What Are the Methods of Carbon Farming?

Khory Hancock

December 20, 2022

Khory Hancock

Carbon farming is an emerging field that involves several different techniques. These include soil amendments, no-till farming, and forest management practices.

Soil amendments

Soil amendments are used to improve the properties of the soil. They are typically derived from animal waste but can also include regionally appropriate carbon-based materials. They may store carbon, increase soil organic matter, enhance infiltration, and promote biological activity. In addition to improving the soil quality, they can reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers.

Several experiments are being carried out on farmlands to test the potential of soil amendments. These studies will contribute to the growing scientific knowledge on carbon farming.

These tests include investigating how to repeat amendment application affects the decomposition rate. They also examine how adding rock dust and other amendments can boost carbon sequestration. This research can make a big difference in meeting the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

One of the most interesting findings was how the total C content of each amendment affected the amount of C applied. The highest total C percentage amendment, peat, resulted in the highest mass of C applied.

No-till farming

No-till carbon farming has gained prominence as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preventing climate change. In addition to saving fuel, no-till practices also protect water quality.

No-till farming reduces soil erosion by more than 80 percent. No-till can improve soil health when used with other regenerative and sustainable practices.

Despite no-till benefits, the practice has its cons. It can be expensive and may not permanently store carbon in the soil. Nevertheless, no-till agriculture is growing across the country.

One of the major challenges for no-till farmers is weed control. Farmers tend to spray their crops with herbicides to prevent weeds from growing out of control. However, many weeds have become resistant to these chemicals, referred to as “superweeds.”

Some experts have questioned the long-term viability of no-till as a means of storing carbon. A recent study in the UK analyzed the effects of no-till and cover crops over time. It found that no-till and cover crop practices work together to slow down carbon decomposition.

Forest management practices

When it comes to forest management practices in carbon farming, there are numerous options. One approach is to avoid deforestation altogether. Another is to manage for growth actively. This is accomplished by determining the optimal age distribution in forest land.

A recent study analyzed the impact of various management methods on the carbon sequestration of 130 forest plots in South Carolina. The results showed that several stands increased their carbon stocks over 100 years. The Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) model was used to project these changes.

For example, management practices in the FVS model can increase a stand’s average carbon sequestration by a factor of two. However, this does not account for unintended fire. The model also does not account for the carbon emissions associated with transportation and management operations. The net amount of carbon released depends on future land use and the destination of wood products.

The FVS model can be a powerful tool, but it may need to accurately reflect the forest’s response to management. Therefore, verification is vital to accurate carbon sequestration rates.

Carbon-credit markets

The voluntary carbon market has been growing and expanding rapidly. The growth is fueled by the desire to meet international climate goals and corporate net-zero targets. But it still faces several challenges.

For instance, it takes a lot of work to verify the quality of the carbon credits. They’re highly heterogeneous, creating opportunities for fraud and errors. It’s also difficult to measure how much carbon is sequestered by agricultural soil.

While the government has created some standards for verifying the credits, they’re only sometimes universal. It would help to establish a common taxonomy. That way, buyers and sellers could better understand what attributes a credit should have.

Some factors that affect the price of credit include the type of project, the project’s geography, the time to deliver the credit, the volume of trades on a given day, and the vintage.

The demand for carbon credits is unpredictable. This makes it difficult to predict how many credits will be available in the future.