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Trials and research are continually uncovering data which helps to demonstrate the complex interactions associated with soil carbon, biology, chemistry and physics. Simple assumptions about cause and effect associated with different farming methodologies can be far from the reality. This section shows snapshots of data which with further reading, soil inspections and trials can help understand the complexity and interactions involved.
Total organic carbon to 30 cm in soil across Victoria as affected by region, soil type, and enterprise management. Source Victorian DEPI
It is important to know the previous land use history before drawing conclusions about farming impact on soil organic carbon. This data give no indication of farming methods hence carbon flows over time since native vegetation was removed.
The carbon flows above and below the surface in pastures is usually more important than pasture species present when it comes to total soil organic carbon present. Source: Queensland DPI
Under pasture total organic carbon was being restored to native vegetation level.
Time for changed strategies to have an impact is critical before effect on total soil organic carbon can be demonstrated. Source: Queensland DPI
Data from Ellinbank Dairy Research farm in Gippsland Victoria suggests making assumptions about phosphorus fertiliser use and negative impacts on microbial biomass and earthworm abundance can be misleading. Source: Victoria DPI Ellinbank.
Impact of microbial biomass carbon on CO2 burst and nitrogen mineralisation. Source: USDA
Impact of soil organic matter and microbial population on CO2 respiration and nitrogen mineralisation. Source: USDA
Soil organic matter components. Source: USDA
Carbon flow, water use efficiency and climate resilience under holistic grazing management. Source: Patrick Francis
Carbon flows, water use efficiency and climate resilience under set stocking. Source: Patrick Francis
Carbon flows, water use efficiency and climate resilience under set stocking and dry growing season and/or drought conditions. Source: Patrick Francis
Pasture additives trial produces no surprises
Land use and soil in Australia