A key activity taking place within Farm Net Zero is to dig deeper into soil carbon assessment across a network of monitor farms. This work is critical in understanding the potential for farms to provide a climate solution, but also understand the nuance in terms of what’s possible and the management practices that make a difference.
This work builds on the previous work completed through the Soil Carbon Project, to provide sustained activity and continuous monitoring, as well as being able to bring in a new group of farmers that represent the diversity of farming systems and management practices that we have in the project area.
What are we doing?
We have recruited 40 monitor farms that are taking part in the ongoing monitoring. The farms are all baselined in terms of their carbon footprint and their soil carbon levels, and then work with the project team to take on practices that aim to improve soil health and carbon sequestration.
Annual monitoring of soil health parameters (structure, worm numbers, aggregate stability and infiltration) as well as testing will show variation and trends over time and regular assessment of the carbon footprint will show where emissions reductions and efficiencies are also possible with improved soil health.
Locations of Farm Net Zero monitor farms (please note this map is still being populated).
The activity that will take place on the monitor farms is being delivered by partners from Westcountry Rivers Trust, Duchy College and the Farm Carbon Toolkit.
What will this mean?
As well as providing a unique understanding of the potential for soil carbon sequestration across a range of farming systems, this activity helps develop our community’s engagement with the farmers most precious asset – their soil. Through regular assessment of soil health and linking this to farm productivity and performance we will provide evidence on what is possible which can be used to inspire more farmers, growers and landowners.