Agtech company FarmLab was successful in three National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge Grants totalling $8.4 million to reduce the cost of soil carbon measurement.
The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy announced on Friday the award of eight successful grant projects under the National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge, aimed at reducing the cost of soil carbon measurement for farmers looking to access carbon offset markets. Australian Agtech company FarmLab were successful in three of the grants, totalling $8.4 million, along with fellow participants University of Queensland, University of Western Australia, Perennial and Axistech.
FarmLab, the ‘Uber’ for soil sampling, gives farmers and their consultants a software platform to measure and analyse soil by connecting them with soil testing laboratories, soil samplers and remotely sensed data providers. FarmLab’s infrastructure has been instrumental in providing a low cost and scaleable solution for the collection of environmental data, and has been sort out by many in the industry to support with data collection and analysis whilst involving local, regional business to do so.
“Australia is one of the world leaders when it comes to measuring soil carbon in Agriculture, and these grants are just another sign that we continue to lead the way in this industry.” said FarmLab CEO Sam Duncan.
“Agricultural soil has been known for some time as a pathway to store carbon and mitigate global emissions, and FarmLab have been at the forefront of developing software and infrastructure to collect and measure it.”Sam Duncan
Traditionally, a significant portion of the cost involved in measuring soil carbon has been due to the need to physically measure it. Usually a soil sampler must physically collect a soil sample from a designated site – some farms require over 100 individual sites to be sampled. This includes associated costs for not just labour, but laboratory testing as well. It’s not unusual for costs to reach $20 per hectare, which over a standard project size of 1,000ha, is significant for the farmer.
To reduce the cost of measurement, these grants have been designed to reduce the amount and cost of sampling through better estimation of soil carbon using satellite imagery, or advanced modelling techniques that FarmLab is pioneering with partners in the industry. Whilst soil sampling may still be required, a reduction in sampling will bring down overall project costs and help many more farmers gain access to carbon measurement.
About the National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge
The National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge was developed by the Australian government as a way to reduce the cost of soil carbon measurement, to stimulate more farmers to sequester carbon through soils. More information on the grants can be found at https://minister.dcceew.gov.au/bowen/media-releases/joint-media-release-technology-helping-farmers-store-carbon-boosted-albanese-government