Austin Arrington of Plant Group NYC performed a research study on hemp’s capacity to sequester carbon. Austin utilized microBIOMETER® in this research. We originally had the pleasure of meeting Austin through Indigo Ag’s Terraton Challenge. Plant Group is a fellow semi-finalist and alumni.
Hemp has the promise of being a twofer: a financially successful crop as well as a carbon crop that increases soil carbon for carbon credits and increased fertility. Austin used microBIOMETER® to evaluate two organic fertilizer regimens for a hemp crop; an early fertilization during the vegetative phase and a month later during the flowering phase.
One hectare of industrial hemp can absorb up to 22 tonnes of CO2 per hectare. The fact that industrial hemp has been proven to absorb more CO2 per hectare than any forest or commercial crop makes it an ideal tool for carbon farming (Vosper, 2011).
Two acres were hand seeded with Maya hemp grain on 05/23/21 in a silt clay loam soil in Council Bluffs, IA. Prior to tilling (with a rear tine tiller) and seeding with hemp the area was covered with white clover. The area was split into two zones that each received organic fertilizer at different times. The Early Fertilizer Zone was fertilized on 07/25/21. The Late Fertilizer Zone was fertilized on 08/08/21. Mega Green (2-3-2), the organic fertilizer applied for the study is derived from squid waste and was diluted with water for application across the field.
The microBIOMETER® spectroscopic tool was used to estimate microbial biomass carbon and fungal to bacterial ratio. Microbial biomass carbon is a measure of the carbon ( C ) contained within the living component of soil organic matter (i.e. bacteria and fungi). Microbes decompose soil organic matter (SOM) releasing carbon dioxide and plant available nutrients. The measurement unit of the device is ug C / g (micrograms microbial biomass carbon). Click here to read full study.