The Keyline Plow

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The Red Book
& Prices

The RED BOOK is a booklet with pictures illustrating the variety of plows we make and the range of points and components that can go with them.


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Deciding Your Plow Configuration

How many horse power per tine (or shank or leg). Whether a three point linkage plow or a trailing model. Size of tines to suit. And other things to ponder and decide on.


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Using a Yeomans Plow

When do I first use it. What's a suitable speed. How deep should I go. What points to use. Do I need coulters. And lots of other things it's nice to know.


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An Academic’s Keyline Assessment

The late Professor J. MacDonald-Holmes was Dean of the Faculty of Geography, University of Sydney and a truly great Australian. He followed the development of P.A Yeomans' Keyline principles from their inception in the late 1940s.


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Creating Fertility. Locating Keylines

Allan Yeomans describes, in basic terms what fertile soil really is and why it is possible and practical to massively enhance the fertility levels of farm soil. Also here, is a description of valley forms and where the Keyline is, and why and how it works. And how to find it.


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The Subsoil Plow Story

Keyline cultivation required a plough that didn't turn the soil layers upside down. We looked everywhere. The Texas made Graham-Hoeme Chisel Plow was the only thing we could find available anywhere in the world. We got one and used it, and then made them under license. And sold them here in Australia in the thousands. And that's why I still spell it "plow".


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Video Library

A collection of relevant plow and Keyline footage and links to YouTube. Some filmed in the 1950s. Others by Darren Doherty, a long time friend of mine and a Keyline and Permaculture guru.   The Keyline concepts of farm planning, water storage and handling, accelerated soil fertility enhancement and rotational grazing, were developed on our family farms in the early 1950s.   In the 1980s, by combining these experiences with gliding meteorology I conceived the concept of enhancing soil fertility to stop global warming. Allan Yeomans 2016


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Yeomans Keyline Systems Explained

The Keyline system has changed only slightly from my father, P.A, Yeomans' original books on Keyline. The main change started in the late 1960s with our work on developing a ripper with almost zero disturbance of soil layer profiles. The modern subsoiler was born and highly accelerated Keyline soil fertility enhancement became possible and practical.


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Contacting Us

Yeomans Plow Co Pty Ltd  39 Demand Avenue  Arundel  Gold Coast City  Queensland 4214  Australia


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“Carbon Still” Soil Test System

To end Climate Change we pay our farmers $10 a tonne - carbon dioxide equivalent - for increasing the carbon content of their soils.  The best and most consistent measuring process for measuring this carbon increase is by measuring the Loss On Ignition (LOI) of a representative  sample of the soil. Our 'Carbon Still' does the measuring.


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Cheap Solar Thermal Electricity

The only significant factors in determining the sale price of the power produced from a solar thermal installation is the cost to cover deprecation and the amount of interest on the money used to build it. That's where our Yeomans system out shines them all.


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Pay $10 Trillion to Farmers & Global Warming Ends

Yeomans Protocol & on farm soil carbon test bench



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Your guide to navigation around this site. Put the cursor here.

To get back to the top of the site, click the white house on the right.

First; You put the Cursor on one of the 13 numbered buttons.
Second: The button turns yellow and the big square on the left side lights up with a summary of what you will find when you open the page.
Third: Leave the Cursor arrow there and Left Click and you have opened the whole page. The lower part of the screen then comes up with all the information.
Forth:Then scroll up or down to find what you want.
Fifth: Click the WHITE HOUSE if you want to go back up to the top of the page.

3. Using a Yeomans Plow 4. An Academic’s Keyline Assessment 5. Creating Fertility. Locating Keylines 6. The Subsoil Plow Story 7. Video Library 8. Yeomans Keyline Systems Explained 9. Contacting Us

2. Deciding Your Plow Configuration 1. The Red Book
& Prices
13. Your guide to navigation around this site. Put the cursor here.

To get back to the top of the site, click the white house on the right.
10. “Carbon Still” Soil Test System 11. Cheap Solar Thermal Electricity
Pay $10 Trillion to Farmers & Global Warming Ends

Yeomans Protocol & on farm soil carbon test bench


The quickest and most economical method of increasing the carbon content of soil is by increasing the humus content of the soil. Humus averages 58% carbon and that carbon can only come from the carbon dioxide in the air.

The Carbon Still can measure the carbon in a kilogram of farm soil. All other systems -and what our Australian Federal Department of the Environment Government nominate measures, at most the carbon in 10 grams of soil. That’s a teaspoon of soil from say 100 hectares. It’s ridiculous. And must change.


            Below is a copy of the Blue Book





                                       Blue Book4  (Green Book is STRAIGHT TALKING)



“Global warming and climate change with the consequential destabilization of all world weather and deep ocean water circulation systems are now becoming the greatest danger humanity and human societies have faced in our 150,000 year existence .


Every day more and more responsible people are beginning to recognize this frightening reality.”





Protocols and Test Apparatus for Reward Based  Agricultural Soil Carbon Sequestration

       And How and Why it Works



                                                Allan Yeomans      


                 Keyline Publishing Co. Pty. Ltd.

                 Yeomans Plow Co. Pty. Ltd. 

                 30 Demand Av, Arundel. Queensland Australia




                                Phone 61 7 5592 3017

                                First Printing June 2013

                                Second Printing July 2013

                                Third printing  October 2013

                                Forth edition &print December 2014



Available from Keyline Publishing Co

30 demand Av Arundel Queensland 4214.













Tell me in a nut shell.

    How does soil carbon sequestration work?

        How do you take the carbon dioxide out of the air
and put it into the soil?


Allan Yeomans answers:


“Happily it’s a completely natural process. The world’s grasslands illustrate it best and they’re the best soils in the world.



1    Cows eat grass.


2    One bite, and the grass plant immediately sheds a few roots.


3    The cows produce waste.


4    Soil microbes and earth worms eat dead grass roots and cow’s waste,
and their waste is humus.


5    Grasses grow best in humus rich soil. So it’s full circle, back to the cow.



That’s why the most fertile soils in the world are the grasslands of the world, the steppes, the savannahs, and the prairies. And every one of those grasslands had some type of grazing animal living on it; often for a million years or more. Thus grassland ecosystems automatically create their own humus rich, hugely fertile top soils. It doesn’t happen in forests so forest soils always slowly self-destruct.


Hard rock, near the surface, weathers down and becomes “subsoil”. Subsoil is biologically inert. But when humus is created in that subsoil, then it becomes “topsoil”. It’s a billion year old process but it can happen in weeks.


The chemistry is straight forward. Both living plant materials and soil humus are about half carbon. The carbon dioxide in the air is  27% carbon. Using carbon dioxide from the air, water from the ground, and sunlight from space, the chlorophyll in a blade of grass, or any other green leaf, manufactures living plant materials which in turn becomes humus or animal manure. All these materials are around 58% pure carbon. So think of it this way –  in round figures a kilogram  of any form of organic matter contains twice as much carbon as does a kilogram  of carbon dioxide.


Herbivores eat grass, carnivores eat herbivores. We’re omnivores; we can eat both.”










Protocols and Test Apparatus for Reward Based  Agricultural Soil Carbon Sequestration

        And How and Why it Works.


Reward Based Soil Carbon Sequestration             Page 3

World Problems and The Solutions



Summary of Yeomans Protocol and Procedures

 For Soil Sample Collection and Testing                Page 16



Current State of Play. Money’s Influence.
and Kyoto’s Platitudes and Placebos.                    Page 17


December 2014. Update on Australia’s New LNP

Federal Government’s Useless Actions on

Preventing Climate Change                                    Page 24



Relevant Papers and Reports and their use
for Soil Carbon Sequestration along with
why they are of Limited Practical Use                   Page 29



Yeomans Protocol and Procedures for
soil sample collection and testing as
submitted to the DOIC (Domestic Off Sets

Integrity Committee)                                             Page 48                                                       




Photo of Yeomans Carbon Still                               Page 55




Our Web Site contains explanations and articles on –Global Warming – Keyline Farming – Yeomans Floating Solar Thermal System– Biofuels – What is Fertile Soil – “The Geographical and Topographical Basis of Keyline” by the late  Professor J. MacDonald-Holmes – Historic Development of the subsoil plough –  Yeomans Plows – PRIORITY ONE Together We Can Beat Global Warming by Allan Yeomans (full text)—

for the above and much more go to


  *DOIC,  Domestic Offsets Integrality Committee. within the Australian Department of the Environment that approves or doesn’t approve any procedure or protocol for which Federal funding is permitted to be allocated in combating climate change. The Department is clearly not genuinely nor seriously concerned about ending Climate Change. It’s primary goal seems to be the creation of hurdles and the enforcement of their own insanely contrived and prohibitively burdensome rules and requirements and regulations which effectively inhibit Australian farmers from massive soil carbon sequestration.



To end Global Warming and stop Climate Change there are just two problems—-


1:      It’s urgent that we must start taking the excess carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere that is causing all our problems.


2:      We must cease adding geological buried fossil carbon to the biospheres. And that’s all about combating the geocarbon propaganda and disinformation on rain forests, wind energy, photo voltaics, wave energy, geothermal energy, rain forests: and  nuclear energy and biofuels. ,   


This Blue Book is how we solve the first problem. My new booklet, the Yellow Book, explains the realities and answers on energy. 





Protocols for both Field Soil Carbon Sampling and final Sample Assaying. 




We have changed the optical properties of the Earth’s atmosphere. We have added 125 parts per million of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Condensed down that’s the same as covering the entire planet with 15 sheets of ordinary news paper, or 100 sheets of Glad Wrap. Carbon dioxide is a material that’s transparent to incoming sunlight and absolutely opaque to outgoing infrared light. The only reason at all that the heat balance is maintained and because the infrared heat radiation gets out into space is because it’s not a solid sheet. It’s exists as a cloud of particles. It’s like paint spray. You can still see through the mist, but can’t see through it when it condenses onto a surface. If it was paint there is very much more than enough, to give the whole planet a very thick coat indeed. A coat over one millimetre thick, nearly a sixteenth of an inch thick. Around a kilogram of carbon dioxide per square metre everywhere on the whole planet.


The results of all this extra carbon dioxide in the air is that we are consistently and carelessly raising the temperature of the entire Earth’s biosphere.


We have thus, naively, permitted the creation of a very serious problem.


The temperature at the center of the Earth is around 5,0000 C. It should be noted that the quantity of internal heat deep within the Earth, and moving by natural conduction up into the biosphere, is minuscule by comparison to the input of solar radiation on the surface. It’s just basic physics, backed by observations. Heat migrations from planetary interiors   do not affect weather systems on the upper surface on any of the Solar System’s inner planets.


We have to remove that carbon dioxide excess from the atmosphere of our planet before methane releases takes over as the utterly unfixable problem.


Soil humus along with all other forms of soil organic matter is composed predominately of carbon. That carbon was once atmospheric carbon dioxide.  Plants breathe it in, and earthworms and soil microbial life eventually turn it into humus.


So we can get back to normal if we pay our world’s farmers $10 a tonne to  increase the humus content of their soils. That process could remove all the accumulated excess carbon dioxide in the air that’s totally destabilizing world weather systems. If farmers knew that was on offer, they’d get the job done. The hardest thing would be to have farmers actually believe that their Governments with all those massive departmental structures would act sanely and honorable. And we all understand that governments and relevant bodies would only pay farmers on results.


Currently the damage bill from global warming is approximately $1.2 trillion dollars per year, and that cost is constantly and rapidly rising.


