Project assists farmers hit pay dirt in carbon economy

Project leader David Lawrence with a soil sample in a pasture on a property at Chinchilla.
Project leader David Lawrence with a soil sample in a pasture on a property at Chinchilla.

IT'S the "pay dirt" that underpins profitability, and Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry officers are assisting farmers to understand the advantages and value of soil organic matter and carbon in their paddocks.

The message officers are giving is that organic matter is critical for soil health and long-term productivity.

As the 'carbon economy' evolves, farmers have an opportunity to generate greater profitability by building soil carbon levels through their farming practices.

According to the department, the potential to measure and trade soil carbon should be assessed for local farming systems within the emerging carbon economy.

To ensure cropping and mixed farmers understand their organic matter and carbon farming future, the department has joined with the Australian Government, Grains Research and Development Corporation and local Landcare groups in the Brigalow Jimbour Flood Plains, Chinchilla, Queensland Murray Darling, and the Fitzroy Basin, on a new project.

The departmen's extension officer Suzette Argent said the Soil Organic Matter and Carbon project aimed to improve and maintain soil organic matter and carbon levels within the northern grains region.

"During the coming months we will establish demonstration sites in each of the four project regions to show farmers practices they could integrate to improve their own paddocks' soil carbon levels and soil health," Ms Argent said.

"We will also be holding a number of workshops and field days to build practical skills to manage soil organic matter, provide an understanding of how different management practices affect soil carbon levels, and explain the value of soil carbon levels within a farming system and a carbon economy."

Officers and the project partners are keen to hear from farmers who would like to become involved in local activities and information events.

"We encourage farmers to get involved, especially in the Queensland Murray Darling and Fitzroy Basin regions, as groups in these areas are still being formed to explore carbon on your own farm with soil carbon tests," Ms Argent said.

For information about the project, or to register interest in becoming involved, contact the deaprtment on 13 25 23 or email Suzette Argent at

Topics:  department of agriculture soil

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