Leading the way

On-farm initiative: Keeping Carbon on the Farm team members Tim Tutt, Tony Evans, dairy farmer Sam Doolan, Geoff Rollinson, Doug Phillips, Jane Stanley and Helen Phillips look forward to seeing the results of the project.

SAM and Belinda Doolan’s dairy farm at Ecklin South has been chosen as the exemplar farm for the Keeping Carbon project.

A Heytesbury District Landcare Network (HDLN) initiative, the project got under way last week.

HDLN Landcare co-ordinator Geoff Rollinson said the project team covered topics such as trial design for applying soil ameliorants.

“We also discussed the whole-farm energy audit, looking at electricity and thermal energy usage and savings opportunities,” he said.

“The project will include soil tests looking at macronutrients, micronutrients and biology in the soil, with potential to improve those factors and animal health as a result.

“Feed trials with pelletised biochar and seaweed compounds may arise from undertaking the project.”

Mr Rollinson said the underpinning objectives of the exemplar farm was to set up a project which “reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves animal and soil health and provides an example for farmers and investors to move to a more regenerative model of farming”.

Mr Doolan, a third generation farmer, said he was looking forward to the results from the project.

“We’re interested in renewable energy and the environmental side of things,” he said.

“Eventually I think there will be a price on carbon, so we’re hoping to get ahead of the game.

“We’re wanting to see if the whole project can lift the health of the cows and soil on the farm.”

A member of the Port Campbell Discussion Group, Mr Doolan said he would look at having a day where other farmers could visit the farm and see the project at work.

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