Making money off compost

Farmers can make money off compost

Smart Farmer News
RESULTS: The benefits of using compost on pastures are evident with the left hand paddock having had an application while the right hand paddock has not.

RESULTS: The benefits of using compost on pastures are evident with the left hand paddock having had an application while the right hand paddock has not.

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There is an opportunity for farmers using compost to improve soil health to make money with MRA Consulting creating webinars to help them cash in.

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There is an opportunity for farmers using compost to improve soil health to make money with MRA Consulting creating webinars to help them cash in.

MRA's Virginia Brunton outlinines how compost using farmers can earn revenue through the Measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural systems Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) method.

Australian soils are particularly poor in general plant nutrients and organic matter, with undisturbed soils only having about five percent organic matter.

With cultivation and farming, organic matter decreases and soils become less fertile.

Many areas of farming land, both under pasture and cropping lands have less than two percent organic matter.

At the same time carbon in the atmosphere, in the form of carbon dioxide, contributes to global warming.

Along with most countries around the world, Australia has recognised the anthropogenic impact on our climate and has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Applying compost is a win-win method for increasing the amount of organic matter retained in the soil.

It is a win for the environment and it is a win for the soil and farmers.

Compost works on all three aspects of soil fertility:

  • fertiliser (contains essential plant nutrients);
  • soil conditioner (improves the physical structure of soil); and
  • biological stimulant (provides valuable living microorganisms and organic matter that soil microbes feed upon).

As such, compost increases soil organic matter, benefits soil health and productivity in complex ways and, to a large extent, can substitute artificial fertilisers and soil conditioners saving money for farmers in the process.

Farmers applying compost to land can also earn carbon credits (and ultimately cash) through the ERF.

The new Measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural systems method means farmers using compost to improve soil fertility can earn Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) which they can sell for cash.

The webinars cover:

  • benefits of compost for farming soils;
  • soil carbon sequestration and the ERF - how does it work?;
  • pathways to the ERF - how to get involved;
  • ongoing management and reporting - what is needed?;
  • other benefits, including economic, environmental and social.

Additional information is provided in dedicated fact sheets - Compost For Carbon Cropping fact sheet and Pastures fact sheet.

The project is funded by the NSW government's Waste Less Recycle More fund.

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