The Amazing Power of Compost to Increase Forage and Carbon Sequestration

What if you knew that doubling your forage and increasing long-term carbon sequestration was as simple as spreading a thin layer of compost on pastures? Would you do it? In 2008, my friends John Wick and Peggy Rathmann began a study to determine how much carbon is sequestered in soil as a result of managed, intensive grazing. Working with UC Berkeley's Whendee Silver and the Silver Lab, they began by taking a look at the state of soils in their area. They gathered soil samples from 35 sites on 22 ranches in Marin County, California to get a baseline look at the state of soil carbon sequestration in the area. They were particularly interested in the more stable fractions of soil carbon - the kind that remains in the soil for twenty, forty and even hundreds and thousands of years. They were surprised to find some samples had much more of this stable carbon than the rest of the samples. These high carbon samples all came from dairy farm pastures. What made them different from the rest was the farmers' practice of spreading dairy cow manure on the pastures they came from. It seemed that the addition of large quantities of manure was increasing carbon sequestration. This discovery changed the course of their research. Initially they had planned to look at whether keyline plowing and/or managed, intensive grazing were helpful for increasing long

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2 thoughts on “The Amazing Power of Compost to Increase Forage and Carbon Sequestration

  1. Great article. What type of compost is necessary for similar results? Also, where can you find enough to cover large fields?

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