CARBON sequestering is a simple yet powerful way that’s enabling Gippsland farmers to enhance their farm’s productivity and receive a range of financial benefits.
The benefits of Carbon Farming were discussed by Landcare, with scientists and a field full of keen to learn local farmers last Thursday at Prom Country Cheese in Moyarra as part of a ‘Growing Southern Gippsland’ field day.
Prom Country Cheese’s Burke Brandon said carbon sequestering has resulted in a range of improvements on his property and produce.
“We’ve been here six years, we put in some careful work early; farming organically and with precise grazing,” said Burke.
Burke said allowing fields to replenish meant his paddocks became healthier.
“With the grass growing and the ground not being overworked, soil naturally sequesters more carbon.”
With the aim of improving soil and removing carbon from the environment, RMIT scientist Dr Jess Greeves says the carbon sequestering has a range of benefits.
“It’s improving the water holding capacity of the soil, it’s improving the yield pastures and long jeopardy of pastures. Also greater nutrition, so the different pastures will have greater nutrition,” said Dr Greeves.
“With the autumn break coming later, it means pastures can be kept for longer,” she said.
“You can also benefit financially, the overall practices and productivity of land will be improved by using these approaches to farming,” she said.
Although carbon offsetting can be profitable, it isn’t necessarily a sole income stream according to Peter Ronalds from Western Port Landcare.
“Sequestering carbon isn’t necessarily an income stream on its own, but it can be a nice pay cheque – a cherry on top.”
However, the main concern for the farmer is the initial outlay of testing the carbon content of the ground.
Currently at around $170 per acre, this expense does redeem itself over time.
“The cost of testing soils can be a hurdle for farmers. But what we’ve found is that over time through improved productivity and selling of carbon offsets, the outlay is returned after a few years.”
Although the financial incentive isn’t so relevant for the Hales family who have already improved their baseline carbon content, organic dairy farmer Carolyn Hales says the change is something they won’t go back on.
“The Hales family have been on our 530-acre property for 136 years, we made the change to organic five years ago and have noticed a lot of benefits,” said Carolyn.
“Having healthy soils means the cows are getting the nutrients they need out of the soil,” she said.
The Carbon Farming field day was one of six fields days hosted by Growing Southern Gippsland, with a water focused field day coming up in February.
For more information on the field day or upcoming events, visit, www.basscoastlandcare.org.au or search Facebook for ‘Bass Coast Landcare’.
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