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Building Soil Carbon and Healthy Soils

Innovative beef producers in the Hunter Valley are improving the health of their soils with soil carbon trials.

The trials are testing soil carbon levels associated with specific land management activities, such as grazing management, fertiliser application and other soil ameliorants. The project has been made possible through funding from the Australian Government's Carbon Farming Initiative which supports farmers in building their soil carbon.

Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) and the Department of Primary Industries are providing support and advice to the farmers involved in the trials.

Steve Clarkson, LLS Officer, stated 'the aim of this soil carbon project is to trial techniques to improve farm productivity and ensure environmental sustainability through carbon capture.'

The results of these projects, and other soil carbon projects being undertaken in Australia, will enable primary producers, the community and government to understand the potential of grazing lands to store more carbon. Higher levels of soil carbon also help to retain soil moisture and maintain production during dry spells.

Steve Binnie, a beef cattle farmer near Singleton, has been trialling organic and inorganic fertilisers and grazing management techniques to improve his soil carbon.

'It's too early in the trial for soil testing but organic compost application is showing promising results. We received very little rain over the last few months but we are getting green shoots where organic fertilisers have been applied.'

Farmers involved in the project will share their experiences with other producers and land managers in a series of field days. The first field day is on Friday, 12 September at 1081 Summerhill Road, Vacy, NSW 2421. Soil carbon trials have been undertaken at this property and workshop attendees will be able to see some of the results.

Mr Clarkson added, 'Hunter LLS hopes that the successes of these trials will encourage other landholders to implement technologies and grazing management systems to increase carbon stored in their soil'.

Please register for the workshop at: https://hunterlls.wufoo.eu/forms/increasing-soil-carbon-for-healthy-soils-field-day/ or by phoning Hunter Local Land Services Muswellbrook Office on (02) 6542 4444.

Visit www.lls.nsw.gov.au/hunter for details of future workshops.

ENDS

Media contact: Hunter Local Land Services, Education Officer, Claire Hewitt

Phone: (02) 6542 4428 | Mobile: 0409 636 765