and educational tours, as well as carbon farming, creates a win-win for everyone.” Stephen Todd - Founder of Volt Farmer said.

By managing pasture, bio-diversity and grazing animals in a way that mimics nature, the plants suck carbon dioxide out of the air and leak it out of their roots as sugars. These sugars feed the soil organisms which then release nutrients which feed the plants. The upside to this process is that farms increase their soil’s fertility, drought resistance and massively reduce the dependency on expensive fertilisers.

The ‘Dromana Climate-Smart Farm Project’ is the first project in Australia to combine accredited carbon farming methods, renewable energy production, and education.

“The pilot projects we [Volt Farmer] are currently building in Victoria are designed to showcase how clean energy production can complement regenerative farming and boost local economies. Dromana has been chosen as one of the signature projects, due to the positive response local grid operator United Energy and Peninsula farmers”.

As part of the exciting project, schools and colleges, as well as universities, will be able to plug into streaming data about climate, renewable energy, biodiversity, soil health. They will also get to see how blockchain is transforming how these critical elements can now be measured as part of ‘Smart Ecological Contracts’ for banks and insurance companies looking to reduce investment risk.

Adrianna Marchand the project’s accredited soil carbon testing officer who was responsible for measuring the World First issued official soil carbon certificates said “We take 1m deep soil core samples to establish an existing carbon baseline then measure again next year to quantify how much carbon has been stored in the soil."

Facilitated by Volt Farmer's Stephen Todd, attendees including Chris Brayne MP, Councillor Anonetta Celi, inventor of the Soilkee pasture renovator and farmer Niels Olsen, and a number of key stakeholders were treated to a soil coring demonstration to obtain samples for soil carbon monitoring.