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Assessing costs of soil carbon sequestration by crop-livestock farmers in Western Australia

Author

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  • Kragt, Marit E.
  • Pannell, David J.
  • Robertson, Michael J.
  • Thamo, Tas

Abstract

Carbon sequestration in agricultural soil has been identified as a potential strategy to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Within the public debate, it has been claimed that provision of positive incentives for farmers to change their land management will result in substantial carbon sequestration in agricultural soils at a low carbon price. However, there is little information about the costs or benefits of carbon sequestration in agricultural soils to test these claims. In this study, the costeffectiveness of alternative land-use and land-management practices that can increase soil carbon sequestration is analysed by integrating biophysical modelling of carbon sequestration with wholefarm economic modelling. Results suggest that, for a case study model of a crop-livestock farm in the Western Australian wheatbelt, sequestering higher levels of soil carbon by changing rotations (to include longer pasture phases) incur considerable opportunity costs. Under current commodity prices, farmers would forego more than $80 in profit for every additional tonne of CO2-e stored in soil, depending on their adoption of crop residue retention practices. This is much higher than the initial carbon price of $23t−1 in Australia’s recently legislated carbon tax. This analysis does not incorporate the possibility that greenhouse gas emissions may increase as a result of including longer pasture phases. Accounting for emissions may substantially reduce the potential for net carbon sequestration at low carbon prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Kragt, Marit E. & Pannell, David J. & Robertson, Michael J. & Thamo, Tas, 2012. "Assessing costs of soil carbon sequestration by crop-livestock farmers in Western Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 27-37.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:112:y:2012:i:c:p:27-37
    DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2012.06.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kragt, Marit Ellen & Blackmore, Louise & Capon, Timothy & Robinson, Cathy J. & Torabi, Nooshin & Wilson, Kerrie A., 2014. "What are the barriers to adopting carbon farming practices?," Working Papers 195776, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    2. Kragt, M.E. & Gibson, F.L. & Maseyk, F. & Wilson, K.A., 2016. "Public willingness to pay for carbon farming and its co-benefits," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 125-131.
    3. Dumbrell, Nikki P. & Kragt, Marit E. & Biggs, Jody & Meier, Elizabeth & Thorburn, Peter, 2015. "Climate change abatement and farm profitability analyses across agricultural environments," Working Papers 225674, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    4. Alcock, Douglas J. & Harrison, Matthew T. & Rawnsley, Richard P. & Eckard, Richard J., 2015. "Can animal genetics and flock management be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also maintain productivity of wool-producing enterprises?," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 25-34.
    5. Tas Thamo & Ross S. Kingwell & David J. Pannell, 2013. "Measurement of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture: economic implications for policy and agricultural producers," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 57(2), pages 234-252, April.
    6. repec:eee:agisys:v:160:y:2018:i:c:p:11-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Chuanhe Xiong & Degang Yang & Jinwei Huo, 2016. "Spatial-Temporal Characteristics and LMDI-Based Impact Factor Decomposition of Agricultural Carbon Emissions in Hotan Prefecture, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(3), pages 1-14, March.
    8. Thamo, Tas & Addai, Donkor & Pannell, David J. & Robertson, Michael J. & Thomas, Dean T. & Young, John M., 2017. "Climate change impacts and farm-level adaptation: Economic analysis of a mixed cropping–livestock system," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 99-108.
    9. Kragt, M.E. & Pannell, D.J. & McVittie, A. & Stott, A.W. & Vosough Ahmadi, B. & Wilson, P., 2016. "Improving interdisciplinary collaboration in bio-economic modelling for agricultural systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 217-224.
    10. Kragt, Marit E. & Robertson, Michael J., 2014. "Quantifying ecosystem services trade-offs from agricultural practices," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 147-157.

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