Accurately determining how carbon is being used – and lost as carbon dioxide – across the farm can provide insights that enable better management, and ultimately support climate neutrality.
There are a lot of unknowns, a major one being how to measure the baseline – but for landowners it offers the promise of alternative revenue streams, and for producers, healthier soils and a reduction of inputs.
Recent research has shown that soils rich in carbon to feed the microbes are more efficient in making nutrients more available to crops, thus reducing the fertiliser requirements and increasing water retention. Dyson Farming has been reporting on its carbon for three years, and technical agronomist Ed Ford will be talking about this in the Sofa Session at REAP.
Creating a dialogue around carbon management
Ahead of this, Agri-TechE is inviting farmers and growers attending REAP to join a ‘Carbon Conversation’ the evening before for a round-table discussion about this much hyped subject.
The evening session, sponsored by Savills, will provide an opportunity to hear from a number of people working in this area including farmers who have started to measure carbon usage on their farms and beginning to make interventions.
Emily Norton, Head of Rural Research at Savills says: “Farmers urgently need a better understanding of how their operations will be expected to decarbonise by supply chains and banks, what carbon assets may be available to sell as an alternative source of revenue, and how their farms will be impacted by these changing market dynamics.
“It is critical to ensure that farmers lead this conversation, both to take ownership of the problems and to engage with the market opportunities.
Belinda Clarke agrees, she says: “The aim is to have a proper dialogue and hear not just the upside but also the uncertainties and frustrations of farmers.
“This will help capture where there are information gaps and also about the practical hurdles. The outputs of this will be the voice of the farmers about what they still need to know before they take the plunge.”
The round-table discussion will cover the:
- current status around carbon management and how changing agricultural policy and business trends could support and enable new opportunities around carbon.
- technology, innovation and knowledge involved in measuring soil carbon, understanding how farming practices alter soil carbon stocks, and verifying carbon sequestration from the atmosphere.
- business models currently operating, as well as the risks and hazards associated with these and what to look out for when you’re considering diversifying into carbon.
There will also be real case studies from farm businesses that are already making the transition to carbon sensitive farming – and the lessons they’ve learnt along the way.
The outputs and action points will be captured in a white paper to present a farmer-centric action plan.
Speakers will include:
Niall Mottram, Head of Industrial & Energy at Cambridge Consultants, leaders in breakthrough innovation. Niall has been working on improving carbon capture in the field.
Hugh Martineau, Head of Sustainability at Map of Ag. Hugh has been working with Government departments and private sector clients to review, analyse and develop strategies to address environmental impacts in farming systems.
Nick Duncan, Business Development Lead at Bayer Crop Science. Nick is responsible for identifying and developing new business opportunities to complement the existing crop protection and seeds portfolio.
Antony Yousefian, Co-founder of Bx, a Climate-AgTech company that is seeking to redefine how fruit is produced and sold globally. It is focused on improving carbon capture to reduce climate change whilst increasing fruit yield and nutritional quality.
Jon Dearsley, Director at Savills Rural who a kindly sponsoring the Carbon Conversation.
Many of the technologies being discussed within the REAP conference are relevant to the Carbon Conversation. Niall Mottram comments that he is looking forward to continuing the dialogue:
“Agriculture is the only industry in the world with the potential to be carbon negative and offers a tantalising possibility of new revenue for farmers. But to realise the full potential, we need traceability regarding regenerative agriculture practices, as well as combining modern techniques and data science in an economically viable way.
“I’m really looking forward to the REAP conference to hear more about this topic and how UK farmers can help society move down the road to net zero.”
Note: To be invited to the Carbon Conversation you need to be registered to attend REAP.
REAP 2021: Changing Time(s) for Agriculture – 10th November 2021
Imagine a world where agriculture is not constrained by time. The ability to manage and manipulate time is increasing and REAP 2021 will explore the advances in technology and breakthroughs in science that is making this possible.
REAP brings together people from across the agri-tech ecosystem who believe that innovation is the engine for change. The conference bridges the gap between producer needs and technology solutions and showcases exciting agri-tech start-ups.