Explainer: Soil carbon projects for mixed farming systems

Sponsored Content, 03/06/2024

Select Carbon provides an overview of production focused, science-based soil carbon projects for mixed farming systems in Australia. 

Photo: Luke Newey, Select Carbon

Carbon Markets in Australia and The Soil Carbon Method.

In Australia, the carbon market is an established, legislated, and regulated market. The Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011 (the Act) is the legislation that underpins this voluntary carbon offsets scheme, known as the Australian Carbon Credit Unit Scheme or ‘ACCU Scheme’ (formerly the Emissions Reduction Fund).

A project must be registered to earn ACCUs and ACCUs can only be issued for the increase in soil carbon above the baseline measurement taken at the commencement of the project. Science and detailed agricultural experience should form the basis of a well-designed, high integrity Soil Carbon Project, that is why farmers and land managers partner with Select Carbon as their preferred experienced and skilled Carbon Service Provider.

An Australian Carbon Credit Unit or ‘ACCU’ is a carbon credit that represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) that has been stored or avoided by a project (1 t of soil carbon = 3.67 t CO2-e or 3.67 ACCUs). With Select Carbon, what you do with your ACCUs is your choice. ACCUs can be kept, used to offset your farm emissions or sold to private sector buyers or the government to generate income. You can earn ACCUs for increases in soil carbon in the 0-30 cm and in deeper soil layers. At Select Carbon we sample to 100 cm wherever possible.

Photo: Tyson Wicks, Select Carbon

Who is Select Carbon?

Select Carbon, part of Shell’s nature-based solutions business, is a specialist carbon farming company that has operated in Australia since 2010. Select Carbon empowers Australian farmers to adopt innovative Eligible Management Activities (EMAs) in a soil carbon project that make a difference, both to the environment and to their business bottom line.

Select Carbon is a regionally based Carbon Service Provider servicing mixed farming regions. Our experienced team has local knowledge along with soil, agronomic, microbial and GIS expertise to identify strategies that increase soil carbon for a given locality, soil type and farming system. We know all farming businesses are different and we work with you and your advisors to design soil carbon projects that are bespoke to meet your future productivity and soil carbon goals. The team, led by Dr Susan Orgill, collectively have decades of experience in farming systems, agronomy and soil carbon research.

Select Carbon is an end-to-end business which means we are a partner for the duration of the project. We design the project (with you and your advisors), register, manage, monitor and report changes in soil carbon so you can focus on what you do best- managing your farm business.

Our services include:

  • Assessing the commercial viability and eligibility of a Soil Carbon Project
  • Calculating Forward Abatement Estimates for a Soil Carbon Project
  • Soil carbon project design (where we work with you and your advisors), registration and reporting to the Clean Energy Regular (CER), independent audit management, sampling design and soil carbon stock calculations compliant with the Australian Government Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative – Estimation of Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration using Measurement and Models) Methodology Determination 2021(‘the Method’),
  • Soil carbon modelling to assess project performance and refine the land management strategy
  • Soil carbon project monitoring and review to ensure practices remain compliant and align with productivity goals and building soil carbon.
Designed for farmers. Backed by science.

We use proven peer-reviewed innovative science and technology to partner with farmers and pastoralists to develop, support and manage carbon farming projects across Australia – helping farmers maintain or increase production and profitability while improving landscape health by increasing soil carbon. Our team works with farmers and their advisors to design evidence-based projects that improve profitability, sustainability, and encourage participation in carbon markets while minimising risks.

The practices (or ‘EMAs’ as they are referred to in the Method) must be new or materially different, and they need to be implemented in the right place (consider soil type and climate), at the right time (in a system responsive to practice change) and for the right reasons (by focusing on soil health and productivity). At least one EMA must be implemented for a Soil Carbon Project to be eligible for registration with the Clean Energy Regulator (CER), and it must be new or materially different for that. There are that can be grouped into four key areas aimed at increasing biomass input to soil and reducing the loss of carbon from soil. The 13 EMAs can be grouped into four key areas: overcoming soil constraints, increasing pasture use or improving pasture function in farming systems, cultivation soil cover and stubble management and soil engineering and irrigation.

Our team at Select Carbon continue to be leaders in research, development and adoption of technologies that optimise carbon accumulation in soil while maintaining or increasing farm productivity. Our team will work with you and your advisor to identify new or materially different EMAs to improve the overall efficiency and resilience of your farming system. We build science and evidence-based Soil Carbon Projects that are compatible with your current and future farming goals and yield high integrity Australian Carbon Credit Units while supporting your farm productivity.

Get in touch

At Select Carbon, we believe that designed well, Soil Carbon Projects should be an ‘add-on’ not a ‘trade-off’ for farm productivity. Determining whether a soil carbon project suits you and your business starts with a quick and simple conversation that covers just four simple questions. Get in touch with us or and one of our experienced staff will contact you for an initial discussion.







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