New service to measure and trade farm carbon launched

Agrinewal, a new programme launched by Devenish, will assess soil, advise farmers on how to improve soil health, increase carbon and facilitate the trading of carbon on farms across the country.

The initiative is the first of its kind to be rolled out at farm level, with an aim of signing up 180 farmers in 2021 and 1,200 by the end of 2022.

Whole-farm efficiency is key to Agrinewal, and those who sign up will work with advisers to reduce their farm’s impact on water quality, increase biodiversity and use inputs as efficiently as possible.

By establishing baseline emissions, farmers will work towards reducing those emissions and ultimately improve efficiency and increase income where carbon storage in soils increases.

Five years after the first carbon sample is taken, the second round of samples will determine if carbon levels have increased. If so, carbon will be available to be traded.

One bulk soil sample will be taken on every hectare to a depth of 30cm. Assessments will be carried out to calculate farm emissions and efficiencies, as well as biodiversity.

Devenish explained that farmers will sign up to a subscription model. On average farms the service will cost €150-€200 per month, depending on size, complexity and the level of advisory support required.

Research has shown that there is the potential for more carbon to be stored in Irish soils, but increasing carbon levels can be a slow process.

Agrinewal also aims to help farmers meet new sustainability targets outlined by co-ops and buyers of their products, while helping to meet demands from banks on environment, social and governance requirements.