· $6.5million collaboration led by AACo and Food Agility CRC
· Remote sensing tool to accurately and affordably measure soil carbon in rangelands
· Livestock could become a net carbon sequesterer
· Opens the door for savvy, sustainable rangeland farmers to trade carbon
A$6.5million collaboration led by AACo and Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) aims to revolutionise how rangeland farmers measure, manage and trade carbon.
The three-year project was announced today as a cornerstone initiative in AACo’s Sustainability Framework.
The Rangelands Carbon Project also includes Cibo Labs, FLINTpro (Mullion Group), Carbon Link, University of Technology Sydney, Federation University and Charles Sturt University.
The team is devising a tool to accurately and affordably measure soil carbon in Australian rangelands, which make up 75% of the country’s landmass.
This will reduce reliance on expensive soil tests, which can cost millions and are a major barrier for farmers who want to manage soil health and participate in the growing carbon market.
Food Agility CRC CEO, Richard Norton, said the data-driven initiative would help the red meat industry and the nation meet net-zero emissions commitments by 2030 and 2050 respectively.
“Working with Australia’s largest landholder and red meat producer, we have an opportunity to transform livestock industries from net emitters to net sequesterers,” Mr Norton said.
“Lowering the cost of measuring carbon will also open the door for thousands of farmers to participate in the carbon market and create new revenue streams that reward sustainable practices.”
AACo CEO Hugh Killen said standard soil carbon tests cost $20 per hectare, bringing the cost for AACo close to $130million.
“This cost prices companies even of our size out of the market, let alone smaller operations, and reduces the incentive for improving soil quality,” Mr Killen said.
“This collaboration will help change that.”
The global carbon market is currently valued at AU$369billion and Australian Carbon Credit Units are tipped to jump from $20 a year ago to $50 by 2030.
The new tool will be driven by data models that use biomass and vegetation measured via satellite imagery, as proxies for soil carbon. The team will also measure change in soil carbon over time and to advise industry on the highest potential carbon management and sequestration opportunities.
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