We now have about one trillion tonnes of excess carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. So the total worldwide cost at $10 a tonne would be $10 trillion to remove all the excess. At $5 a ton of carbon dioxide it would be $5 trillion but let’s start at $10, or even more, to ensure that we get things rolling.


Beating global warming is a war humanity cannot, absolutely cannot,  afford to lose.


The World’s farmers can do the job of sequestrating atmospheric carbon dioxide into soil humus. And for the rest of us, our job is to ensure they get generously rewarded for doing what they, and only they, can do. We have to make it easy for them. We have to make it happen. And we have to start right here in Australia. And the world will then have a real life example to follow. We have to be that example.


Australia has the largest area of agricultural land of any democracy on Earth: slightly bigger than the US. It’s only slightly smaller than China’s. What happens here and what we do here will be watched and followed by others. It is already acknowledged around the world that Australia is a leading nation in thinking and understanding of the subject of global warming. It is also known by many that the very concept of soil carbon sequestration originated here in Australia. Admittedly the first promotion of my concept was not in Australia, it was actually in a series of lectures I gave in the US, starting in 1989.



In my 1989 paper “An Agricultural Solution to the Greenhouse Effect”  I proposed the novel concept of combating global warming by enhancing soil fertility.1 This was at a sustainable agricultural conference in California. My calculations then showed that a net rise of 1.6% in the organic matter content of the soils directly controlled by man would end the looming problem of what has been renamed “climate change”. I am told that my 1.6% has become accepted as an international yard stick although because of the rise in human population numbers the 1.6% figure has marginally increased; 2% now is probably closer to the mark.


I argue that, while agricultural soils vary throughout the world their fundamental structure is always the same. That soil is composed of the weathered local geological substructure mixed with active organic matter. The weathered only material is described as subsoil and that subsoil, when it accumulates sufficient organic matter, becomes topsoil. The richness and fundamental productivity of the topsoil depends on there being sufficient minerals in the geological substructures forming the subsoil, and the quantities of organic matter in the topsoil. After a few billion years of geological mixing and upheavals it’s almost impossible to find basic rock structures that don’t have their share of mineral traces.


The chemical elements in the subsoil needed by plants are generally insoluble and therefore unavailable to plant life. The chemical activity in soil organic matter breaks down the minerals and makes the elements available to soil and plant life. They are then soluble and could wash away with the first rains but with sufficient humus in the soil they loosely attach themselves to the humic acid molecules and, to a lesser extent, any clay particles in the soil. The process is called “chelation”. This type of chemical bond stops the element from washing away but it’s not strong enough to prevent plant life from plucking off an atom as required.  Therefore the rich and productive soils of the World are always those soils containing large quantities of organic matter.


Grasses and mammals evolved after the demise of the dinosaurs with their diet of tree leaves. The symbiotic relationship of mammals and grasses produced the incredibly rich and fertile prairies and grasslands of the world. And in turn us. Trees and dinosaurs were locked in an evolutionary dead end.


We cannot alter the geological substructures, but with farming we can very significantly alter the organic matter content of the soil.
The constant use of strong chemical fertilizers does initially produce high yields. Unfortunately it does this by breaking down and destroying soil organic matter. This produces a sudden flood of now totally soluble elements. And after a few seasons the elements wash away Then yields drop. The question becomes; maybe more fertilizer is required? So in desperation more is applied to the next crop. In a few short years the soil composition changes and becomes unproductive. The soil is then described as “worn out”.


On the other hand; crop rotation, organic type practices, non inversion tillage, the structured management of grasses by rotational grazing rapidly increases the fertility and the content of humic substances within the soil. Additionally, soils containing high levels of organic materials just don’t erode. So soil erosion ends. Rich fertile soils invariably produce bountiful yields. And certainly yields higher and more consistent yields than those resulting from dependence on chemical based agricultural systems.


Currently however too many in the farming community and government bureaucracy are indoctrinated by the chemical companies publicity machine to believe that a chemically based agricultural system is both correct and inevitable. For global warming to end that extremely dangerous mindset must end.


Removing the carbon dioxide by creating rich soil is easy. It is after all how we farmed, continuously and productively, for the few thousand years before we were sold on the concept of a relying on concentrated agrochemical fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides to grow food.


Australia is a huge land mass; Australia has a small and cohesive population and, driven by necessity and isolation, has become gifted with practical common sense. We are not a conglomeration of many nations. We are one nation. For these reasons, I believe that the ending of global warming has to start right here in Australia. I seriously doubt there is enough national and international cohesion for it to initiate anywhere else.


The problem is now extremely urgent for we are fast approaching a tipping point past which it will not ever be possible to reverse the heating process. At least not within foreseeable centuries.


There are two ways humans add greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. One results by us extracting deep geological deposits of carboniferous materials and moving them up into the Earth’s relatively tiny biosphere. The other is from the redistribution of carbon compounds within the biosphere itself, predominately by the conversion of soil organic matter into atmospheric carbon dioxide. Agrochemical chemicals do that. Some of the organic matter however, is converted into the more potent methane. Trusting trees, believing in trees, saving rain forests, letting good agricultural land revert back to scrub land, the worth of recreating waste land are  all monstrous marketing fictions. It’s all designed to foster evermore intensive, chemical based agriculture. The premise being: the least land available the more chemicals you have to use to produce the food we need.


To combat global warming we need to do two things. We need to cease adding geological carbon to the biosphere by switching to energy systems not based on the combustion of geocarboniferous materials. And secondly we need to redistribute the excessive carbon that has accumulated within the biosphere so there is less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and more organic carbon in our soils. Do both and we correct the optics of our atmosphere. We have no other options, and therefore no other choice.


The soil that man farms, or otherwise controls is the only significant, practical and economical carbon sink available to combat our excess global heating.


Fertile soil is simple subsoil loaded with humus and humus is nothing more than stable decomposed organic matter. The organic matter is material derived from dead plant leaves and dead plant roots. And soil organic matter, actually all organic matter, is generally taken as 58% carbon. And we know that carbon dioxide is 27% carbon.

So, for a very rough approximation we can think of it as, organic matter and all living things are about half carbon and we can think of carbon dioxide being by weight about a quarter carbon.


The one and only source for all that organic carbon in all living things is  atmospheric carbon dioxide. Green, chlorophyll rich, plant leaves, is the medium through which that carbon dioxide is extracted from the atmosphere and converted into all the world’s living plant materials; which in turn becomes soil organic matter, and ultimately rich humus.


So we turn atmospheric carbon dioxide into rich fertile soil and end cancerous climate change.


That gives us our one and only window of opportunity in which we can phase out geological carbon as our primary energy source. It gives us the time to switch to nuclear energy, backed by some solar and some wind systems for industrial power. That gets rid of coal and gas (The gas energy system is as bad as, or even worse than coal, despite what the gas industry’s propaganda proclaims).


Nuclear energy is an absolutely unavoidable necessity to power human societies.  Industrial fission reactors use the energy produced when very big atoms split in half. Fusion reactors (successful and practical designs don’t yet exist) use the energy theoretically produced when very small atoms are squashed together. There are no fusion reactors.


Well over a thousand fission reactors are in use around the world. They are all ridiculously safe and produce cheap power. A few thousand more and all the world’s coal and gas could stay safe in the ground. We have enough fuel for fission reactors for several thousand years, possibly forever. Also, maybe at some time in the future practical fusion reactors could become a reality, so then we are OK for at least a few million years.


Always remember that solar energy happens because the Sun is a slow burning fusion reactor, and that geothermal energy happens because our Earth is a slow burning fission reactor. Wind and  hydro power ultimately depend of the fusion energy from the Sun.


For transport maybe we can stay with petroleum fuels while simultaneously expanding the biofuel industry. The power generating industry, using gas and coal is around five times worse than petroleum fueled transport.


This Blue Book is about taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. How we stop putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is explained in more detail in the sister publication, the Yellow Book.


Climate change ends, global warming stops, extreme weather events cease, Bangladesh stays afloat, coastal cities around the world stop flooding, tropical islands don’t drown. And farmers can once again sow their crops with tolerable confidence in the weather for the coming season. But this is not at all what the media like to say. For in that scenario the geocarbon industries will have long gone. So a different picture is painted and sold to us.


We are led to believe that in the matters of global warming and climate change and the way we handle it, options are still available to us when there is none. And if we are coerced into accepting that options are available we then must logically presume that urgency and immediate actions are not needed.  We embrace a false and dangerous sense of security. The unpleasant reality is that we are now approaching the point where the global warming process will becomes totally irreversible, and that is   irrespective  of what action we take and whatever efforts we make.


When that tipping point is passed the concept of massively reducing our consumption of fossils and agro chemicals becomes totally pointless.  To the agrochemical and geocarbon industries irreversible global warming is actually not an unpleasant scenario.  Sales will continue and could even expand.


To prevent global warming we have to almost entirely cease using fossil fuels as an energy source and cease the use of agro chemicals  in farming.  Those businesses will go out of business.  But like the cigarette companies  they will do all in their power to, not only stay in business but to expand their operations and increase their profitability


A recent paper produced by Prof. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University and while he was serving a two year tenure a Stanford University documented  a list of companies and institutions funding a variety of organizations backing marketing campaign to promote the concept that global warming and climate change didn’t exist or if it did it presented negligible risks to the world.  The funding for this Perception Management  and advertising campaign,  at the time of writing of the report had risen to just under $1 billion dollars annually.  For a copy and information on the report go to


Here in Australia it’s very much more difficult to obtain the amount of money funding the global warming deniers campaigns. But what is available, and would probably be there if needed, can be easily deduced. Just consider oil. We in Australia consume approximately one million barrels of oil a day. If for example $3 dollars a barrel was allocated to promote doubt, confusion and uncertainty, or even the very existence of the phenomenon, or doubt in the seriousness of the destructive nature of the phenomenon,  there would be $3 million dollars a day to spend. That’s a little over One Billion Dollars every single year to achieve their aims. That much money buys a lot of influence.


And we all suffer the consequences.


Kofi Annan , when Secretary General of the United Nations gave a well documented estimation that loss of life, due to the global warming, destabilization of atmospheric and oceanic flow systems, and their allied extreme weather events,  was killing in excess of 300,000 people per year. Additionally, the cost of damages, apart from human life, were then estimated at in excess of $1 trillion dollars per year.

If we don’t act things will get continuously worse, and it will for all humanity’s foreseeable future.


In 2012, The Guardian Newspaper reported on a study on climate change. The study was commissioned by 20 governments around the world, along with those nations forming the Climate Vulnerable Forum. It was compiled by more than 50 scientists, economists and policy experts.

It reported on the costs of what is happening in the Earth’s biosphere.–

Reporting on the effect of extreme weather events:

“Global warming and climate change is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion a year, and wiping 1.6% annually from global GDP” . 

It further stated that —-

“Air pollution by the use of fossil fuels is also separately contributing to the deaths of at least 4,500,000 people a year, the report found.”


The November 2014 G20 summit in Brisbane called for an added 0.25% a year to world GDP for the next four years (2.1% by 2018).  World GDP is now around $80 trillion so a $1.2 trillion climate change cost equates to 1.5% of World GDP.


It sounds positive but that’s has to be carefully thought through. During a war everybody works hard and for long hours. The Gross Domestic Product, the sum total of all a nation produces, thus rises massively. But making guns and bullets does not in any way increase the standard of living of the people. The GDP goes up, but the standard of living of the people goes down. Building walls in Holland to stop ocean flooding, rebuilding destroyed bridges and houses and towns, significantly increases the nations GDP, but definitely not the standard of living of its people.


It’s now being more generally appreciated that Global Warming, with its now very expensive resulting climate changes have now effectively pegged future rises in the standards of living of almost all human societies on Earth. And most notably, the affluent ones.


