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Carbon Farming project update

26th Mar 2018

The Carbon Farming Project

Overall aim of the project

To understand in more detail how farmers can build soil health and business resilience and its links to soil organic matter and organic carbon content.

What will the project be doing?

Working with 20 farms across England, we will be taking soil samples to analyse soil organic matter percentage and soil carbon, look at other indicators of soil health (including soil structure and biological activity), and link this to management practices on the farm, business resilience and carbon footprint.


What do we want to achieve?

  • A scientifically verified and farmer approved way to collect soil samples that accurately analysis soil organic matter percentage and the link to soil carbon content
  • An understanding of the impact of management practices on soil carbon content and what are the practices that can be used to improve or maintain levels.
  • Development of links with industry and a thorough understanding of how soil fits into farmer, tenant, estate, contract grower and industry management plans
  • An investigation of the links between soil lab tests and proxy measures
  • An investigation as to the impact of soil carbon and management on business profitability and input costs

Progress so far

Sampling is underway for the first year, with about 60% of the farms having been sampled. Some of the images below show some of the lovely soils (and worms) that have been uncovered so far.

Check back to the website soon where there will be more information about the tests that we are using.

I know someone else who is keen to take part, how can they join up?

This project is being funded by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, and we have managed to squeeze the already small budget to work with 20 farms. However if you have someone who would like to take part and join the national monitoring network, we are able to take soil samples using the verified methodology and include them in the project, however the soil sampling will need to be funded by the farm, and will cost £30 per field. If anyone is interested, please let Becky know.