- An adaptive and education-based approach to regenerative farming can enhance soil carbon cycling with the potential to rapidly increase farm productivity, says Tom Dillon, director of Regenerate Outcomes
“Using soil tests from Eurofins Agro UK, we are partnering with farms to help enable a regenerative system change, based on extensive and accurate soil health data. The tests include vital phospholipid fatty acid (PFLA) analysis that is helping our farms improve soil health by better understanding the microbial composition of their soils. We are also helping our partner farmers to monitor soil carbon sequestration with the aim of generating soil carbon credits which form an additional farm income stream,” he explains.
Regenerate Outcomes has designed a programme to comply with the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) which provides the highest standard of verification. The aim is to create a profit share agreement for participating farms with up to 67% of the value of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) being distributed to the farm, subject to a minimum VCU performance.
Participating farms do not pay any up-front costs to join the programme. Mr Dillon is also keen to explain that whilst carbon credits represent potentially valuable income for farms longer term, the focus is on providing a more holistic approach that focuses on improving soil health, driving profit, and making ecological gains.
“Eurofins’ Soil Life Monitor determines the total microbial biomass, fungi, bacteria, and protozoa ratios in soil. It also identifies some physical characteristics such as pH and the quality of organic matter. PLFAs found in soil can be measured to provide a fingerprint of the soil content. We are using this to enable farms to address any microbial imbalances in the soil which will help improve nutrient uptake,” he adds.
This approach enables the Regenerate Outcomes team to help participating farms understand soil biology and change soil chemistry without the use of fertilisers.
“We are focussed on system change by engaging with our farms at an educative level to positively influence soil health and productivity. We spent six months establishing the best suite of tests to carry out, and a combination of Eurofins’ Soil Life Monitor, Active Carbon, and Fertilisation Manager tests provide the best all-round picture of the current profile of the soil and enable our professional mentoring agents to give more accurate advice that is anchored in soil science,” he concludes.