Authors: Harm van Rees1 and Michael Moodie2
Research Team: Jeff Baldock3
1Cropfacts P/L, 2Mallee Sustainable Farming, 3CSIRO
Funded By: GRDC CRF00002
Project Title: Improved management of soil organic matter and sustainable cropping
Peer Review: Jeff Baldock (CSIRO)
Key Words: organic matter, continuous cropping
- 8 trial sites were established across SE Australia to investigate whether soil carbon levels can be increased in No-Till farming practices by adding nutrients to aid the biological breakdown of stubble and stabilise carbon in soil organic matter.
- After 3 and 5 years of treatments no increase in soil carbon could be determined in any of the trials.
- We demonstrated that soil carbon is unlikely to increase with current farming practices, however No-Till and stubble retention protects the soil from wind and water erosion which is a major pathway for loss of organic carbon. Over the longer time-frame, stubble retention systems may be able to slow the rate of carbon loss.