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Carbon credits from fertilizer management

CottonCotton farmers could soon add value to their nitrogen fertilizer management by earning income in a similar process to graziers under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) that recently passed through the Senate.

Emissions reduction methods set out the rules for estimating emissions reductions from different activities, and ensure that emissions reductions are both real and additional to business as usual operations. Two methods are likely to pique interest in the fertilizer space as they pertain to soil and fertilizer management.

Sequestering carbon in soils in grazing systems

A current method under which graziers can earn an income stream by selling Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) by taking steps like:
● converting from continuous cropping to pasture
● undertaking pasture cropping
● managing pasture by implementing or changing pasture irrigation, applying organic or synthetic fertilizer to pastures, or rejuvenating pastures, including by seeding
● managing grazing by changing stocking rates or altering the timing, duration, and intensity of grazing.

Fertilizer use efficiency in irrigated cotton

A draft method in which abatement is measured against a project-level baseline and allows crediting for continuous improvement in nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency relative to the baseline.

Nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency is measured as the ratio of lint yield to nitrogen fertilizer applied (kg lint yield per kg N). An increase in nitrogen fertilizer use efficiency equates to a decrease in emissions intensity from synthetic fertilizer use in irrigated cotton. ACCUs for emissions reductions can be generated by reducing fertilizer use while maintaining or increasing yield, or by increasing yield without increasing in fertilizer use.

The Fertcare Carbon Farming Extension Project will be delivering policy and science information about these ERF methods in 2015, targeting existing Fertcare participants who provide detailed soil and plant nutrition advice to farmers (Level C). It is expected that farm advisors and consultants who have not previously been involved with Fertcare will also participate in project activities, as will some Fertcare participants providing general advice to farmers (Level B).

Information will be offered through face-to-face workshops and online content. Information will be tailored to broadacre cropping, dairy pasture, sugarcane and horticulture. The main content includes:

● Emission Reduction Fund and overview of relevant method (common to all segments)
● Emissions from soils (common to all segments)
● Segment specific nitrous oxide emissions management (industry segment specific)
● Carbon sequestration (common to all segments)

For more information contact Jeff Kraak M: 0407 663535 E: jeff.kraak@fertilizer.org.au

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