Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)

Big bucks from carbon sequestration - fact or fiction?

With carbon credits in the news and Australia developing policies to meet its Kyoto targets, many farmers are intrigued by soil carbon’s potential to not only boost soil productivity but put money in the bank by selling carbon credits.

But just how realistic is that goal?

Dr Jeff Baldock of CSIRO Land and Water, SA, will address this and other aspects of soil carbon in the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) supported WA Agribusiness Crop Updates at Burswood Entertainment Complex, February 24 and 25.

Crop Updates are co-ordinated by the Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) and Dr Baldock is being sponsored by the GRDC.

Dr Baldock will examine the functions of organic carbon and organic matter in soils, including its chemical, physical and biological properties. He will also discuss calculating changes in soil organic carbon content, including using simulation models to predict the outcomes of management practices on soil carbon content.

The implications of genetically modified (GM) herbicide-tolerant crops in weed management is another hot topic on the agenda for Crop Updates.

Nuffield Scholarship winner Murray Scholz, a farmer from the Eastern Riverina in NSW who recently travelled the world looking at weed management and the potential of herbicide tolerant genetically modified crops, will address the regional Crop Updates at Hyden (March 10), Corrigin (March 11), Narrogin (March 12) and Katanning (March 13).

“Reaping the benefits of the new technology will depend on learning the lessons from the GM experience of the US and Canada,” Mr Scholz said.

“The North American experience shows it’s essential that sound agronomic practices are followed,” he said.

Mr Scholz uses stewardship principles and integrated weed management strategies on his own farm.

Crop Updates will again showcase the latest research and development information in grain production and marketing, while providing an unparalelled opportunity to network with leading players in the grain industry, according to DAFWA’s Greg Shea.

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