How new tools increase carbon measurement consistency.
The discussion about carbon markets has been ongoing for more than a decade and is finally coming to fruition. Farmers are incorporating management practices that are rewarded with carbon payments. The challenge is quantifying the results of carbon measurement, ensuring that farmers are adequately rewarded for their efforts.
Accurately measuring carbon is a challenge, and here’s why:
Soil carbon content can vary significantly within a small area due to soil type, land use, vegetation cover, and management practices.
Soil carbon can be distributed unevenly with depth, and different soil layers may have distinct carbon concentrations. Determining the appropriate sampling depth and volume to capture the variability of carbon across the soil profile is crucial but can be challenging.
Traditional laboratory-based methods for measuring soil carbon, such as dry combustion or wet oxidation, are labor-intensive. Analyzing many samples can be costly and time-consuming, limiting the scale and frequency of carbon measurements.
Soil properties such as moisture content, texture, and organic matter composition can affect the accuracy of carbon measurements. High clay or organic matter content, for example, can interfere with measurement techniques and lead to overestimation or underestimation of carbon content.
Soil carbon levels can change over time due to land management practices, climate changes, and natural processes. Monitoring long-term trends and accurately capturing temporal variability requires frequent and consistent measurements, which can be logistically challenging.
With advancements in technology, measuring carbon in the soil has become more accurate and precise. EarthOptics C-Mapper™ uses sensor technology mounted on the front of an ATV. It scans an entire field, unlike many systems today that pull sporadic soil cores throughout a field to measure carbon. C-Mapper™ provides whole-field analysis and offers farmers year-over-year measurements to accurately gauge soil carbon content improvements. To get started with EarthOptics and learn more about C-Mapper™ or any of our tools, click here.