Carbon focus for soils workshop
Opportunities that exist in carbon farming and how they relate to soil management were discussed during two Carbon and Soils workshops held at Nonning and Bon Bon during June.
More than 25 people from the Gawler Ranges and Kingoonya districts learnt about the carbon industry, availability of opportunities, potential benefits and some of the pitfalls to be aware of.
If you are considering a carbon project, the advice was that you should ask questions, get the necessary legal advice and have anything you don’t understand explained by an independent expert.
Guest speaker Michael Eyres provided background about the carbon market, the suitability of the HIR (human induced regeneration) methodology for rangelands settings and the importance of soils and their management. He said that management actions to increase soil carbon essentially come down to maximising rainfall infiltration and maximising perennial plant cover. In a rangelands context, managing grazing and animal production to minimise carbon emissions, requires careful management of pastures to minimise soil and plant loss in dry times. Maximising diversity across the landscape is also critical to managing carbon. Good soil management and the importance of vegetation cover for soil health were also discussed.
Edward Scott provided an overview of the current happenings in the carbon trading space and what to be mindful of. He also provided an in-depth session on soils when in the soil pit at Nonning.
Dave Meegan was also on hand to provide a legal insight for people considering entering in to carbon projects.
Nonning attendees shared in some hands-on work in a soil pit, where there was discussion around the soil layers and their moisture holding capacity, the importance of termites and the way they assist with water movement through the soil profile.
Presenters encouraged attendees to dig their own soil pits to gain a better understanding of the soil profile on their properties, giving the take home message that by only looking at the surface, they are only getting part of the picture.
Carbon is a great indicator of productivity and performance across the landscape
The Carbon and Soils workshop was offered as part of the board's Building Pastoral Sustainability project, which is delivered by the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.