The McGowan Government will deliver $3.3 million to 10 innovative carbon farming projects to help unlock the potential for Western Australian agriculture to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration.
The pioneering Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program supports WA’s agriculture sector to respond to global market forces and adapt farming systems to incorporate carbon sequestration, while creating opportunities to participate in the carbon market and improve long term business viability.
Two soil carbon and revegetation projects in the North Midlands are among the first to be supported by the McGowan Government’s Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program.
Weelhamby Farm, near Perenjori, will implement an integrated biodiversity revegetation project and a pasture rejuvenation project with a $738,600 funding boost from the State.
The projects will improve soil carbon and agricultural productivity, while enhancing wildlife corridors, in exchange for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCU).
The property will become a public demonstration farm, hosting field days and sharing updates and economic results to examine how best to integrate carbon farming with conventional farming practices.
A further four carbon projects in the South-West, Great Southern and Eastern Wheatbelt will share in the Round One funds, covering more than 7,000 hectares and removing a projected 140,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next decade.
These projects will deliver various co-benefits, including improved biodiversity and soil health, increased agricultural productivity, salinity mitigation, and Aboriginal cultural, employment and business opportunities.
To support soil carbon opportunities, prospective Round One soil carbon projects that have not yet been approved under the program will be offered $10,000 vouchers to develop detailed land management strategies to help demonstrate project feasibility.
The program’s Future Carbon initiative will support four pilot research projects to examine carbon sequestration methods and enhance the understanding of activities that capture carbon to encourage the wide-scale adoption of carbon farming practices.
The Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soils will measure crop sequences and new technologies to improve carbon accumulation, the Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management group will assess the potential of saltbush to sequester carbon and the Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee will determine the viability of converting green and solid waste into biochar.
The University of WA’s project will investigate the potential to combine perennial and annual pasture species, along with biological amendments and cell grazing, to increase soil carbon in the low to medium rainfall zone of the Wheatbelt.
Regional workshops for farmers and rural businesses to better understand carbon farming opportunities and prepare submissions for Round Two of the program will be held in coming months.
A full list of Round One ACCU Plus projects and more information about the Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program is available at https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/CF-LRP
As stated by Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
“Our farmers have a huge opportunity to play an important role in the global fight against climate change, while at the same time boosting their business profitability.
“Through our program we are supporting farmers to explore how carbon farming can future-proof their businesses: improving productivity and profitability, diversifying enterprises, spreading risk and providing a new income stream.
“We will see real landscape and business transformations from this first round of funding, helping to pave the way for other farmers to trial these opportunities.
“This program is just one of several initiatives supporting the adoption of land restoration practices in WA, alongside the Southern Rangelands Revitalisation Pilot Project, the new WA Soil Health Strategy and the Soil Systems Master Classes.”
|The Trustee for the Weelhamby Unit Trust||Adoption of new management practices, including a three-year pasture to one-year cropping rotation, with pulse grazing of pastures by sheep. These practices will increase soil microbial and fungal activity, minimise water run-off and reduce loss of topsoil to boost carbon in the soil.||Mid-West||$393,100|
|The Trustee for the Weelhamby Unit Trust||To demonstrate that carbon farming can complement traditional agricultural activities. The project will engage with traditional owners to revegetate the 250ha property with biodiverse plantings to create extensive wildlife corridors and stock shelter areas alongside carbon sequestration.||Mid-West||$345,500|
|Mitsui E&P Australia Pty Ltd||Implementing year-round rotational grazing and cropping practices to balance stock numbers against optimum ground cover, alongside the application of trace elements and liquid calcium to optimise soil carbon.||Wheatbelt||$200,000|
|Native Carbon 2 Pty Ltd||Direct seeding and hand planting to link remnant vegetation along the Gordon River. The restoration of degraded farming land will sequester carbon, while tackling salinity, addressing waterlogging and providing business opportunities for traditional owners.||Great Southern||$540,000|
|Cullen Wines (Australia) Pty Ltd||Introducing mid-autumn and late spring sowing of multi-species cover crops to maximise soil biological activity and encourage plant competition for later use in high density, short duration grazing methods to build soil organic carbon.||South-West||$36,000|
|Nannup Truffle Farm||Planting 10,500 local native species and boosting soil carbon by improving historical land management practices, addressing eutrophication (excessive nutrients) of on-farm water sources and conducting water-quality analysis to quantify the positive benefit of revegetation activities on horticultural productivity.||South-West||$50,000|
Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program – Future Carbon Round One projects:
|Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management Incorporated||Assessing the potential of Saltbush to Sequester Carbon in the South-West – scope the viability of saltbush to sequester carbon and provide data to make the case for the development of a new Emissions Reduction Fund methodology||Wheatbelt||$616,264|
|Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee Inc||Green waste to net zero – determine the viability of converting the Shire of Denmark’s green waste and compostable municipal solid waste to biochar to benefit agricultural production in the region.||Great Southern||$52,914|
|CRC for High Performance Soils||Using living plant systems and modern farming methods to sequester soil organic carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve soil fertility – trial, measure and demonstrate crop sequencing and new technologies that sequester organic carbon, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and improve soil fertility in crop production systems that have traditionally struggled to accumulate organic carbon.||Multiple sites across the South-West Agricultural Region||$600,000|
|The University of Western Australia||Grazing into the future for soil carbon sequestration and building soil health with pasture biodiversity management – investigate and document the potential to combine perennial and annual pastures in the medium to low rainfall zone to increase soil carbon sequestration, with co-benefits of improved soil health, increased biodiversity and resilience. Practices will be augmented using soil biological amendments and cell grazing.||Wheatbelt||$371,634|
Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program – ACCU Plus Round One voucher recipients:
|The Trustee for the Concordia Trust||Harmony Farms Carbon Sequestration Soil Program||Wheatbelt|
|BJ, GI & WE Savage & The G & W Savage Family Trust||Walyurin||Wheatbelt|
|KJ Barrett & LM Barrett & SJ Barrett||Wellwood Farms||Great Southern|
|D & M Mackie Pty Ltd||Undanooka Soil Carbon Project||Wheatbelt|
|Jaelant Pty Ltd||Jilakin Downs carbon farming project||Wheatbelt|
|The Trustee for AC & CA Jenkins Family Trust||The Springs Soil Carbon Project||Great Southern|
|The Trustee for Vambelle Family Trust||Building soil with livestock-high intensity grazing in Margaret River.||South-West|