Enabling any Farmer, anywhere to work their land with precision
Farmers today are becoming more aware of the need to build carbon into their soils to enhance their farming operations. Peats are working with landowners who are striving to meet a soil carbon target. Research suggests soils need at least 4-5% organic carbon to function as a healthy ‘living’ soil, with a thriving soil biology that boosts nutrient availability and plant growth. On many Australian soils it is hard to build and maintain such levels under dry-land cropping systems. It is estimated that around 75-100 tonnes of compost per hectare would be needed to directly increase soil carbon by 1%, but compost also improves the fertility and capacity of soils to grow and retain carbon in plant matter. The indirect soil carbon benefit of compost use can be at least as great as the carbon ‘in’ the compost. With other land management practices such as stubble retention, and use of green manures and cover crops, applying compost at rates of as low as 10-20 tonnes per hectare every few years will help to build and maintain healthy soil carbon. Because carbon in composts is slower to degrade, repeated compost application result in on-going increases in soil carbon if soils are well managed. On very low carbon soils, higher rates (e.g. 30-40 tonnes per hectare) of compost might be used initially combined with other practices to build and retain soil carbon, followed by lower rates of compost to maintain healthy soil carbon levels over time.
The new ERF methodology should help landowners to see the benefit of compost, and allows Peats to tailor products to farmers working to improve soil carbon and health.