The biosphere is that thin layer of the Earth’s crust wherein all life exists. The biosphere encompasses the atmosphere, all the lakes and oceans of the world, and the land area of the planet down to say 40 metres, and land covers about 30% of the planet.


In round figures for every square metre of the Earth’s surface there is about       TEN tonnes of air,

about         FORTY tonnes of rock and soil



Measuring air temperatures is thus not a particularly accurate measure for the average rise in temperature of the Earth’s biosphere.


Without the world’s oceans the heating would have been much faster. Over the course of the expansion of our use of geocarboniferous materials to power our societies about half the carbon dioxide generated has been absorbed into the surface of the world’s oceans as carbonic acid. We know carbonic acid as “soda water” or “aerated water”. Then it slowly mixes into deep ocean water. The oceans have now reached a point where the acidity is damaging the formation of the shells of mollusks, shellfish and coruscations.


Antarctic krill are coruscations, like small prawns, and that’s mostly what Baleen Whales live on. The same for the Humpback, the Mink, the Right Whale and the Blue Whale. The Blue Whale is the biggest animal on the planet. Some weigh in at 200 tonnes.  Around Alaska we have the krill eating Bowhead Whale. The Bowhead can live for over 200 years. But soon there won’t be krill, and those whales will probably start starving, and dying in huge numbers.

Edmund Burke 1729 – 1797 was a renowned Irish political philosopher, politician and statesman said it succinctly: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. I say, simply change “evil” to “irreversible global warming” and you have the world today.


Removing the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere relies on an agricultural system with a very little requirement for classic agrochemicals. Production won’t decrease, in the slightest.


Why? It should be understood that the huge increases in crop yields we have seen over the last half century have been because we have become masters at developing high yielding plants varieties. It’s a complete marketing fiction to claim it’s the result of the use of powerful chemicals.


Really huge yields are obtained by growing these new and prolific varieties in rich fertile soils. And those soils, without chemicals, stay rich and fertile indefinitely.


In general the organic matter content of soils around the world varies from a low of around 1% to often well over 10%. Our agricultural soils range from 2% up. Prairie and savanna soils vary up to around 5%, and after several years of using chemical based agriculture, they drop to regularly under 2%. If, from today the soils man controls went up a net 1.8% above their current levels and to a depth of about one foot or 300 mm, climate change would end.


As is now well understood: The extra global warming causing the extreme weather effects we are constantly experiencing results from our modification of the optical properties of the atmosphere. The higher content of carbon dioxide (and methane) seriously impedes the outflow of infrared light from the Earth’s surface but does not impede the inflow energy in natural sunlight. In consequence more energy is retained in the biosphere and so the average temperature of the biosphere rises. It’s exactly the same energy entrapping process that occurs in a commercial greenhouse.


Greenhouse gasses trap more heat in the biosphere. Now, as the surface of an object warms it emits more radiant heat. So the warmer ground surfaces of the planet emit more infrared heat until the outflow of infrared energy again equals the inflow of solar energy. The resultant average temperature of the Earth’s biosphere ultimately determines world weather patterns, the flow and pattern of ocean currents of and in turn the structure of world climates.


The greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere act like a sheet of glass in a greenhouse. It’s a valid analogy to say that for the million years, up to about the early 1900s our Earth was covered with one sheet of window glass. And temperatures were relatively stable.


Then less than a quarter of a million years ago, modern humans evolved. Starting in the early 1900s humans began digging up and burning geological carbon for fuel and in the 1930 started using powerful agricultural chemicals to grow crops. Those two actions meant we started adding the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide to the air in every increasing quantities.


At the moment, the extra carbon dioxide is the equivalent of saying we have double glazed half the planet. That’s why the biosphere is getting hotter. But the sheer mass of the biosphere has been  delaying the rate of heating


All soils are simply weathered down friable rock materials containing long chain biologically derived organic carbon compounds. Soil also contains microbes, fungi and earthworms, all in turn involved in the transformation of dead plant roots and leaf material into stable humic substances.


Agriculture based on the continuous enhancement of the organic matter content of the soil produces healthy, tasty and much more nutritional grains, vegetables and fruits.


Increasing the organic matter content of agricultural soils is not rocket science. Market gardeners, Organic farmers, Biodynamic farmers and many, totally, so called, “conventional” farmers and graziers have being doing it for years.


We don’t want or need Universities and government agencies telling our farmers what they can do, or must do, or how to run, their farm. We just need to pay them for increasing the organic matter content of their soils and do it any way they can. It’s a nonsense to imagine that a bunch of university students and their learned professors, studying soils for half a decade are going to beat 100,000 farmers with a commercial incentive, and in a real hurry to enhance the fertility of their soils. And besides we don’t have time to waste.


Academia and the Australian Tax Office slavishly promotes the massive use of chemicals. No matter how deadly to soil life, no matter how destructive to soil organic matter those chemicals are, their use by a farmer is a tax deductable expense. Thus the insanity is, that tax payers are currently subsidizing the destruction of our nation’s soils by the process of turning valuable carbon rich humus into the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.


We let farmers figure out the best way to create an abundance of soil organic matter on their own farm. All that is then required is to have a simple, practical and honest system of testing the increases in the carbon content of the soil in the selected area.


It seems inconceivable but up until just recently, August 2012 nowhere in the world did a practical protocol exist for measuring the mass of atmospheric carbon dioxide that farmers might sequester into their soil. However, after twelve years of study and research the EU Countries produced a usable relevant standard. It’s Standard EN 15935 and EN 15934 “Sludge, Treated Biowaste, Soil and Waste”. The standard was  formally approved 24 May 2012 for all CEN Member States.  CEN members comprise the national standards bodies of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom.


It is ludicrous that this EU Standard accepted as a legal standard by all those States is not considered relevant in Australia by those people who run the Australian Department of the Environment. Their decisions also guarantees that Australian farmers are denied any chance of access to any EU Government backed Carbon Credits Market. It is even more ludicrous as the Australia Standards Association is actually a Partner Standardization Bodies, a PSB of CEN.  PSBs are “National Standards Bodies that are a member of ISO, but are unlikely to become CEN Members or CEN Affiliates for political or geographical reasons.” (Wiki)


Sometimes especially with government bureaucracies the organizations setup to achieve the stated objective lose the plot on what is trying to be achieved. So we will always be stuck with the verbose, ill-defined, unnecessary and pointless procedures that are the life blood of most government departments.


World climate change is too horrendous a possibility and to likely a probability, so where a real possibility exists to prevent it, the actions required must not continue to be stifled by bureaucratic red tape and stupidity.


So let’s be clear. The absolutely essential objective must be to return atmospheric greenhouse levels to the relatively stable normals that have existed on Earth throughout all human existence. Those levels have set weather patterns and ocean flow circulation patterns that have determined for us where we build our cities, where we grow our food, where we build our ports, our roads and rail lines and where we live and where we play. By changing the optical properties of our atmosphere we are creating an unpredictable and unknowable new biosphere.


We cannot afford to let that happen. We must stop mining geologically buried carbon and adding it to the biosphere. But the immediate and most urgent requirement is that we redistribute the excess carbon it the atmosphere into organic carbon in the soil. The farmers of the world can do that by systematically enhancing the fertility of the soils they farm. There is just no plan B known and we no longer have time to search for some illusive, cure all, magic bullet.


It became obvious to many, even prior to the publication of EN 15934 and EN 15935 that a practical and “user friendly” protocol was required for a practical site soil sampling and collection procedure. Additionally, what was obviously required and needed  was a piece of equipment that could accurately and reliably test more practical and meaningful sized soil samples. And do it cheaply and accurately.


I therefore developed a protocol that is easy to use and adheres both to the guidelines published prior to the final approval of EN15935/4 and now to those recently approved standards. Loss On Ignition testing for changes in soil carbon content is now the generally preferred procedure around the world. EU 15935 and EU 15934 nominate and are structured around the use of Loss On Ignition procedures. In our protocols and designs, we exceed the EU requirements for sample sizes and preparation.


Up until the recent development of our own test equipment soil test samples around the world were regularly as small as  0.5 grams although 5 grams and 10 gram test sample sizes are regularly used. When paddocks might regularly exceed 1,000 hectares such tiny samples lack conviction and believability.


Additionally, our field sampling procedures are broader to cater for the larger field sizes more commonly occurring in Australia.


To reward farmers for sequestrating the excess carbon dioxide in the air and safely entrapping it as soil humus in agricultural soils it was absolutely necessary to develop, design, and manufacture a more appropriate soil carbon test unit, a “Carbon Still” that can heat and weigh samples of a more believable 2,000 grams. The unit had to easily do two things. It had to first heat samples up to the specific temperatures nominated in both EU Standards; and those widely used in laboratory Loss On Ignition (LOI) tests procedures around the world and secondly measure the weight loss while remaining within the test unit and at temperature above 100o C.


In a LOI test a sample of soil is first dried then weighed. The sample is then heated to some predetermined temperature, generally around 500oC or slightly above, in the presence of air. At these temperatures all the organic carbon based materials, all the humus, all the stable decomposed plant life and all the soil microbes are burnt off. The soil sample becomes lighter. That weight loss is referred to as a Loss On Ignition or LOI  weight loss.


Japanese researchers among others confirmed that when temperatures are raised above 525o C or even 550o C there is generally no further significant weight loss. In formulating the EU Standard a temperature of 550o C + or – 25o C was selected.  So an operating temperature of temperature of 550o C + or – 25o C was selected for our Carbon Still’s operation.


In the Carbon Still air is directed through the enclosed soil sample itself. This allows a large sample to be fully dried in a matter of minutes simply by passing air, at a temperature slightly above 100o C, through the sample. The temperature of the exiting air is always below 100o C until all moisture has left the sample. The sample is weighed without removing from the test unit and while still above 100o C. Air temperatures are raised but for practical purposes generally kept below 500o C until ignition of the carbon compounds is completed. Then finally the inlet air temperature is raised to the nominated test temperature, usually just above 525o C and stabilized there for a few minutes. The burn off process to correctly establish the LOI is then complete.


Air at 105o C is again passed through the sample until the exhaust air temperature again stabilizes 105o C.. Then, still within the Carbon Still, it is reweighed determine its weight LOI.


With this Carbon Still neither ancillary equipment nor laboratory access is required for its operation. All that is needed is a garage type air compressor to supply air, and an electric power outlet to run the heating elements.

I am not alone in believing that global warming, climate change and the destabilization of all world weather systems is now becoming the greatest danger humanity and human societies and indeed the majority of life on Earth, have faced in our 150,000 year existence.


We must turn atmospheric carbon dioxide into rich fertile soil and thus end this cancerous climate change phenomena. So it is essential that we pay our farmers enough (and for insurance and for certainty we should consider much more  than enough) to absolutely insure that our farmers massively increase the fertility of their soils. By “farmers” I include those that control land and can decide how their soil is handled – for example owners of golf courses.


And naturally to make that happen, we required a practical and workable system and protocol to collect and test farm soils to correctly document the increases in soil carbon content and so be able to reward those we are relying on, to halt global warming. We now have that available.


We have months, hopefully years but certainly not decades to start the reduction of atmospheric greenhouse levels. To make it happen in reality, and happen quickly, there are really only two decisions to be made.


The first is how much do we pay our farmers and how is that handled?


