AGRICULTURAL analysis company NRM has launched a new CarbonCheck service for farmers and their advisors across the UK. It enables growers and land managers to measure, monitor and benchmark the carbon levels in their soils, enabling them to assess progress on their carbon journey.
Interest in soil carbon storage and sequestration is set to increase over the coming months. The government has committed to a reduction in carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Land acts as a huge carbon sink, with soil holding up to three times more carbon than the atmosphere.
NRM is part of the Cawood Scientific Group, chaired by Lord Don Curry, who believes farmers will be required to understand the carbon storage capacity of their fields in future. He said: “The ability to accurately measure and monitor soil carbon will be essential for any future income scheme relying on carbon sequestration. Even now, farmers who are committed to sustainable farming practices should be measuring the impact of their activities and regular CarbonCheck testing will allow them to do that.”
The CarbonCheck service was developed following consultation with industry experts, agronomists and government advisors. It combines results from a number of different analyses to present carbon stock and organic carbon in tonnes per hectare. The CarbonCheck report includes a full range of soil tests, including organic matter, C:N ratio, total nitrogen, total carbon, inorganic carbon, carbonate classification and bulk density. There is also an add-on option for Active Carbon for growers working to improve soil health. This test measures the readily available portion of soil carbon that provides a food source for soil microbes and which is therefore considered a key soil health indicator. Regular measurement of active carbon will highlight the impact of different soil management techniques quickly and easily.
Business Development Manager for NRM, Rory Geldard, said he is seeing more attention being paid to carbon measurement recently. He said: “We work with the majority of agronomy and farm consultancy providers and there has been a lot of interest in this type of analysis over the last few months. The new Environmental Land Management scheme is being rolled out now and farmers are already looking at how the measurement of carbon can help demonstrate the improvements being made by changes in farming practices. We are recommending that growers benchmark their fields now and then repeat the tests annually to monitor progress.”