1. Which fields are eligible for the programme?

Eligible lands are either croplands and grazing lands at the start of the project that show the potential for improvement in their soil organic carbon stock after the adoption of regenerative management practices (compared to business as usual practices), by either gaining or maintaining SOC (Soil Organic Carbon) levels. Four situations are possible:

  1. lands where SOC levels have reached equilibrium and it is possible to increase levels through regenerative practices;
  2. lands where SOC is increasing but can be further increased through regenerative practices;
  3. lands where SOC is declining and it is possible to stop or mitigate losses in SOC levels through regenerative practices;
  4. lands where SOC is declining and it is possible to reverse this fall through regenerative practices.

In order to avoid potential damage to biodiversity-rich lands, this protocol is only applicable if practices are not implemented on these conditions:

  1. wetlands and peatlands, or lands that have been subject to the drainage of a wetland/peatland during a baseline period (past ten years) or other baseline periods determined by obligations under national and international legislation;
  2. organic soils, Histosols, or soils having a histic or folic horizon;
  3. current native forest lands, or lands that have been native forest lands and were converted to grasslands or croplands, at any point during a baseline period (at least past ten years), or other baseline periods determined by obligations under national and international legislation.

It is worth highlighting that this protocol does not prescribe any management practice. Sustainable Soil Management is defined as follows: “Soil management is sustainable if the supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural services provided by soil are maintained or enhanced without significantly impairing either the soil functions that enable those services or biodiversity ”. Based on the recommended practices described in VoluntaryGuidelines for Sustainable Soil Management (VGSSM), FAO Recarbonizing global soils – A technical manual of recommended management practices Volume 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, and in SARE’s Book Building Soils for Better Crops, that are aimed at increasing SOC levels, eligible practices under this protocol may include:

  1. Increase in biomass production by managing water availability for plants with soil water conservation practices and adequate and efficient irrigation management;
  2. Balanced fertiliser applications with appropriate and judicious fertiliser application methods, types, rates and timing, following national requirements;
  3. Effective use of organic amendments (such as animal manure, plant residues, compost, compost extract, compost tea), following national requirements;
  4. Effective use of inorganic amendments (e.g. lime or gypsum to remediate acid soils, gypsum to remediate sodic soils), following national requirements; integrated soil fertility management (combined application of inorganic and organic nutrient resources/fertilisers);
  5. Soil health improvement with biofertilisers (beneficial microbes), such as mycorrhiza, phosphate solubilizing bacteria, bio-inoculants and bio-inducers;
  6. Crop residue management: applying organic residues, mulches or providing the soil with permanent cover;
  7. Use of cover crops or green manure, and/or perennials in crop rotations; establishing a pasture in croplands or bare fallow;
  8. Reduction of tillage events and or the adoption of residue management techniques, minimum or no-tillage;
  9. Implementation of practices oriented to prevent and/or alleviate soil compaction (e.g. controlled traffic operations; ‘bio-drilling’ by using tap-root species; judicious subsoiling labors);
  10. Grazing management to promote soil vegetation cover (stocking rate, grazing duration and intensity); rejuvenating pastures by seeding;
  11. Implementation and diversification of crop rotations, integration of production systems (for example, crop-livestock, silvopastoral, agroforestry), use of improved species (such as deep rooting and tap rooting crops);
  12. Landscape management modification such as those implemented for erosion control (such as terraces), surface water management, and drainage/flood control;
  13. Planting indigenous species (for example, N2 fixing legumes) adapted to local ecological conditions on degraded or abandoned croplands.

This protocol does not apply for the following practices:

  1. drainage of wetlands;
  2. topsoil removal for industrial or other purposes (e.g. bricks factories);
  3. landscape modifications that are not oriented to erosion control (e.g. slope reshaping practices in industrial vineyards);
  4. the use of products that add substances at potentially toxic levels into soils and water: heavy metals, radioactive elements and pathogens;
  5. replacement of permanent native perennial vegetation by annual vegetation (e.g. deforestation, conversion of native grasslands, rangelands, shrublands);
  6. overgrazing and all agricultural transit resulting in excessive compaction;
  7. the use of fire as a management tool, except where fire is a naturally occurring event, or is integral to land management (such as controlled fire use), in which case the timing and intensity of burning should aim to limit losses of soil functions, and steps to minimise erosion and encourage revegetation after fire should be considered.

Registration is possible by contacting us via email at [email protected]. After registering you will normally receive acceptance information from the program within 14 days. A soil sampling team will schedule an appointment for the soil sampling to determine SOC content.

The one-time program registration fee varies depending on the number of fields that need to be stratified. Stratification is valid for 8 years. For a detailed cost breakdown, please get in touch with us.

Concerning time of sampling, soil organic carbon varies within season, so it is important to take soil samples at the same time each year (no more than a month between the median day of the different sampling rounds) and preferably when biological activity is at minimum. Conditions must allow the safe travel of the sampling vehicle through the field, without harming the soil structure If the weather is not suitable, an alternative date will be arranged. Soil carbon varies within season, so it is important to take soil samples at the same time each year. Sampling during the non-growing phase (that is, over summer) helps to minimise the influence of plant type and growth stage on soil organic carbon, particularly in soil carbon fractions that turn over rapidly. The last application of mineral fertilisers should be at least 3 month, the last application of organic fertilisers (manure, liquid manure, compost) was about 6 months ago before the sampling round. For Nmin investigations or the investigation of biological parameters, the time of sampling should be agreed upon with the consulting civil engineering office or the laboratory.

We ask for your understanding that soil samples that have already been taken cannot be subsequently entered in the programme database. Previously performed samples may give you a good indication if your fields are eligible for the programme. For questions please contact [email protected].

Having your soil professionally tested helps you identify deficiencies, troubleshoot problem areas, and optimise soil amendments based on your country’s specific needs. In addition, regular soil tests can demonstrate progress and the effectiveness of regenerative practices over time. Investing into regular soil testing during the programme, or even without the programme will bring you the best results for your crop rotation, cover crops and other important regenerative practices.

The project ‘temporal boundary’ refers to the total duration of the projected activities. The start date and end date of the implementation of SSM practices need to be defined for each intervention area. A minimum duration of eight consecutive years is required to capture enough data to demonstrate soil carbon sequestration compared to a baseline scenario and baseline period (or year 0), reducing uncertainties as much as possible. After each eight year cycle it’s the farmers’ decision if they want to continue the programme.

If no humus has built up, this can have various causes. The build-up of organic matter and humus is a complex process. Please contact our advisors to discuss possible reasons. There will be no compensation from the programme if the soil sampling shows a reduction in binding of carbon. There are no obligations for either side to pay.

The price of the carbon certificates is based on the current market value. Carbofarm issues a carbon removal certificate and pays the equivalent value to the participants as a result-related payment in accordance with the conditions of participation. 20% of the sales price is set aside as a buffer until the end of the first cycle. These are either paid out immediately after renewal, or gradually over 10 years in the event of non-renewal. 15% of the sales price goes to Carbofarm as a “programme fee”.

The Carbofarm team originates from aviation and farming backgrounds. With the programme, the team would like to contribute to stimulating the possibility of CO2 sequestration on the part of farmers; on the other hand, this programme enables industries such as the aviation industry to offset their CO2 emissions locally within the framework of the EU ETS and ICAO/CORSIA regulations. Our motivation is high that you are successful on this journey.

last modified on: July 1, 2024