Answer:    The Australian Federal Coalition Parties have already assured us they intend to pay farmers $10 for every tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent sequestered into their soil, and we can easily handle that through any of our Federal or State agricultural bodies. That payment has to be prompt and in full. It must not be some nebulous and dubious payment spread over the next one hundred years. That’s what we have now. It’s foolish and has to be changed for it’s been a failure of monumental proportions.  (Update December —This was a pre-election promise which has been watered down to a highly complex and unworkable bidding system with hopelessly unworkable compliance requirements. Apart from the agrochemical industries, it is hard to imagine who would benefit from such installed and carefully regulated nonsense )


Second:     How do we test farm soil for carbon levels and when and where in the paddock do we test.

Answer:     We should first appreciate that we are to pay farmers for increases in soil carbon on an area basis, i.e. tonnes per hectare. A soil sample therefore must be based on the surface area of the particular test. It is not based on the weight of soil under that test sample area. It’s based only on the weight of organic matter present and how much that has increased.  Difficult, expensive to determine and wasteful assessments, such as soil density therefore become unnecessary and irrelevant. The current practice of collecting samples at various depths to obtain soil carbon profiles is also unnecessary and irrelevant, and pointlessly expensive.


Soil test locations within a paddock must be determined randomly.  Many systems have been devised and some are suitable albeit complex and expensive. Such protocols are extremely easy to devise and can also be easily modified to suit individual farm areas.


Current practice is that cores are carefully collected from many small diameter test holes all separated into strata. The strata are bulked and from these, tiny, almost minuscule samples are taken for individual chemical analysis.


To determine the carbon content of samples, either of a variety of chemical analysis systems is used. Alternatively a Loss On Ignition (LOI) test is conducted. With LOI the sample is simply heated to a nominated temperature where all organic carbon materials are oxidized into carbon dioxide. LOI is becoming the preferred test process.


Currently test samples to determine the carbon content of maybe many hectares of farm or grazing land, are from as low as 0.2 grams up to a maximum of 12 grams in weight, depending on the type of test. That means that the biggest test samples are no more than one third of an ounce. That’s about two teaspoons of soil.


Test samples, several hundred to several thousand times larger, are more logical. Results from testing two kilogram sized samples are obviously more believable, more acceptable and more trustworthy. Such tests are now practical and economical with the two kilogram capacity Carbon Still and these tests do not require access to high technology laboratory facilities.


Additionally these test procedures equal, or exceed the requirements of EN 15934  and EN 15935.


To ensure the permanence of the increased carbon content of the soil one simple means would be that, when government payments are made to the owner of an area of land for increasing the fertility of the soil or carbon content then a “Carbon Mortgage” for that land could be created to be held by the government. Then at any time in the next 25 or 50 or even 100 years, or until atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have decreased to an agreed figure (say 299 ppm) then if the carbon content of that soil drops below the rewarded increase then the land and the owner becomes liable for the excess payments awarded in respect of that land. The Carbon Mortgage or the Carbon Caveat would simply be attached to the title to the land. If the land was sold, any such liability would naturally come off the purchase price. (This procedure would need to suit an individual country’s legal procedures.)


With a suitable protocol that makes it practical to reward land owners for sequestrating atmospheric carbon dioxide into their soils, we have a means and a chance of stopping global warming and ending constant climate change; and simultaneously increasing the productivity and health of the nation.


With Australia demonstrating the feasibility and practicality of soil carbon sequestration, responsible and concerned citizens in other countries especially the US and the EU could demand similar procedures. That buys humanity just enough time to switch to nuclear energy for power and the general use of biofuels for self contained transport.


Ending global warming and restoring world climate stability is therefore a real possibility. If we act now.
















SUMMARY of Yeomans Protocol For Soil Sample Collection, and Testing                             


Calculations for sequestration payments are to be based on the surface area of the samples and the surface area of the paddock. What is important is ultimately knowing the changes in the Loss On Ignition (LOI) under the respective surfaces areas. By this means, soil density becomes irrelevant.


Core samples should be a minimum of 100 mm in diameter. 200 mm is recommended.


Initial core depth should be a minimum of 300 mm and preferably 400 mm to 600 mm or more. All core sample depths must be the same. If rock is encountered sand or any other temperature inert material should be added to make up the mass of the sample to others in the paddock. Depth selection in subsequent years can be less but cannot exceed the original core sample depths.


All material within the cores is to be collected.


Paddock areas should be subdivided into a minimum of four approximately equal areas. Where soil types or farming history varies the subdivisions should, as much as is practical, be representative of the soil type variations within the paddock.


At least one core, located randomly, should be taken from each subdivision. The same number of cores should be taken from each subdivision. If more cores are taken from a subdivision then these should be bulked and a sample subdivided off so as to equal those totals from the other subdivisions.


In subsequent years core locations are again to be determined randomly within the subdivisions. For example a random distance off in a random direction from the previous year’s locations is simple and produces results that would be completely acceptable by all.


All samples are bulked and divided to produce a sample of around 50 to 100 litres. This sample will logically represent a specific land area.


Rocks and large plant materials are removed. The material is screened through a 2 mm sieve and small stones are brushed to remove attached soil. These stones are discarded.


For convenience in testing, this screened soil sample is weighed.


From this sample a “Heating Sample” with a weight of around 2 kg is obtained. The ratio of this weight to the screened bulk sample is recorded.


This final “Heating Sample” is then heated to between 105oC and 118oC in an air stream to remove all free water. Hold all temperatures above 100o C for no less than two minutes.


The “Heating Sample” is reweighed.


The Heating Sample is heated in the presence of air to 550o C +/– 25o C and held at that temperature until oxidation is complete and all temperatures stabilize. This state is to be maintained for at least 5 minutes.


The Loss On Ignition (LOI) weight from heating this Heating Sample is multiplied by the various ratios to obtain what would be the LOI for the whole paddock.


It should be appreciated that in subsequent tests the geological material won’t significantly change. Any increase in the LOI weight will consequently be a direct measure of the increase in soil organic matter.


Organic matter is 58% carbon. (The 58% does vary a little for soil types. 55% is sometimes used but provided the same figure is always used for the particular farm, the errors for payment calculations are negligible.)


That carbon weight when multiplied by 3.66 gives the weight of carbon dioxide removed from the air to produce that quantity of soil organic material. That final weight multiplied by $10 is the payment to be made to the land owner.


If a land owner participates in a soil carbon payment program, it must be on the understanding that should he wish to terminate the program, then results from the last three years of the program will not qualify for payments. Those last three years must be similarly tested but the tests are only required to validate previous payments. An alternative system could be that the soil carbon increases could become subject to a form of “carbon mortgage” on that soil carbon content on that property and thus transferable on sale.


The first and urgent requirement is the governmental approval of a workable practical protocol, which is trusted by farmers. Those were the design requirements in constructing the Yeomans Protocol.


A protocol and a payment procedure along these lines was submitted to the Australian Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee in early September 2013. We will see which is considered by them as the most important, procedural requirements or pending irreversible global heating. (update December 2014 – it seems the procedural requirements of the Australian Department of the Environment far exceed any viable efforts to end climate change. My submission was rejected out of hand by department officials. They did not even submit it to the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee.)



Current State of Play, Money’s Influence and Kyoto’s Platitudes and Placebos




The current available literature indicates clearly that nowhere in either the European Union nor in any of the English speaking countries of the world, nor apparently anywhere else do sensible and workable protocols exist for the collection of soil samples and for their testing to reliably show changes in the organic matter content of the soil.

A sensible system that would reward farmers for the sequestration of carbon dioxide into their soils doesn’t currently exist.


As at 2014, increasing the organic matter content of the soils under man’s control by an average of 94 tonnes per hectare, that the equivalent of 200 tonnes per hectare CO2 would end all climate change. (The common ratio is 2.126 tonnes of CO2 to form one tonne of organic matter.) We do that and we restore the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to those existing before the industrial revolution. It’s all very feasible. Soils with high humus levels will require as much as 800 tonnes of atmospheric carbon dioxide to form.



Uncleared Australian scrub land soils typically contain around 25 to 50 tonnes CO2 equivalent, per hectare. These figures are factual. It’s all standard, well understood soil chemistry.


Our very poor soils can contain below 20 tonnes CO2 equivalent per hectare.  Rich grassed savannas and the original US prairie land soils often contained in excess of 500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per hectare. With mono cropping and chemical based agriculture many of these soil levels have dropped to well below 50 tonnes per hectare, CO2 equivalent.


With astute farming practices the original levels can be rapidly restored.

Within the agrochemical industries that claim is disputed, and possibly, and in consequence, within much of academia it is also either disputed, doubted or totally ignored. Yet organic farmers regularly exceed those claims.


And that too is factual.


The assessed probability is that within the next decade runaway heating will become completely beyond human control. It will soon occur as current warming reaches the point where methane releases from permafrost thawing and methane releases from deep ocean methane-hydrates deposits exceeds any possible human ability to halt the warming process.


Global warming becomes totally unstoppable.




The money available to continuously fund the pro fossil carbon industries advertising, public relations and image creation campaign in Australia is huge. And it’s there to buy utter confusion or irreconcilable doubt in our minds.



Australia uses 1,000,000 barrels of oil a day, so allowing a modest $3 a barrel for public relations they have $3,000,000 a day to modify our understanding of the issue. They want us to accept that extraction geological carbon from deep and stable deposits, then burning it for energy and depositing the waste carbon dioxide and methane into the biosphere is, somehow, not extremely damaging. The reality is that geocarboniferous materials must for the foreseeable future stay in the ground.


Australia consumes 150,000,000 tonnes of coal a year. At just $3 a tonne that’s gives another $1,200,000 a day.


Over $3,000,000 a day is thus available to the geocarbon industries in Australia to market the concept that global warming and climate change either is being brought under control, or doesn’t exist, or it’s too late to do anything about it. We are manipulated to believe that tropical rain forests reduce greenhouse gas levels, when they actually increase them. We are told that planting useless trees on agricultural land is better than enriching the soil. We are taught that nuclear energy is more dangerous than coal, when coal is many times worse. We are taught that cars can’t be built to run on ethanol when companies do just that in Brazil and also fly their aircraft on ethanol. We are taught that food can only be produced safely and economically using masses of agricultural chemicals, and that’s a definite and obvious lie. We are taught that chemically fed plants are as healthy as organically grown foods when they don’t even taste like that could be true. We are taught that our standard of living is based on geocarboniferous materials when in reality it’s based on reliable and economical energy, and that energy can be from anywhere that doesn’t spew carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We are taught that the world’s new “extreme weather events” are unrelated to us heating up the whole biosphere.


And the big problem is, we go on believing them!


Australia might have $3 million a day but in the US the geocarbon industries public relations organizations have around $40 million a day.




It would be naïve to think that in 1997 the geocarbon industries didn’t take meaningful and serious efforts to stage manage the Kyoto Conference on global warming. In summary, the final outcome was “Let’s set vague and unenforceable targets, and have another meeting some time. And we’ll call it the “Kyoto Protocol”.  And then even this vague “Kyoto Protocol” didn’t come into effect for seven years. That’s February 2005.


Since then the overwhelming evidence is that the Kyoto Protocol has been an outstanding “success”, for the geocarbon industries. Sales of natural gas, oil and coal have continued to rise. Cars have become bigger. The enormous threat of sugar cane ethanol and oil palm biodiesel has been countered by the “save the rain forest “ campaigns and the creation of a generally “unsavory” image for biofuels. Nuclear energy has come to be regarded as dangerous. And nowhere in the world is a farmer paid for taking carbon dioxide from the air and converting it into humus rich soil.


In all countries where systems have been put in place to combat global warming, those systems have been constructed to be hugely expensive, incredible unsuccessful, and monstrously complex. All such schemes have had absolutely negligible effect on the sale and use of geologically derived carboniferous fuels and chemicals.


