The EverCrop Carbon Plus project will determine if including deep rooted perennial forages into cropping systems can sustain or increase soil organic carbon (SOC) relative to current cropping systems based on annual plants.
The project will use existing EverCrop® farming system and long term perennial forage trials to assess changes in SOC throughout the root zone. It is expected that these new, climate-resilient farming systems will be widely adopted and this project will assess the role of perennials in improving the management of soil carbon in major cropping regions of southern Australia. It will also provide data to improve soil carbon models and enhance farmers’ decision making.
Shifting from annual to perennial species, and including extra pasture phases within mixed cropping systems or improving pasture productivity have all previously been identified as beneficial to increasing or maintaining SOC in agricultural systems. Modelling indicates that net primary productivity (NPP) could be doubled or tripled under perennial grasses relative to winter cereal/summer fallow systems. However there is relatively little data available on the changes in SOC at depth or the magnitude and permanence of increases in SOC under perennial systems.
EverCrop Carbon Plus will measure the impact adding perennial plants to cropping systems has on SOC. Measurements will be taken in existing trials in three major agro-climatic zones where the EverCrop project operates (summer dominant rainfall zone, winter dominant rainfall zone and uniform rainfall zone). The pasture/crop systems are tailored for these zones and will provide data on SOC across a range of farming systems, climates and soils. This will provide data on the rates of sequestration, distribution and persistence of SOC to improve soil carbon models. The EverCrop project will use the SOC data in whole farm modelling (MIDAS) to assess the impact of carbon sequestration on the profitability of farm businesses.
EverCrop CarbonPlus is funded by Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.
Contact project leader Dr Richard Hayes
This website contains information about the CRC’s research into perennial plant based farming systems.
This site will remain live until 30 June 2017 but is no longer being updated or reviewed.
Further information about CRC research projects can be obtained by following links from relevant project pages or by viewing the research transfer page.
The CRC was funded for seven years (2007-2014) under the Australian Government Cooperative Research Centre program.