Soil Carbon

Increasing the quantity of carbon stored in agricultural soils has the potential to offset emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, while soil carbon losses would further add to those emissions.

However, realising this mitigation potential is technically challenging when soil carbon stocks are already high (as they are in New Zealand), potential changes in soil carbon are small and spatial variability is high.

The current NZAGRC programme has three distinct components:

(1) testing specific management practices that may increase the long term soil carbon store in field situations;

(2) developing and using models to predict how a range of management practices may influence long and short tem soil carbon storage; and

(3) identifying those factors that influence the stability of current or newly added soil carbon.

We have also supported international work to map on farm soil carbon and will participate in the international research programme CIRCASA.

Principal Investigators

Dr David Whitehead, Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research (2010-present)
Professor Frank Kelliher, AgResearch (2010-2017)

Research Stories

Assessment of the application of gibberellins to increase productivity and reduce nitrous oxide emissions in grazed grassland

Emissions of nitrous oxide from grassland systems are attributable largely to the use of nitrogen fertilisers and the excreta deposited by grazing animals.

There is increasing interest in using gibberellins as a naturally-occurring growth promotant of herbage to reduce the use of nitrogen fertilisers while leading to similar or greater increases in dry matter.

In a study commissioned by the NZAGRC and carried out by Landcare Research, the conslusion reached is that the use of gibberellins with reduced addition of nitrogen fertiliser has the potential to reduce nitrous emissions from grazed grassland. However, acceptance of widespread use of gibberellins will be dependent on cost benefit analysis for farmers.

Download the In Press publication

  1. pdf NZAGRC_LCR_Gibberellins Review 2015.pdf (0.34MB)

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