Introduction to the challenge addressed

The organic carbon content of a significant proportion of Flemish soils is sub-optimal to very low. The build-up and maintenance of organic matter in the soil is of great importance, not only to maintain quality of the soil, but also as a climate mitigation measure.

Farmers are encouraged to increase the organic carbon content in the soil of arable land parcels by means of an adapted cultivation plan. 

Description of Innovation

A proposed measure within the CAP eco-schemes will start from 2022 in Belgium. 

Soils with a good organic carbon content are more resistant to erosion, have a better water balance and are more fertile. This also ensures that the soil is more resistant to drought or flooding. Farmers are eligible for the measure if, through the combination of specific main and secondary crops, they achieve an average increase in soil organic carbon of more than 1,500 kg/ha on the arable land at farm level.In Belgium, beef cattle are housed in straw bedded stalls. In addition to the selection of specific crops,  stable manure is an ideal fertilizer that contributes to the increase of  the organic matter in arable land.

The reward is 40 € per ha arable land if the target for increasing the carbon content of the soil is achieved.  

Impact on farm performance

The farmer will have to find a combination of livestock manure and green manure crops for his farm to provide sufficient organic matter. This will not be easy in the beginning, but it will give him insight in the organic matter of his arable land. 

This insight gives the farmer no additional costs. But this goal will not be possible for every farmer. 

Further information