The image manipulation fed to us that the problem is “under control” has also been brilliantly successful. The gullible, it now seems, genuinely believe that “something serious is being done to curb global warming”.



John F Kennedy said:

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive,

and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of

opinion without the discomfort of thought.”


Following many expensive meetings and conferences, the Kyoto protocols continue to be effectively meaningless. The last meeting was in Doha in December 2012.  Doha is in QATAR. “The Dona Amendment” was passed so now the structured “Kyoto Protocols” will continue until December 2020. We should note that the entire economic wealth of Qatar is based on oil.


Australia with its huge land area and strong central government has to be the most important nation on Earth in the fight against climate change. Because I believe ending global warming has to start here in Australia. Australia must therefore, never be placated by Kyoto bureaucratese and international placebos.


To reward farmers for sequestrating atmospheric carbon dioxide in soil, a protocol must be in place that is simple and practical for determining where soil samples should be obtained in a paddock.


The core depth should extend to below the expected production zone of new organic matter. The core sample weight should not be so tiny as to warrant meticulous collecting procedures. The test procedure should be simple and cheap. Loss On Ignition is currently proving the most practical means of testing on a regular basis. The Loss On Ignition procedure should not require access to high tech and distant laboratories. The procedure should be inexpensive and accurately repeatable. And it can be.


IOCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) propose to detect the changes in SOC (Soil Organic Stocks) with a confidence level of 95%. The Kyoto Protocol accepts these requirements. To demand that degree of accuracy for on-farm soil testing is quite nonsensical and would certainly guarantee the impossibility of any form of meaningful soil carbon sequestration. It does however guarantee the huge and ongoing sales of agricultural chemicals.


Kyoto protocols like to insist that carbon stored as soil organic matter and humic substances in general must last for one hundred years. For all but the agrochemical industries it’s a ludicrous demand. The reality is that the necessary period has two only essential requirements.


First:  It must operate until geocarbon materials entering the atmosphere have dropped to insignificant levels.


Second: It must operate until atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have dropped  to below 299 parts per million. [Pre industrial levels were 275 ppm. Current levels are over 385 ppm (Update late 2014: they hit 400)].

Mike Keogh is Executive Director of the Australian Farmers Institute. He was the Policy General Manager of the NSW Farmers Association. He worked for ten years as an agricultural consultant in both the public and private sectors. Before that he was a research officer at the University of NSW. He has degrees in wool and pastoral science.


Commenting on the Kyoto Protocol Keogh clarifies its anti-soil carbon bias. He laments that it is so structured that it virtually precludes soil carbon sequestration ever being seriously considered as a means of combating global warming.


Keogh notes that —

“The Marrakech Accord rules associated with Article 3.4 of the Kyoto Protocol (which essentially deals with soil carbon in agricultural lands) makes it almost impossible for Australia to include soil carbon in our national inventory, and therefore as a component of the Emissions Trading Scheme. In addition, the high level of uncertainty about future greenhouse gas accounting rules post-2012 makes it highly unlikely soil carbon will be able to be included as an offset in an official ETS post that date.”


This seems to confirm that—

The geocarbon and agrochemical industries have structured the Kyoto Protocol to be a red herring across the path of genuine global warming common sense.


If we are to win the war against global warming and against the people that need it to continue, then we have to totally abandon our misplaced trust and misplaced respect for the Kyoto Protocol. And do it our way.





There are now masses of literature written on the subject and there have been huge sums of money squandered on meaningless studies on the subject of soil carbon sequestration. Soil carbon sequestration is the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by the process of enhancing the fertility of our world’s agricultural soils.


Reviewing all this mass of literature and all the “studies” undertaken, and still being undertaken, it becomes obvious there is no practical method, no system and no protocol, anywhere in the world that would allow us to pay our farmers for getting our atmosphere back to normal.


The problem is not how to build soil fertility. The information is out there in abundance. And if it’s worthwhile for our farmers, then they’ll soon figure out how best to rapidly build the fertility of their soils. The problem is simply to set up a sensible and practical system so we can pay our farmers for doing it.


There are some basic fundamental requirements on which a soil carbon funding system must be based to be acceptable to the taxpayers who fund it.


The only important factor is the ability to measure the increases in the organic matter content of the farmer’s soil. Nothing else is of any meaningful significance, or importance.


The following factors cover the obvious and necessary requirements for a system to function satisfactorily.


A monitoring system must be easy and cheap to operate and easy and cheap and accurate to monitor. Both parties must trust the readings being collected. Preferably the system should not require access to high-tech and generally distant and expensive laboratories.




ONE    A simple and workable protocol must be employed to select sampling locations in the paddock.



TWO    The knowledge required is how much carbon does the field now hold. The field is an area of land. It follows that the size of the samples collected should themselves be determined by the surface area of land covering the particular sample.

(Almost invariably the current practice is to obtain a sample and weigh it. Then go to an immense amount of testing and weighing to ascertain the density of the sample. From those calculations the weight per unit of area is calculated and finally the weight per hectare is calculated. Determining soil density is an error prone procedure at any time. Soil density can vary almost throughout the day and certainly after rain.)


THREE     Field core samples should be of a size than can be expected to relate meaningfully to areas of possibly hundreds of hectares. Field samples should not be tiny and also not require expert care in collecting. Individual field sample should be around 10 litres of soil and extend down for a minimum of 400 mm. For example: a 150 mm diameter post hole digger going to a depth of 400 mm would produce an ideal sample and the area would be that of a 150 mm diameter circle. For soil carbon sequestration, there is no point in knowing if the added organic matter is concentrated at any particular depth. Such information is expensive and superfluous.  Almost invariably the current practice is to use core samplers between 25 mm and 50 mm in diameter and to collect samples at a whole range of depths.


FOUR     Final soil test samples after bulking and screening through a 2 mm sieve should be reduced to no less than 500 grams in weight. More accuracy is achieved with two kilogram samples. Almost invariably the current practice is to use samples of less than 10 grams. Some procedures use a sample of 0.2 grams and expect from that sample to determine the soil organic matter content of possibly 100 hectares of land. The accuracy of the carbon content of the tested sample is probably very good but to imagine it is an accurate measure of the soil carbon existing in a big paddock is hardly believable.


FIVE   Loss On Ignition (LOI) systems seem now to be by far the most practical for motoring changes in soil organic matter and should be used. LOI is also accepted for accuracy and consistency. LOI procedures require only a heating system for the soil and a means of weighing the samples. Other procedures use a series of sequential chemical tests. These procedures were originally designed to test the mineral content of soils and so determined what chemicals should be added to the soil to obtain better crop yields. Determining soil fertility and soil carbon content was not the prime requirement. Such analyses are unnecessarily complex if determining relative soil organic carbon variations is the only requirement. And it is the only requirement for soil carbon sequestration.


With Loss On Ignition procedures a test sample needs to be dried. Drying temperatures should exceed 100o C but for chemically reasons it is advisable to not exceed 1200 C. The dried sample must then be weighed. It then must be heated  in air (or oxygen) burn off the organic carbon continuances. The sample must again be weighed to determine the weight loss resulting from Loss On Ignition.


By knowing the ration of the heated sample to the paddock area the total for the paddock can easily be calculated.


Around 5000 C or a little above is the most common temperature nominated in LOI procedures. Japanese research shows that the heating temperature has to be above 5000 C. they found that some forms of humus did not burn off at temperatures below 5000 C.


Heating significantly above 5000 C, in some soils can cause break down of geological based carbon compounds and geological materials containing magmatic water. So temperatures should not exceed 6000 C.


Some test procedures use temperatures as low as 3500 C. These lower temperatures could create unacceptable errors and so these temperatures should not be considered. It should again be noted that while organic carbon percentages will rise as fertility increases, the weight loss due to any peculiarity in the local geology won’t. The geological materials over the last million years or so have inevitably developed into very stable and consistent chemical structures.


SIX   The increase in weight of organic matter for the paddock being tested can then be calculated and the payments to the landholder determined. To ensure that land owners are not totally discouraged by undue and self defeating complexities these payments should be upfront and easy to collect.


We need parameters that both the tax payer and the farmer can trust.


To comply with the above parameters the Yeomans Carbon Still was designed to operate between 525o and 575oC. Sample sizes are 2000 grams. The temperature is controlled by regulating oxygen inputs during the heating phase. Means of regulating temperatures are necessary when handling large samples especially those containing high levels of combustible materials. The Yeomans Carbon Still can do that. The accuracy of weighing is approximately 1 in 1000.


Systems such as the EU system for in field soil sample collection were designed to obtain information requested for measurements within the “Kyoto Protocol”. A simpler system, but with information collected over several years, gives statistical results that more than cover the Kyoto requirements. The proposed Yeomans protocol for collection and testing would satisfy Kyoto demands and permit the operation of a practical reward system for Australian farmers.










December 2014 – Update on Australia’s New LNP

Federal Government’s Useless Actions on Preventing Climate Change.                                    


In September –2013 we had a federal election. The Australian Labor Party was voted out of office and a Liberal Party/National Party coalition were elected to power.


The Labor Party while in office went on a spending spree by borrowing money unparalleled in Australian history. Unfortunately the money was wasted on hopelessly impractical projects. Waste on a scale also unparalleled in Australian history. What was previously a well managed economy inevitably degenerated into a financial shamble.


The government then saw a shortfall in expected revenue of some $50 billion. Therefore somehow tax revenue had to be increased by $50 billion. Some sort of taxation levy was needed. An extra tax on cigarettes or milk or petrol or alcohol or meat would guarantee that the government would be thrown out of office at the next federal election. And so the concept on taxing energy and describing it as a worthy and necessary requirement to combat global warming was conceived. If sufficient emitters of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere were charged $25 a tonne for that carbon dioxide emitted then the collected funds could approximate the $50 billion shortfalls. The concept could be promoted as a type of urgent “wartime tax” to combat the threat of climate change of which the people were gradually becoming cognizant.


The use of these funds to constructively combat global warming was to be at the most a lip service response. Research bodies could be formed to “study and advise”, Government departments could be expanded to compose endless reports on possible measures to be taken to “save the planet”. The whole thing could be sold as “a tax we had to have”. A few million could be spent on insulating the roofs of houses, a few million on university grants and a few million could be spent subsidizing the installation of solar panels in houses. And that would still leave billions to balance the budget. All good public relations material, none of which would in any way meaningfully affect the sales of fossil fuels nor agrochemicals but would possibly go a long way towards somehow manufacturing a “balanced budget”.


The coalition parties specifically hammered the “carbon tax” and the phenomenal increase in waste, mismanagement and the massive increase in the size and cost of the Labor Party run federal bureaucracy. As a result the coalition won government in September 2013.


During Labor parties time in office Greg Combet was the Minister for the Environment.  I had repeatedly contacted the Department and Minister Combet in an effort to have them realize both the seriousness of us overheating the biosphere and the immense cost in human lives and property that was already happening. I repeatedly warned that extreme weather events would continue to escalate both in frequency and severity. My letters were dutifully answered with a string of stereotype platitudes.


Greg Hunt was the Coalition’s Shadow Minister for the Environment. The Coalition Parties had themselves constructed an “Action Plan” which contained suggestions for policies on how the Coalition would handle the Global Warming issues.


To me the LNP’s “Action Plan” was encouraging as it incorporated many of my proposals especially my concept of removing carbon dioxide from the air by the systematic enhancement of the fertility of agricultural soils. I had been arguing to pay farmers $10 a tonne for carbon dioxide sequestered into soil. Coalition pre-election policy, adopted a value between $8 and $10. That was close enough, that would work.


