New soil carbon credit issuance becomes Australia’s largest ever with 94,666 ACCUs

Beef Central, 26/09/2023

Carly and Grant Burnham have become the latest to be issued soil carbon credits, with a record 94,666 Australian Carbon Credit Units. Photo: supplied

NORTH Burnett graziers, Carly and Grant Burnham, were today awarded 94,666 Australian Carbon Credit Units by the national Clean Energy Regulator – the largest allocation for an individual soil carbon farming project in Australia to date.

The longstanding regenerative farmers commenced the project in 2016 over 5,275 hectares of their property Bonnie Doone in partnership with leading soil carbon farming advisor CarbonLink.

Bonnie Doone has become the seventh soil carbon project to be issued ACCUs since the scheme began eight-years-ago and the third large-scale issuance overseen by CarbonLink – with two projects issued a combined 151,312 ACCUs in June.

Soil carbon has been slow to develop with only one project issued credits in the first seven years of existence and a review of the framework underpinning the carbon market in that time. But the credits have started to flow this year, with six projects issued ACCUs and a total of 254,913 ACCUs derived from sequestering carbon in soils now showing on the Emissions Reduction Fund register.

Many in the industry are forecasting soil carbon to become a major source of ACCUs in the next decade.

The Bonnie Doone project

The Bonnie Doone soil carbon project made news at last year’s RCS conference where the early results of the project were publicised – estimating it was drawing down 50kg of carbon per 1kg of beef.

Notwithstanding the seasonal challenges of dry weather and fluctuating cattle prices, extensive testing and auditing of Bonnie Doone demonstrated the Burnhams’ adoption of new land management practices resulted in the equivalent of 126,222 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions being sequestered into their soils over the five-year reporting period.

Ms Burnham said the project showcased how soil carbon projects can be integrated seamlessly across varied and diverse landscapes and under varied conditions.

“During the first five years of our project we experienced three very dry years, and we were concerned this would have a negative impact on the soil carbon sequestration,” Mr Burnham said.

“However, by focusing on developing better grazing practices and improving ecological health, we were able to increase overall carbon stocks across the project area.

“That demonstrated to us that soil carbon sequestration at depth is a long-term process, and if you remain focussed on ecology and production, soil carbon comes as a result of this.”

In close partnership with CarbonLink, Carly and Grant implemented a series of land management practices and activities to improve Bonnie Doone’s soil conditions, including:

  • Subdivision of existing paddocks, increasing the total number from 30 to 60 paddocks
  • Shortened graze periods and increased average rest, promoting more even grazing
  • Installation of an additional 40 water points, reducing average distance to water from two kilometres down to 500 metres
  • Implementation of time-controlled grazing software.

New benchmark for Soil Carbon

CarbonLink chairman Dr Terry McCosker said the Burnhams’ Bonnie Doone project created a new Australian benchmark for soil carbon farming and would provide a great incentive for other landowners committed to positive climate action.

“The release of ACCUs for Bonnie Doone is a huge step toward a greener, more sustainable future for Australian primary producers and landowners,” Dr McCosker said.

“Carly and Grant have not only removed a substantial amount of CO2 from the atmosphere but their beef is carbon negative (climate positive) to the tune of 6.6t of CO2 buried for every tonne of livestock carried, after accounting for all emissions.

“The land management techniques used by Carly and Grant have added 47,000 tonnes of soil organic carbon to the project area. This equates to an additional 283,000 tonnes of water added to the capacity of the soil.

“It is proof that landowners who are committed to a tangible improvement in soil health can generate a diversified income stream while contributing to a healthier planet,” Dr McCosker said.

CarbonLink have now acted as the developer responsible for more than 95 per cent of all soil carbon credits issued to date in Australia.

Dr McCosker said CarbonLink is currently working with many prospective soil carbon producers, investigating the feasibility of projects in all States.

It has also committed to research and development for the soil carbon industry, currently engaging in various national scale projects investigating how soil carbon sampling costs can be reduced further.


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  1. Ross Groves, 27/09/2023

    All smoke and mirrors paid for by us the taxpayer and promoted by yet another climate change spruiker.
    500 metres between watering points, don’t the cattle have legs. PLEEASE

  2. Michael Vail, 26/09/2023

    A wonderful result! Congratulations!

    The soil-health, at-depth, is where it’s all at …

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