Carbon Agriculture: The New Trend.

Felipe Cortines

Felipe Cortines

Friday, January 19, 2024

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In recent months, there's a term that is increasingly talked about: Carbon Agriculture.

What is Carbon Agriculture? 

Carbon Agriculture is not about planting carbon seeds and growing them to later harvest carbon. Instead, it is the traditional agriculture where different management techniques are employed to increase the organic carbon content of the soil, aiming for its persistence. The focus is on keeping carbon in the soil, not harvesting it.

What are the techniques of Carbon Agriculture?

The techniques serve two fundamental purposes. First, increasing the content of plant material added to the soil, making it a part of the organic carbon of the soil. This can be achieved in two ways: leaving crop residues in the field instead of baling them, or planting cover crops that are not harvested but incorporated into the soil between two main crops.

Secondly, preventing the release of carbon from the soil in the form of CO2, which occurs through the oxidation of organic matter when tilling the land. This is done using no-till farming, where seeds are planted without tilling the soil directly onto the residues of the previous crop or with minimal tillage, reducing both the frequency and depth of cultivation.

These techniques are virtually the same as those used in conservation agriculture.

What are the benefits of Carbon Agriculture?

The primary benefit of Carbon Agriculture is soil improvement, the main asset for farmers. The increase in organic matter leads to improved soil structure, increased water retention capacity, enhanced fertility, and nutrient availability. 

This helps reduce soil losses due to erosion, a significant issue for farmers as lost soil is not easily recovered, and the most fertile soil fraction is often lost.

Additionally, there is the opportunity to monetize this through carbon credits. These credits transform the increase in organic matter in the soil into CO2 equivalents, for which credits are awarded.

Is it more profitable to cultivate carbon than anything else?

No, carbon cannot compete with the profitability of any crop, and one cannot stop producing a crop to "cultivate" carbon. However, it can be an ideal monetary complement, tied to a significant source of agronomic benefits.

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Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

Project is financed by the Republic of Estonia

The project was funded by the Entrepreneurs Support Program for Applied Research and Product Development (RUP).

Project name:

Software Technology and Applications Competence Centre (STACC)

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