A program aimed at capturing more carbon in the soil of Tweed farms has received the go-ahead with the awarding of a grant from the federal government.
The Increasing Soil Carbon in Tweed Valley Farmland project will be rolled out on 30 local farms over the next three years with the assistance of a $586,500 grant from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry’s Action on the Ground program.
It aims to demonstrate that through the application of compost, biochar/compost blend and animal manure as well as using legume cover crops, soil carbon levels consistently increase over various landscapes, soil types, activities and time.
Tweed mayor Barry Longland said federal member Justine Elliot had played a significant role in securing the funding.
‘I would like to express my gratitude, on behalf of the people of the Tweed, for Justine’s support of this project, which could have major implications for the reduction of greenhouse gases nationwide,’ Councillor Longland said.
Council’s sustainable agriculture officer Sebastien Garcia-Cuenca said the project was a great opportunity for Tweed farmers to move towards improving land management.
‘The fact that the application process has been driven by farmers is significant because it shows their desire to farm in a sustainable way,’ Mr Garcia-Cuenca said.
‘Action on the Ground is designed to enable on-farm trial and demonstration of practices and abatement technologies to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and/or increase carbon sequestered in soil.
‘This project will practically demonstrate to farmers and the broader community the direct productivity and ecological benefits of increased soil carbon and improved soil-management methods.’
It will also provide a platform to trial the production of local carbon-rich soil amendment products by recycling local resources such as municipal green waste, dairy manure and effluent, forestry and roadside woodchips.
Currently transport accounts for more than 50 per cent of the total financial cost of composts or manure while also contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.
The project follows on the success of a similar trial conducted on 30 Tweed farms between 2009 and 2011, which showed very promising results.