World first technology developed in central Queensland that can measure carbon in soil has the potential to be a game changer in the beef industry.
That’s the view of Dr Terry McCosker, founder and executive chairman of Carbon Link, which earlier this week received a Federal Government grant worth almost $1 million to commercialise nine years of research into how carbon is measured in soil.
Carbon Link’s technologies are aimed improving the accuracy and scalability of measuring soil carbon.
The first commercial measurement of soil carbon has started at the Mclean family property in central Queensland.
“This project and others in the pipeline will contribute to delivering the 5.6 million tonnes of soil carbon abatement contracted in partnership with Corporate Carbon under the Emissions Reduction Fund,” Dr McCosker said.
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry said Carbon Link was an Australian pioneer in the measurement of soil carbon, which has benefits worldwide.
“Carbon Link is chaired by highly respected agricultural researcher Dr Terry McCosker from Yeppoon and has links all around the globe in the field of researching and developing ways to measure carbon rates in the soil,” Ms Landry said.
“The federal grant, of just under $1 million, comes under the Department for Industry, Innovation and Science and is aimed to help Australian companies commercialise their R&D – in the case of Carbon Link they have spent nine years on research.”
Ms Landry said the Carbon Link project allowed farmers around the world to look at ways to add carbon to their soil to improve growth, soil conditions, cropping and livestock output – while at the same time directly measuring the amount of carbon generated in the earth to be able to formally create carbon credits as part for Australia’s emission reduction target.
“This in effect creates another industry for farmers to trade carbon credits with other companies, because as some companies put carbon into the atmosphere, farmers are putting it back into the soil, and soil loves it,” Ms Landry said.
Without cost effective accurate scalable measurement techniques, it is problematic to fully involve all parts of the grazing and farming community in the opportunity to sell carbon credits from building soil carbon, Dr McCosker said.
“Building soil carbon is a win for every component of our ecosystem,” Dr McCosker said.
“Landowners win firstly by creating a second income stream and secondly through the environmental and production benefits associated with soil carbon.
“The environment wins because soil draws down carbon from the atmosphere and builds ecosystem services.
“The government wins by creating credits to offset Australia’s emission reduction targets and the consumer wins through food security and better quality food.”
Dr McCosker said Carbon Link had signed up five properties in the last four weeks, totalling around 30,000 hectares, most of which was in central Queensland.
Interest has also been expressed from landowners in NSW and Victoria.
Dr McCosker said the project had significant economic benefits for landowners.
“Over the last three years in central Queensland the average grazier has had a net profit of $41/hectare,” Dr McCosker said.
“If you add a carbon project and get one tonne of carbon per hectare that equates to a net profit of about $20/ha which is potentially 50 per cent increase on net profit.”
“We have found the addition of a legume can increase carbon sequestration at around four tonnes of carbon per hectare which equates to $100/ha profit.
“This has the potential to significantly change the profitability of beef enterprises.
“It’s timely to receive this grant from the Federal Government and recognition of the cost and time to bring a new R&D concept to fruition.
“This is the only support we have received in nine years with all progress to date being funded by shareholders.”