Carbon farming: Hope for a hot planet | Modern Farmer
“Carbon farming is agriculture’s answer to climate change. Simply put, the goal is to take excess carbon out of the atmosphere, where the element causes global warming, and store it in the soil, where carbon aids the growth of plants. The principle is pretty straightforward—the practice, not so much.”
John Payne’s insight:
Stop tilling and compacting the soil; leave crop residues in the field or compost and return them; use mulch and cover crops to prevent erosion and to keep carbon from escaping; avoid the use of herbicides and pesticides as much as possible.
This is all well and good, excellent advice actually, but it does beg the question of how to accomplish it and still be able to plant and harvest crops, rather than just letting the land go wild and without resorting to intensive hand labor. For example, how do you plant through stubble, mulch, and/or cover crops, let alone do it without compacting the soil?
Traditional mechanization isn’t well suited to these methods. Something different is needed, something that can introduce a bit of intelligence and precision to the mix, something like robotics.