Soil Carbon Analysis
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What is Soil Carbon Analysis?
Soil carbon analysis is the process of measuring the amount of carbon present in soil. This can be done through a variety of methods, including chemical analysis, physical analysis, and biological analysis. Soil carbon analysis is important because soil carbon plays a critical role in soil health and fertility, and it is also a significant contributor to global carbon cycles. Understanding the amount and distribution of soil carbon can help us better understand the impacts of land use and management practices on soil health, and can also help inform efforts to mitigate climate change by increasing carbon sequestration in soil.
For more information on carbon sequestration, see our discussion with MTU Ag Scientist James McCarthy.
Why Test For Carbon in Soil?
There is an emerging market in carbon trading, opening a new revenue stream for farmers. Soon, the Irish Government will compensate farmers for storing additional carbon in their soil. The first step is measuring your baseline carbon. Climate change action requires carbon sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere to soils, plants and other biomass.
Therefore, measuring your baseline soil carbon levels will guide future actions to support carbon farming. With a greater emphasis on carbon footprint, this analysis will be the basis for the next generation of soil-specific nutrient management advice. It will help with targeted fertiliser and organic manure applications (right nutrient type, right application rate, right time, right place) across all farming systems in Ireland.
Who is Soil Carbon Analysis Recommended For?
Soil carbon analysis is recommend for
- Agricultural Consultants.
- Research Institutions.
Why Test for Total Carbon?
To evaluate the base amount of carbon for carbon sequestration. By adding carbon to your soil, you can avail of a carbon credit payment.
Why Test For Total Organic Carbon?
To differentiate organic carbon from inorganic carbon. Inorganic carbon cannot be counted towards carbon credits.
Why Test for Total Nitrogen?
To measure the rate of mineralizable nitrogen. Plants use this nitrogen to grow. The more mineralizable nitrogen the soil can use, the more you save on fertiliser costs.
What’s Our Process for Soil Carbon Analysis?
We follow these steps…
- Sample Collection: Soil samples are collected from specific locations, often at varying depths, to assess CO2 content throughout the soil profile.
- C02 Detection: Various methods can be used to determine the CO2 content in the soil. One common method is the Walkley-Black method or its modified versions, which involve chemical digestion and titration to estimate organic carbon content. Alternatively, modern techniques like infrared spectroscopy and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) are gaining popularity due to their speed and precision.
- Data Analysis: The results of the analysis are typically expressed in terms of soil organic carbon (SOC) content, often reported as a percentage of the soil’s weight or volume. The data can be used to assess soil health, fertility, and organic matter content.
- Interpretation: The data obtained from analysis can provide valuable insights into soil quality, nutrient cycling, microbial activity, and the potential for carbon sequestration. It helps farmers make informed decisions about soil management practices and can be used in environmental studies to assess the impact of land use and management on soil carbon analysis levels.
Note: If you require a soil corer, you can collect one from our Farranfore facility for a refundable deposit of €75. For an additional fee, we can process the sample within a 5 or 3-day turnaround.
We Can Do It For You In 3 Easy Steps.
Simple – order the test you need, and we will post your soil boxes, reception form and sampling instructions.
Clear – follow the instructions, collect the sample and post it back to us or drop it into our Farranfore facility.
Accurate – easy-to-understand results will be sent to you by email within 10 days. After that, you can consult us for a consultation on your results.