MTK Foundation has approved funding for analyzing the Carbon Action – pilot project’s soil samples. Each one of the 100 carbon farms, participating in the Carbon Action project, has selected an approximately 3 hectares test plot from their fields for testing carbon farming practices. Farmers test new methods as a part of their usual farming cycles during a five-year period. This way the differences in implementation between farms can be seen. The soils samples will be taken at the very beginning and after 5 years from test plots of each farm, as well as from the control plots cultivated with previous farming methods.
Farmers take soil samples themselves according to the instructions, and send them to the Carbon Action -project, from where the soil samples go to a laboratory for analyses. The amount of carbon in the soil is examined on the basis of the annealing loss. Some of the soil samples were already taken last fall, but most of the farmers go to their fields with core drills this spring.. The soil samples are handled by Jenni Jääskeläinen, a soil science student working at BSAG.
With the funding from MTK Foundation, soil samples can be also analyzed for their nutrient values and other properties, such as pH and cation exchange capacity. The aim of increasing the soil carbon storage in the fields can succeed, when the fields are in a good condition and there is a good nutrient balance. Otherwise the plant growth will be weak, and thus less photosynthesis takes place.
Taking soil samples is a familiar procedure for all farmers, as it has to be done every 5 years as a part of the environmental compensation program. Soil sampling in the Carbon Action -project is a different task, and it does not cause costs to the carbon farmers. The soil samples are taken as from exact spots at the depth of 0-20 cm., as soil samples in general. In 2019 soil samples from some Carbon Action farms will be taken at the depth of one meter. For this purpose special core drill has been developed. It will be interesting to see how the levels of nutrients and carbon will change depending on the depth of the soil.