Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Freeranger farm is more than carbon neutral

At Freeranger Eggs, we limit the farm's carbon footprint by imposing a food miles policy for deliveries, using recycled materials and equipment whenever we can, using solar power and mechanical processes - such as collecting eggs by hand and hand cultivation of the farm vegetable garden - as well as an effective waste reduction programme.

As a result, the farm generates only about 60 tonnes of CO2 each year.

But we are better than carbon neutral, we are carbon positive. Our average organic matter in soil tests was 4.1 per cent in 2004, in 2006 it was 6.0 per cent, and in 2009 it was 7.9 per cent. Calculations based on 2-inch deep samples, show that over five years we have sequestered about 14 tons of CO2 per acre or four tonnes of carbon per acre on the grasslands on our property.

We apply no chemical fertilisers, herbicides, or pesticides on our land and we believe this policy increases the biological life in the soil and increases the rate of carbon sequestration. All manure is spread on the pastures and in our vegetable garden, minimising methane emissions. We practice rotational grazing on our pastures which has a variable effect with each rotation – taking advantage of photosynthesis to pull CO2 into the plants and then into the roots from where it transfers to the soil.

In addition, over that five year period at least another 5 tonnes of CO2 per acre has been sequestered by the regular growth and replacement of Kangaroo Apples in our main paddocks.

As we have protected native vegetation on approximately 100 acres of the property, regeneration over the five year period has sequestered a further 5 tonnes of CO2 per acre.

This brings a grand total of 1500 tonnes of CO2 sequestered on our property over the five years from 2004 to 2009 – an average rate of 300 tonnes per year compared with the farm's carbon output of around 60 tonnes.

How's that for being carbon positive! A net carbon benefit of 240 tonnes of CO2 per year and no-one pays us a dollar for doing it..

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