REAP Conference 2024 registration is open
Book tickets, feature in the technology exhibition or apply for a REAP bursary - available for farmers and those in full-time agriculture-related study

Ecometric carbon credits validated by Regen Network

Member News
Ecometric Ltd Ecometric Ltd
The views expressed in this Member News article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent those of Agri-TechE.

Increasing the amount of organic carbon in agricultural soil is vital to its health and resilience. There are other benefits too as being able to provide evidence that carbon levels are increasing can bring a financial return. Ecometric, provides accurate, verifiable measurement of soil organic carbon and its recently been allocated its own Credit Class on the Regen Network.

David Wright, CEO of Ecometric, explains what Soil Organic Carbon is, how it is stored and how it can be used as a carbon credit.

David Wright, CEO of Ecometric
David Wright, CEO of Ecometric

SOC is ultimately the product of photosynthesis, which is where plants use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide and water into starch stored in the biomass and oxygen is released.

By maximising the amount and duration of green cover over a growing season, the amount of atmospheric CO2 removed is maximised, some of which ends up in the soil as decaying organic matter and root exudates, feeding the soil biome.

SOC is made up of a complex matrix of these components, varying in size, turnover time and composition but each contributing to the overall soil health and structure.

Regenerative farming minimises the disruption of the soil and maximises coverage of the soil at all times. These two actions reduce the amount of ‘oxidation’ or release of carbon dioxide to the air and increases the annual photosynthetic activity, this results in successive carbon ‘capture’ during each growing season. This process is called carbon sequestration.

Ecometric has been monitoring SOC across a diversity of soils. It currently has over 50 multi-year carbon projects in operation in 8 countries. It is benchmarking results across all projects to rank performance and optimise evidence based management decisions.

This data covers over 20,000ha and the benchmarking process clearly identifies which soil type and practice combinations achieve the lowest carbon footprint and highest sequestration rates, while maximising Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) and yield.

Ecometric provides a measurement, reporting, and verification service to accurately quantify soil organic carbon. It combines infield sampling and laboratory analysis with spectral data from satellite imagery, and uses ground-breaking AI technology to reduce the amount of sampling required.

Currently, the only way of directly measuring soil organic carbon is the DUMAS laboratory test analysis. This standardised method enables the comparison of different soils from different locations.

The soil sampling must also be carefully designed to include a high enough density and number to capture the full range of SOC values in the sampled field or area. This is to make sure the DUMAS results are representative and the estimation of total SOC stock is as accurate as possible. So, the same sample locations and laboratory should be used for each cycle.

Ecometric carries out dense soil sampling on each monitoring cycle, while also recording the reflected light spectra (spectral sampling) to increase total sample numbers. The powerful AI system then combines these two sample types to increase the accuracy of field level SOC stock quantification over soil sampling alone.

The ecometric methodology has been independently peer reviewed.

Regen farming

Independent scientific scrutiny is a vital integrity protection within the voluntary carbon markets (VCM) to avoid self declared accuracy and ensure rigorous third party review and verification.

Ecometric has now completed the 4-stage US Carbon Registry Regen Network peer review process and has been allocated its own Credit Class on the Regen Registry.

Ultimately Ecometric data is used for:

  • Evidence based practice change
  • Highly accurate carbon footprint reporting
  • Carbon credit issue

The peer review accreditation and governance process imposed by the Regen Registry and independent verifiers builds trust. So, Ecometric’s accreditation combined with Regen Networks governance meets the highest buyer integrity requirements and will guarantee farmers a higher price for credits.

The Ecometric system can be used to quantify and evidence farm businesses that have achieved a climate positive position where more carbon is being sequestered than emitted during each production cycle.

To calculate this requires a highly accurate carbon balance achieved by deducting annual GHG emissions from annual SOC gains, and only issuing credits for a positive surplus which proves that more carbon has been added to the soil than emitted in growing the crop.

Ecometric is just completing its second year of carbon credit trades evidencing the annual carbon revenue potential as a replacement for BPS. This is complementary to SFI which rewards regenerative practice adoption and optimisation, which in turn increases the sequestration potential and future carbon revenue generation.

Demand for high integrity, measured, carbon dioxide removal credits is increasing, and this has driven Ecometric credit price up by 40% in the last 12-months.

This is forecast to continue into the next decade as businesses look for high integrity credits to balance out the surplus emissions that they have been unable to remove from their own supply chains and hit net-zero commitments.

With depleted SOC levels of UK soils and the wider use of regen practices to increase stocks the opportunity to use the Ecometric methodology to quantify the gains creates a significant carbon revenue opportunity for UK agriculture.