In December 2013, following the September election an effort was made by Greg Hunt, the new Minister for the Environment to have such a policy in place before the approaching Christmas.


But there is powerful opposition.


It must be appreciated that the techniques for the rapid increase in the humus, organic matter and fertility of soil involve a massive decrease in the use of almost all forms of agricultural chemicals and fertilizers. The companies that manufacture and sell these chemicals are huge, and like the cigarette companies before them, they do not intend to go out of business. Their techniques for influencing social actions and opinions is broad scale. It’s well honed and frighteningly effective. Incompetent, they are not.


I made overtures to the Government to change the theme by calling it the “Emission Reduction and Sequestration Fund”. I wanted the word “Sequestration” added as without sequestration emission reductions becomes pointless. But they still left the word out.


I attended select government organized meetings of “stakeholders”, and interested parties, along with many bureaucrats from the Department of the Environment. The professed reason for these meetings was to determine the best, the quickest and the cheapest way to structure a system to ensure that farmers began converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into soil organic matter.


That was the professed reason, the reality was different. These meetings were clearly choreographed into becoming a series of talks by Department of the Environment offices, telling the attendees that complying with the existing and insanely impractical and unworkable requirements took absolute precedence over endeavors to combat Global Warming and Climate Change. The remote and extremely difficulty concept of farmers somehow  obtaining more payments than they possibly deserved took absolute precedence over them decreasing the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.


Making sure the soldiers weren’t overpaid had to take precedence over actually winning the war. That seems definitely the mind set within the Australian Department of the Environment.


At this time of writing, December 2014, a year has passed and we are one year closer to (or possible now even passed) the point of irreversible biosphere  destabilization. But it’s too early to completely admit defeat.


We have a new government run by a new prime minister who, sadly,  seems to believe that Australia is such an insignificant producer of greenhouse gasses that Australia should not be too bothered with issues of Global Warming and Climate Change. Whereas the reality is that if Australia, with a land area as big as any nation on earth, does not initiate programs on sequestration of carbon dioxide into soil humus and thus start the other major agricultural countries on such programs, then nothing will happen. And an horrific future for all is assured.


Is undue influence at work on our Government, or is it naivety. Don’t they see what is happening?


November 27,  2014 a tornado super cell crossed through downtown Brisbane. Such an “extreme weather event” has never before been experienced by Queensland’s capital city. Buildings were destroyed, roofs torn off, windows smashed in, 50mm diameter hailstones peppered the city, car windows were smashed in. It  will cost the citizens of Queensland and the business and residents of their capital city well in excess of $1 billion, probably closer to $2 billion, all told.


Then within a few days another series of massive storms swept through South East Queensland. They missed Brisbane but hit the Gold Coast. Again it was 50 mm diameter hail stones coupled with extreme wind gusts that caused the massive damage experienced.


Now, golf ball and cricket ball sized hail stones are no longer newsworthy. But they’re just as destructive and just as expensive.


The destabilization of oceanic and atmospheric temperature gradients and the destabilization of atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns is causing these “extreme weather events”. It’s already costing Australia way in excess of $1 billion a year, and costs are rising, and rising fast. Brisbane shows that.


Chris Uhlmann is one of the ABC’s most respected journalists.  In early December 2014 he reported “As the planet tracks towards its hottest ever year the CSIRO is warning the damage caused by extreme weather could cost Australia more than a trillion dollars.” That’s a lot of money. That’s a $1000 billion.


Restoring the balance in our atmosphere is by at least one order of magnitude, the most important environmental issue our nation and the world now faces. “Saving rain forests” is actually counterproductive in combating global warming. If the Federal Department of the Environment thinks otherwise then there is no point in having a Federal Department of the Environment. They become just a huge waste of tax payer’s money. The sad thing is we all believe they are probably “doing some good.” The reality is they are doing a lot more harm, than good.


Sixty five million years ago it took an asteroid to wipe out the dinosaurs. The Australian Department of the Environment, unfortunately is not in just one single building which would require one very accurate asteroid.


But if they stay then we must insist on some simple and critical and essential amendments to their rules and modus operandi.


The powers that be must insert an amendment in the relevant federal legislation or the applicable rules that effectively says — Australian farmers and land holders will be paid $10 a tonne for increasing the carbon content of their soils by whatever means the farmer finds most appropriate. Additionally those changes in soils carbon levels can be monitored by any means and procedures acceptable to any respected authority.—-


The program must recognize that making it all happen is more important than incorporating  a plethora of almost childish rules and regulations and requirements, all to prevent each and every possible or hypothetical fraudulent act by our farmers.


This is illogical. The program must not be onerous. You can’t win a war by insisting that the paper work is more important than the fight.


It’s obvious that in any system, regular testing almost totally precludes, even the possibility, of meaningful fraud. I therefore might suggest that the frequency of tests should not be less than once every three years.


The Abbott Government’s total investment in “natural resource management” amounts to $500 million per year for the next 4 years.

And it’s not actually about stopping climate change.


They have nominated an objective of a 5% reduction in emissions by 2020. If the world reduced emissions by 55% not 5% by 2020 global warming would continue unabated. The immediate problem is not what we may put into the atmosphere in the future: it’s what’s there now. That is what is causing the problem. They are wasting $50 million to “re-establish Australia’s green corridors and urban forests through the ’20 Million Trees Program’. It further states: “Project activities must be located within Australia and its territories, and must involve revegetation to restore native vegetation cover via tubestock planting (seedlings) or direct seeding of native trees and associated understorey species.”


The concept is that we plant a tree, water it, keep away the weeds and have it grow to maturity for $2.50 each, and have the Department of the Environment’s bureaucracy administer the whole program, and do it all for under $2.50 per tree. And these mature trees only has to be “over two metres in height”. And to do all this demands that we destroy good, productive, food producing, agricultural land. Land, that with soil carbon sequestration, can absorb more carbon dioxide than any tree concept ever imagined and land that simultaneously can produce the food the world needs.


For combating climate change, remaking scrub land from good agricultural farm land is hopelessly counterproductive.


The Australian Federal Government and its blind Australian Department of the Environment is going in a direction we just don’t want. It’s steered by governments “guided” by the well organized agrochemical and fossil fuel corporations. Those corporations believe we can’t beat such a controlled and well organized and well funded monolith.


But they’re wrong. There is a way. It’s by reinvigorating people power.:


We set for ourselves one goal, and one goal only. That goal is to make our Government pay our farmers to create fertile soil and to insist our Government allow the farmers to do it in whatever manner and however way they think best and all with no, or absolutely very few, bureaucratic strings attached.

We concerned citizens are not organized. We don’t have the money and the influence to beat them. That’s if we use their rules. So we don’t. A swarm of angry wasps can turn the biggest beast off track:  Set it in a new direction.


So with effectively no organization, we have to all stick with just one goal.

We become a swarm of very angry wasps, and with our letters and with our emails and with our phone calls, and with any means we can think of, we start now and we start stinging. We won’t be organized as that requires organizations, and that costs money. So we all act alone but all with the same single goal with no complications. That way we act alone but in deadly unison.


It’s not something for tomorrow, start stinging now.







































In italics under each report heading, is a comment on the worth of the report in relation to a practical system for measuring on-farm soil carbon levels for financial rewards for soil carbon sequestration.




University of Maine

Soil Testing Handbook for Professionals in Agriculture, Horticulture. Nutrient and Residuals Management is a publication of the university and sites “Soil Testing Conventions In The US.”


These documents, from the University of Maine confirm that there is still no suitable and applicable protocol in existence, anywhere in the United States of America, that could be used to reward land holders for soil carbon sequestration.


The document is a assessment only and no practical protocol is nominated nor described for in-field soil sample collection.


Nor is a practical on farm soil testing protocol recommended.



At SOIL TESTING CONVENTIONS IN THE U.S. it states -– “Soil testing is far from a uniform practice across the United States. Soil fertility testing is really the combination of three discrete but interrelated processes: analysis, interpretation, and recommendation (Eckert, 1987). Many differences in these three processes exist between labs in different parts of the country and can be the source of great confusion. To help understand why these differences exist, an examination of each of the three processes is useful.


In sample analysis, the important components of soil fertility which may limit crop production are evaluated in the laboratory according to standardized methods. Since the early 1900’s, laboratory procedures have been developed in each region which work well with soils and crops in the area and address those factors which are most commonly limiting to production.


If a nutrient or other soil component does not usually limit crop production in the area, it is often not evaluated in order to limit the cost of the service to customers. Laboratory testing procedures are designed to provide consistent year to year results, as quickly and economically possible.”


From this it can be deduced that no accepted procedure exists in the United States to test the increase in soil organic carbon that could satisfy the requirements of a sensible and practical reward based system to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide into agricultural soils.




Environmental Science Division

National Exposure Research Laboratories. Nevada


Authored by Brian A. Schumacher. Ph.D



No protocol is suggested for collection of agricultural samples.


No protocol is suggested for consistent agricultural soil carbon level testing procedures.



The 23 page report says there are three forms of carbon that may be present – elemental carbon, inorganic carbon and organic carbon.


The report discusses how each form can be assessed.


Elemental carbon is described as the incomplete combustion products of organic matter (i.e. charcoal, graphite and soot) plus geological sources such as graphite and coal, plus waste from industrial processes.


Inorganic carbon is considered as that found in geological materials such as calcite and dolomite.


Organic carbon is the carbon in soil humus, in roots and in leaves.


How samples are collected is not specifically defined.


Conventional test procedures are described. All use samples of less than ten grams, about two teaspoons full. It is noted that carbon percentages in soil organic matter do vary in different areas 58% is commonly used in calculations but 50% and 40% carbon content is not uncommon in some areas. (It should be noted that with a Yeomans Carbon Still, if say 58% is always used in all calculations in an area then the increases in soil organic matter by selected farming practices will be sufficiently accurate to reflect soil carbon increases for commercial reward.)


NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES Regional Publication No. 493 3rd Edition.

Recommended Soil Testing Procedures for the Northeastern United States

Agricultural Experiment Stations of —

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.

Prepared by: The Northeast Coordinating Committee for Soil Testing (NEC-1012) Revised July 1, 2011


No protocol is considered for testing the increases in soil carbon levels as needed for soil carbon sequestration.


No consistent sampling protocol is suggested for testing for changes in soil organic matter content.


These procedures are designed for testing the main constituents in agricultural soils related to the productivity of the soils. It notes that drying procedure vary depending on circumstances but generally it si recommended that temperatures should not exceed 36oC. It states “ The exact procedure for drying is not critical as long a contamination is minimized and excessive temperatures are avoided.





Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida, Gainesville


No protocol is described in this report that would be relevant to on-farm soil carbon sequestration.


Samples in the LOI tests 0.2 grams.


This report also compares LOI most favourable with carbon-nitrogen-sulphur procedures.



