Trust's Carbon Positive project on track
Carbon Positive test farm largely unaffected by Cyclone. Sweetcorn crop looking good.
Added 12 months ago
The Carbon Positive project is progressing well and on track at its milestone three report stage (1 March).
Recapping on the project’s purpose, the $3 million, six year project in Hawke’s Bay will investigate regenerative farming principles in New Zealand cropping systems, and test whether soil carbon can be regenerated – and to what extent – in soils used for intensive field cropping.
The trial tests whether regenerative agriculture practices, which focus on strengthening the health and vitality of farm soil, have different outcomes compared to those from conventional cropping methods, and a hybrid system which combines aspects from both regen and conventional practices as potentially a useful step for growers to adopt offering change with less risk.
Hawke’s Bay Future Farming Trust and LandWISE have partnered on the project with MPI, industry, farmers, scientists, and local councils.
Phases one and two established the project, a science plan, set up baseline testing soils, and established the sweetcorn crop, says the Trust’s Carbon Positive project manager Dave France.
Milestone three’s report focuses mainly on monitoring the growing crop, agronomy, assessing canopy density, comparing growth rates with stem diameter measurements, and monitoring weeds, pests and crop treatments.
It also looked at soil aggregate. Findings showed that all plots had very low levels of soil aggregate, with test results showing the mean weight diameter was significantly lower for the fully cultivated conventional soil and consistent across the hybrid and regenerative plots which had been strip tilled.
LandWISE manager Dan Bloomer says that the Carbon Positive project is also about keeping pace with consumer expectations.
“We (New Zealand) need to show that we’re doing the best we can (in respect of soil quality) to meet consumer expectations of the future.”
The Carbon Positive Microfarm test site was largely unaffected by Cyclone Gabrielle, with a few inches of surface flooding that receded after a day.
Dan Bloomer says the sweetcorn crop is looking good.
Mike Flynn, Field Manager McCain Foods Hastings says: “Carbon Positive has been recognised as an excellent value partnership and the only one of its type supported by McCain. Well done to all involved.”
An industry open day for the Microfarm site, once recovery has started for Hawke’s Bay growers.
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