Sunday, May 20, 2012

Not enough time for action on the ground?

It may have been listed last in the priorities for the Government's Action On The Ground research program when it was launched last year, but soil carbon projects made up 40 of the 60 research trials announced this week. The balance of the projects sharing in $25m released for farmer-driven research focus on nitrogen emissions from soils, methane emissions from stock, a biochar and an algae project in round one of the program covering 2012 to 2015. Action on the Ground is designed to assist the on-farm trial and demonstration of practices and technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or increase carbon stored in soil. It is an ongoing program that will invest $99 million until 2017. It's to be hoped that the soil carbon projects get round two funding because three years is too short a period to demonstrate soil carbon from scratch. This was pointed out to me by a very senior soil science academic. The same problem faces the Soil Carbon Research Program which was launched in 2009 and is due to report next month. Nevertheless, it is an exciting time for sustainable agriculture.

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