In the Abstract in the University of Florida paper they comment –

“Measurement of soil carbon is important for determining the effects of Everglades restoration projects on C cycling and transformations. Accurate measurement of soil organic C by automated carbon-nitrogen-sulfur (CNS) analysis may be confounded by the presence of calcium carbonate CaCO3) in Everglades wetlands. The objectives of this study were to compare a loss-on ignition (LOI) method with CNS analysis for assessment of soil C across a diverse group of calcareous. Everglades wetlands. More than 3,168 samples were taken from three soil depths (floc, 0-10, 10-30 cm) in 14 wetlands and analysed for LOI, total C, and total calcium (Ca). The LOI method compared favourably to CNS analysis for LOI contents ranging from 0 to 1000 g Kg21 and for soil total Ca levels from 0 to 500 gCa kg21. For all wetland and soil depths”


And later state –

“The LOI method is an inexpensive alternative to CNS analysis that is reliable and suitable for soil C analysis (Schulte and Hopkins 1996; Konen et al. 2002). Analysis of organic C in soils using dry combustion techniques is quicker and less labor intensive than traditional acid digestion methods and CNS analysis. For the LOI method, soil is oxidised at a high temperature (500-575oC), and the mass loss is proportional to the organic-matter content of the soil. Carbonates remain stable at temperatures used for analysis and thus are not measured by the LOI method (Rabenhorst 1988; Schulte and Hopkins LOI Method for Soil Organic Carbon 3075)


Downloaded by [University of Florida] at 7:54 24 January 2012 1996

The LOI method measures the organic-matter content of soils, but the conversion of the organic-matter content to a C basis may be difficult because the C content of organic matter is not consistent and varies with vegetation type, degree of decomposition, age, and other factors (Batti and Bauer 2002). Thus, direct correlation between LOI and total C may be necessary for each soil type, geographic region, or land management practice (Konen et al. 2002).


Development of relationships between different C analytical methods and total Ca may help to ascertain the best method for assessing soil C in calcareous Everglades soils. A standard, easily reproducible, accurate, and inexpensive method for soil C analysis is needed to gauge the success of Everglades restoration projects and for assessing soil C storage and transformations. The objectives of this study were to compare methods currently used for assessment of soil organic C and determine if the LOI method can be applicable to the diverse soil conditions in the Everglades landscape”.





No useable protocol recommended or even suggested on field sampling.


No Soil test equipment is mentioned nor recommended.


The University reported that Kenneth Olson, the professor of soil science at the University has used data collected over a 20-year period at Dixon Springs, Ill., to

“develop a new protocol for more accurately measuring the carbon removed from the atmosphere and subsequently sequestered in the soil as SOC.”


However a protocol was not developed. Professor Olson himself points out that –

“— proposed protocols are necessary to move the science forward and to attempt to address future predicted climate trends,—- and that —- any future Cap and Trade program will require SOC sequestration protocols to be established. The method of measurement is critical if SOC sequestration is to be verified.—- If landowners are to truly sequester SOC, they must be able to prove that net carbon gains have occurred over time in their fields and that the increased SOC remains permanently stored in their soil” Olsen said.







UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY  Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s government allocated money to create a $20 million Sydney University


(see below a 2014 update where this money, ostensibly to combat global warming, is actually going)


The grant seems to be specifically not concerned with preventing or even minimizing global warming but all about living with it.


No protocol is suggested for use in soil carbon sequestration nor apparently is one to be ever determined for on-site soil sampling.


No protocol and no means is suggested as to how soils might be tested for increases in organic matter. Nor apparently is a protocol to be considered.


It is claimed that—

“The Centre for Carbon, Water and Food will play a leading role in finding solutions to the global challenge of producing more food, which is of better quality, whilst putting less carbon into the atmosphere and using less water.”


It is claimed that—

“The Centre will focus on basic and applied research, especially the long-term research needed to underpin sound policy for management of rural land – both public and private”.


It is claimed that—

“The Centre will be focused on developing options that keep people in rural landscapes and that address increasing global needs to produce food and fibre in an ecologically sustainable manner.”


The University of Sydney made a follow up announcement. It said – “Australia’s first multidisciplinary research centre dedicated to tackling the nation’s and region’s biggest food security and environmental challenges, through the integrated study of carbon, food and water, has been launched today by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The Prime Minister’s Science Engineering and Innovation Council recommended in 2010 that national priority be given to understanding and mapping connections between energy, water, carbon, climate, agriculture, ecosystems, the economy and society, to ensure Australia’s future food security and ability to remain resilient in the face of future climate volatility.


The University of Sydney’s Centre for Carbon, Water and Food funded by the federal government and the University, will answer this call, helping to ensure Australia’s future sustainability, as well as its potential to act as a regional leader in food production and land management.


The University of Sydney and the federal government have together invested more than $20 million in the purpose-built facility which draws upon the University’s already established world-class expertise in areas such as soil science, ecology and ecophysiology and plant breeding.”


The grant was reported in a UK newspaper, which we might assume from a press release and it said —


“Situated in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney’s Camden campus, in south-west Sydney, the Centre for Carbon, Water and Food will deliver research, education and training that will underpin best practices and policies for sustainable management of public and private rural land in Australia, and in our major trading partners —-”



(This is the 2014 update where the money, ostensibly to combat global warming, or more importantly to teach us how to live with it, is actually going)



Faculty of Agriculture and Environment

Centre for Carbon Water and Food.

It now seems that the grant had nothing to do funding some new and potentially useful research. It is apparent it was about getting publicity to illustrate how the Labour Government was seriously concerned about combating global warming. Then, as an afterthought through in “Water and Food” in the grant announcement to cover all the angles. It became the University’s problem to justify keeping the $20,000,000.


This is a copy from the University’s web site and it’s- “WHAT WE DO”

Under the heading “RESEARCH” we get the justification spin.

We are told- ” We need a multi-disciplinary approach, in which various environmental and related specialisations can be integrated in collaborative projects that aim to find solutions to secure a sustainable future.”

We are told ” The big issues facing the world today: building sustainable food, water and energy supplies, will not be solved by single-focus, reductionist approaches.”

And further it explains that- “Combining their respective expertise, various members of the Department of Environmental Sciences have formed the groups that create the core research capability of the Centre for Carbon, Water and Food. It’s an approach we believe positions us to deliver faster, deeper and more meaningful research outcomes.”

It seems that at least five “Research groups” were created.

1      Biogeochemistry — What we can learn from nutrient cycling and interactions between plants and soils to help restore and sustain the terrestrial environment.

Our research concentrates on nutrient cycles (chemical, energy and water) that affect the ability of farmland, grassland and forests to grow and thrive. One significant focus is how these cycles affect the retention (sequestration) and emission of carbon in the soil and the atmosphere. That includes looking at the effects of the chemical and other cycles caused by large-scale man-made and natural events such as climate change and fires, as well as at the effect of the various chemical and other changes that arise as a result of land management such as cropping and grazing.

2          Forestry and Fire – Expanding our knowledge of fire and its effects will help us better protect life, property and the natural environment.

Fire is a key feature of Australian ecosystems, with most native forest and savannah species having evolved specific strategies to cope with fire. Our research explores the responses of plants, animals, soil microorganisms and human communities to fire, including the effects of smoke, the fire itself and regeneration after fire.

3        Environmental Plant Biology — (that just about covers everything)

Finding more about how plants respond to the environment and using this information to lessen carbon impacts while increasing agricultural efficiency.

Understanding how plants respond to their environment contributes to addressing the most important environmental issues facing humans at present: how different will the climate be when our great-grandchildren are born; to what extent can terrestrial ecosystems help to mitigate human-induced climate change; how can we manage our agricultural systems to achieve environmental sustainability while still feeding the global population? Our research focuses on plant biophysical and biochemical processes, spanning from deep geological time to future climates, and working from the sub-cellular scale to the assessment of whole.

4        Soil Security Healthy soil maintains plant life, holds water and retains carbon, so keeping it healthy is central to securing the world’s food, water and energy supplies.

Soil is central to global sustainability and is integrally linked to food, water and energy availability along with the challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and ecosystem services. However, current and past practices to secure food and energy have been detrimental to our soil. With the increasing human population, there is a critical need to address the future health of soils throughout the globe – and that is the focus of our research.

5       Precision Agriculture —- Minimising resource use and environmental impacts while maximising outputs from farming offers the best hope of long-term sustainable food security.

Precision agriculture offers the possibility of growing better quality crops, while optimising the use of inputs and minimising environmental impacts. It is a revolution in agriculture brought about by the application of information technology. Precision agriculture will become essential for sustainably managing all inputs, natural retentions and emissions across the world’s agricultural operations.

{I think the whole thing could make a good episode for “Yes Minister”. You can check their web site at — }



The Soil Carbon Research Program is funded by the Australian Government through the Climate Change Research Program (CCRP).

Currently the Australian Office of Greenhouse does not have, nor suggest any useable and practical system for measuring soil carbon. “It’s being researched”.


It does not have nor suggest any useable nor practical system for determining on site soil sampling locations. “It’s being researched”.


Does not suggest sample sizes. Apparently at this stage

“Not even being researched.”


The Australian Office of Greenhouse costs the Australian tax payer a quarter of a billion dollars a year and has a staff of 1,000  people.


This information is direct from their web—.


“The Soil Carbon Research Program is developing a scientific understanding of the potential of Australia’s agricultural soils to sequester carbon. Carbon sequestration will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Australian agriculture, increase farm productivity and potentially create offsets under the Carbon Farming Initiative, providing new economic opportunities for landholders.


The Soil Carbon Research Program is:


“developing a standard for measuring soil carbon across Australia


*assessing the capabilities of new cost-effective soil carbon measurement methods


*providing a better understanding of the impacts of management practices on the amount of carbon stored in soils 


        *providing soil carbon data to improve the National Carbon Accounting System.


Increasing the amount of carbon stored in soils could significantly help reduce Australia’s emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture by offsetting some of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere. Any reduction in emissions from Australian agriculture will contribute to Australia’s efforts to mitigate future climate change.”


They also concede  “However, to increase soil carbon levels it will be necessary to:— have a rapid, economic and reliable method for measuring soil carbon”. 

In summary “research” is being done but currently there is no “reliable method” as yet determined.


The Australian Office of Greenhouse goes on to say and explain the climate Change Research Program —-


“The Climate Change Research Program is part of Australia’s Farming Future, the Australian Government’s climate change initiative for primary industries.

The program funds research projects and on-farm demonstrations to help prepare Australia’s primary industries for climate change. Research focuses on reducing greenhouse gas pollution, improving soil management and climate change adaptation. The program is providing practical management solutions to farmers and industries. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry manages the Climate Change Research Program.



The is supported by funding and in-kind support from the following partners:


        CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship

        Department of Agriculture and Food, WA

        Department of Environment and Natural Resources, SA

        Department of Primary Industries, Vic

        Grains Research and Development Corporation

        Industry and Investment NSW

        Murray Catchment Management Authority

        Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management

        Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research

        University of New England

        University of Western Australia



“Between 2008-09 and 2011-12 the Australian Government invested $46.2 million to support over 50 large scale collaborative research, development and demonstration projects. These projects were delivered in partnership with research providers, industry groups, universities and state governments. Total investment under the program, including partner contributions, was over $130 million. A breakdown of the allocated government funding is below—–” Not listed here as it’s at best a moderately irrelevant list of how the money was divided up.

They also go on to tell us that

“There was no strong or consistent evidence indicating that management practices, including no till, led to increases in soil carbon. These results were consistent across sites that had a long prior history of soil carbon sampling (10 years) to those tested for the first time under the program (3 years).”


In general no-till and minimum till only show, increases in levels, or stable levels, of organic matter, and that’s only if test sample depths are restricted to just the top surface of the soil profile. In the 2010 paper “Soil Carbon Sequestration Under Pasture in Australian Dairy Regions” it clearly clarifies this reality when it reports —-

“  –however , inclusion of subsoil data shows that in some situations, deep tillage is the best technique for improving soil carbon throughout the entire root zone—“


The Australian Office of Greenhouse has been operating since 1998 and there has been absolutely no reduction in Australian greenhouse gas emissions. They have actually risen significantly.

(December 2014 update —The $46.2 million Climate Change Research Program, a component of Australia’s Farming Future now been terminated.)



