TWEED farmers are the guinea pigs for a soil carbon capturing trail that could have national significance.
Thirty farms will take part in the Increasing Soil Carbon in Tweed Valley Farmland project, which has been granted $586,500 from the Federal Government.
Tweed Shire Council and the Tweed Sustainable Agricultural Network, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (NCRMA) will oversee the project.
The researchers are hoping the trial will demonstrate that through the application of compost, legume cover crops and animal manure, that soil carbon levels will increase over various landscapes, soil types, activities and time.
The council's sustainable agriculture officer Sebastien Garcia-Cuenca said the project was a great opportunity for Tweed farmers, the council, DPI and NRCMA to partner once more to improve 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.
"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 road side wood chips."
The project follows on the success of a similar trial conducted on 30 Tweed farms between 2009 and 2011 which showed promising results.
Tweed mayor Barry Longland thanked Richmond MP Justine Elliot for her dedication to getting the project up and running.
WHAT IS CARBON CAPTURE?
- It's all about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the amount of carbon dioxide stored in soil.
- It has been proposed as a way to slow greenhouse gases released by burning fossil fuels.
- Carbon dioxide is naturally captured through the atmosphere but researchers are trialling the addition of compost and animal manure, for example, to speed up the process.
For more information on carbon farming, visit the Carbon Farmers of Australia website.