The work carried out on a small project on a very small budget was included in the presentations at the Soil Organic Matter Symposium held recently at Rothamsted http://www.som2017.org/ which was attended by over 400 people from 44 different countries.
Westcountry Rivers Trust & researchers from Rothamsted collaborated with the Tamar Valley Organic Group (+B) of farmers as part of the Tamar Catchment Based Approach to sample and evaluate soils across different management regimes to quantify and qualify Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) levels, to understand differences and the potential to increase those stocks. Good soil health provides many other ecosystem service benefits besides supporting on-farm production such as increased infiltration to reduce run-off soil loss or flood risk, filtration for water quality, biodiversity in terrestrial and receiving aquatic systems etc.
One of the ambitions from the work was to develop a practical protocol which is able to be replicated and used amongst the farming community for wider use and to provide understanding. Ultimately this can inform the debate on land management choices, potential diversifications or alternative markets – such as Carbon offsetting and sequestering. With a number of new projects just starting we intend to expand the current SOC dataset to build on the evidence and investigate future options.