Study fo­cuses on soil health

Great Southern Herald - - News -

A Univer­sity of Western Aus­tralia study based in Wa­gin could lead to im­proved pas­ture pro­duc­tions and soil health for South West farm­ers.

A study pub­lished by sci­en­tists from UWA jointly with farm­ers is one of the first to ad­dress the role of tem­per­ate peren­nial grass pas­tures in con­tribut­ing to soil or­ganic car­bon in south-western Aus­tralia.

Pro­fes­sor Lynette Ab­bott said tem­per­ate peren­nial grass pas­tures are cur­rently an un­com­mon choice in this re­gion but have the po­ten­tial for fu­ture devel­op­ment.

“This farm­ing sys­tem is un­usual and novel for the re­gion, and land man­agers Caro­line and Rob Rex are ac­knowl­edged as early adopters and in­no­va­tors,” Prof Ab­bott said.

“They are en­gaged in a con­stant process of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and adap­tive man­age­ment to trial prac­tices that will im­prove peren­nial pas­ture pro­duc­tion and soil health.”

She said although of­fi­cially cred­ited car­bon farm­ing projects have had lim­ited adop­tion in Aus­tralia, there are likely to be many in­no­va­tive farm­ers en­gaged in farm­ing prac­tices that ac­tively se­quester car­bon, not cap­tured by na­tional car­bon ac­count­ing frame­works.

“For in­di­vid­ual farm­ers, the co-ben­e­fits of car­bon farm­ing such as im­proved soil health and im­proved pas­ture pro­duc­tion are likely to be more im­por­tant driv­ers of new prac­tices than fi­nan­cial com­pen­sa­tion for car­bon cred­its,” Prof Ab­bott said.

“For in­for­ma­tion on soil or­ganic car­bon to be used by farm­ers, it must be salient to farm­ing goals which are un­likely to cen­tre on car­bon, but rather on the farm­ing sys­tem, soil health, or co-ben­e­fits of soil car­bon.”

Pic­ture: UWA

Land man­ager Rob and Caro­line Rex.

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