It’s called “BUSH FOR GREENHOUSE” and was established by the Australians Office of Greenhouse

(Publication labeled) Bush for Greenhouse Field Measuring Procedures              Version  1   2002

(update December 2014. They wrote what could be considered as a meaningless report. You can read it at a )   



No practical system or protocol for testing levels of soil carbon is considered.


The Bush for Greenhouse program inherently and completely puts to nonsense the argument that agricultural land should only be used for food production and not biofuels.


BUSH FOR GREENHOUSE seems to be an example of government incompetence beyond imagination. The presumption is that if you take vast areas of good productive agricultural land, and fence it off, and let it degenerate back into unproductive scrub land, the world will be a better place. Hence this name “Bush for Greenhouse”. Good land is being converted into “bush” land and this is supposedly combating the “greenhouse “effect.

Not only that but the current Australian Government (at June 2013) through the Office of Greenhouse will pay fortunes to people aware of the scam who buy good agricultural land and let it self-destruct. Millions of dollars of federal revenue are involved and being wasted.


Then the Office of Greenhouse insists that it stays as wasteland for a hundred years. And of course, serendipitously that costs the scammers nothing.


The Office of Greenhouse tell us—

“Because it is difficult and costly to undertake measurements with adequate precision, soil carbon is generally not measured. Instead, predicted changes in soil carbon are “modeled” in conjunction with CAMF or modeling of tree carbon. The modeling of both tree and soil carbon will be informed by basic inputs about the starting soil carbon. To provide this basic information, some simple soil classification are used in part of the procedures.”


CAMF or CAMFor  (Carbon Accounting Model for Forests) they tell us—

is a sophisticated —- model outputs to calculate the carbon flows in forests.”

“——CAMFor has its origins in the 1990 CO2 Fix Model of Mohren and Goldewijk (1990). —-The published Fortran code for this model was converted to an Excel spreadsheet (sheet based, formula driven) format as reported in Richards and Evans (2000).”


We are told—

“The principal work required to implement this model was compiling of the fundamental input data. This entailed:

     the development of a slope and aspect corrected solar radiation surface on a 250m grid; etc. etc.

     the use of Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of AUSLIG – Geodata 9 second DEM (version 2);

     the provision of access by CSIRO Division of Land and Water to their Fertility and Soil Moisture Continental Surfaces (Mackenzie et. Al., 2000);

     the derivation of soil surfaces from the Atlas for Australian Soils (Northcote, 1979);

     use of the rainfall, temperature and radiation surfaces from ANUCLIM (software Package) (McMahon et. al., 1995);

     derivation of a Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) 10-year average by ERIN for the NCAS; and

     development of a frost surface by the NCAS


The Australian Greenhouse Office goes on to explain —

In developing Australia’s National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS) the Australian Greenhouse Office (AGO) has undertaken ambitious national resource and activity inventories within an accounting framework that benefits from a comprehensive and integrated suite of remote sensing and carbon modelling activities. The result is a fine scale spatial application of a range of existing models.


     The model developed, named FullCAM, is an integration of biomass, decomposition, soil carbon models and accounting tools to provide a single model capable of carbon accounting in transitional (e.g. afforestation, reforestation and deforestation) and mixed (e.g. agroforestry) systems.


     The FullCAM model can be run in point, estate (a mix of areas by age by activity types) and a spatial mode which will integrate information drawn from the remotely sensed land-cover-change program, productivity and climate surfaces and other ancillary data to perform the various accounting routines capable of meeting the various reporting requirements of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and more specifically, the Kyoto Protocol.”


If the Australian Office of Greenhouse, (or whatever they choose to call it), isn’t beating, or at least reducing global warming, then the Office of Greenhouse is a failure.


On 7 September 2013 a Liberal National Parties Coalition was elected in Australia. They promised to install a practical and understandable system that makes sense and that pays our farmers $10 a tonne for carbon dioxide sequestered into enriching the fertility of our nation’s soils. Let’s trust them; but still pray it happens. (December 2014 update –We didn’t prey hard enough. It didn’t happen.)


NSW GOVERNMENT CATCHMENT MANAGEMENT AUTHORITY (CMA) LACHLAN  funded a report – CHASM and WEIL Test Measuring Soil Carbon (CHASM means Catchment Health and Soil Management)



The report nominates soil sample depths do not exceed 100 mm. 100 mm is obviously a meaningless depth for monitoring soil carbon sequestration.


Sample size is nominated at 5 grams.


It recommends chemical analysis procedures.


In the report it suggests to- “Make sure the landholder keeps good records – WUE spreadsheet”. Surely this would be seen as a fanciful and ridiculous request to the average farmer.


This publication is prefaced by a statement that—

“Irrespective of the climate debate, soil organic carbon levels in our soils must be restored.”


The document advocates the use of a form of chemical test to determine soil carbon. It specifies soil samples of 5 grams. It claims that –

Total Organic Carbon (TOC) is a “poor” (their inverted commas) measurement in helping to understand rapid changes in soil health and sustainability due to agricultural practices in the short term – 2 to 3 years.”


It nominates that samples are to be taken to 50 mm and separate samples are to be collected down to 100 mm. If the object is the manufacture of deep rich fertile soil to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide into soil organic matter, then 100 mm is a pointless depth to specify.




In conjunction with CSIRO. It is also under the NATIONAL CARBON RESEARCH PROGRAM (SCaRP) The cover of the document is flagged with a “National Research FLAGSHIPS Sustainable Agriculture”. The cover also is flagged as “Australian Government Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry”.


No Useable protocol recommended or even suggested on field sampling.


Sample size is less than 10 grams. But an improvement in the procedures could make 300 grams possible.


Soil test equipment is exotic, incredibly expensive and peculiarly impractical.


In the Executive Summary it states—

“This report documents the methodology currently used in SCarP for sample collection and analysis.”


It then explains —

“For samples, SOC (soil organic carbon) content is measured directly and its distribution amongst there major SOC fractions (e.g. particulate-C, humus-C and char-C) is measured by a combination of physical size fractionation and solid-state  nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy aided by mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopy combined with partial least square regression analysis.– Detailed management histories are collected at all sites along with other potential determinants of SOC content and composition such as climate, soil type and topography.”


It uses a paddock sampling location system that is automatically unrelated to the paddock. They concede this, in this note on sample site selection –

“as SCaRP was not set up to baseline carbon content on paddocks or farms the representativeness of the sampling site is not important.”


The final sample is very small and the test procedure time is very long. The document says that their initial samples are, generally around 500 grams – then are air dried at 40o C for 48 hours. Then smaller samples are obtained from this and oven dried at 105o C for 16 to 24 hours. From this a smaller sample of 10 grams is ultimately obtained for final analysis.


An improvement on the above has been announced , the press release describing it as “A new simple, fast and inexpensive technique for measuring carbon in soils.”

And  “ CSIRO’s technique will help predict the carbon status of any region in Australia.”


The research team developed an induction furnace which can heat a prepared sample of 300 grams of soil to high temperatures. The unit rapidly heats the sample in the presence of a gas stream. The gas stream appears to be either pure oxygen or an inert gas and oxygen mixture. The exhaust gasses are then passed through a spectrophotometer where the gasses are analyzed.

Apparently in this system the Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is not needed. But as previous it indicates that —

“Mid-Infrared  (MIR) spectroscopy  is  combined with partial least square regression analysis” .

It still appears that–

“detailed management histories are collected at all sites along with other potential determinants of SOC content and composition such as climate, soil type and topography.”


The release says-

“Using mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopy, the CSIRO team has been able to generate a spectrum of any soil similar to a ‘fingerprint’. Such spectra contain a picture of all the various minerals and organic carbon fractions in the soil.”

And  – “Using mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopy, the CSIRO team has been able to generate a spectrum of any soil similar to a ‘fingerprint’. Such spectra contain a picture of all the various minerals and organic carbon fractions in the soil.”

And also –  “When this ‘fingerprint’ is combined with previous measurements of carbon fractions across a range of soil types and analysed using a complex mathematical process, the amount of carbon and its allocation to carbon fractions can be predicted easily for additional soils.”

They note that –
Getting the laboratory data for calibration is very expensive but once it has been obtained only needs to be used once in the MIR prediction system.

The combined data is then analysed using a complex mathematical process called ‘partial least-squares (PLS) analysis.

The model from this process can then be used to easily predict the amount of carbon in its various forms for unknown soils.

This approach allows the NCAS system to rapidly predict the carbon status of any region in Australia and assess the role of soil carbon in budgets of global carbon so important to our strategies to manage climate change and has application throughout the world”

The research team describes the MIR technique in a paper recently published in the Australian Journal of Soil Research.


No commercial units are available. It’s reputed to be a promising research project. 




No useable protocol recommended or even suggested on field sampling.

No soil test equipment is mentioned and none recommended.


The overview of this document tells us that it funded research projects and on-farm demonstrations to help prepare Australia’s primary industries for climate change. It is most notably not concerned nor is the research concerned with the sequestration of carbon dioxide into soil. That is despite its titles.




Publication entitled —

“SOIL TESTING PROTOCOLS AT THE PADDOCK SCALE FOR CONTRACTS AND AUDITS” A sub heading is entitled – “Market-based Instrument for Soil Carbon”.


No useful protocol for soil analysis is even alluded to.


System for soil sampling and collection in the field is impractical and excessively complex.


The site selection procedures appear excessively complex and the number of samples to be collected is huge. The document admits –

“The high cost of sampling will be a major part of the transaction costs in MBI for soil carbon.” MBI is Market Based Instruments for soil carbon.

The information sought in these systems is excessively detailed and complex. Calling it a MBI is a misnomer as a MBI cannot at the same time and by the same organization be criticized as being “high cost’ and thus impractical.






No useable protocol recommended or even suggested on field sampling.


The exact same small plot is tested every year.


Sample size is less than 10 grams.



This document is a 44 page long general discussion on pastures and soil carbon. It describes the short term carbon cycle and its relationship to agriculture. Much of the report is on observations of various common farming practices. It is extremely unlikely if any of these practices would be relevant, if the rapid sequestration of carbon dioxide into soil was a prime requirement of any future farm soil management system.

In the report under the heading Soil Sampling and Analysis it is noted that-

“following the advice of a biometrician we adopted the following sampling system”.     This is not explained in clear detail.


For the soil analysis they used a Leco LOI test where individual soil test samples are approximately 10 grams or less.


The same area is tested each time. The rest of the paddock is ignored.




Soil Sampling Protocol for Monitoring Changes in Soil Carbon Stocks.


Yhis would require teams of researchers to monitor a small  single paddock.


No practical protocol for soil carbon testing is suggested.


A protocol in this paper asks that–

“Collect soil samples from 50 or more points spatially distributed in plots on one hectare up to a depth of 2 m. each plot should also have a soil pit to collect bulk density samples and describe soil profiles”


It is also noted that “plot sizes” wherein all the samples are taken are to be in general one hectare. It also suggests that future samples must be close to the original sample points; which could not be recommended if soil tests are to result in payments.


The procedures recommended are probably well suited to the operation of research teams but unlikely to be applicable for general farming where increases in soil organic matter is to the basis of a payment system.




UK NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH COUNCIL “Methods for estimating types of soil organic carbon and their application to surveys of UK urban areas”

The council is affiliated with the -–

British Antarctic Survey

British Geological Survey

Center for Ecology and Hydrology

National Oceanographic Centre

Swindon Office. and the

Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory

No protocol is suggested relevant to monitoring soil carbon sequestration.


Loss On Ignition test samples weight, 0.3 grams. (Therefore typical LOI for an Australian soil might be 0.000006 grams. That’s six millionth of a kilogram or 0.00000008 ounces.)

Soil sample depths, 150 mm,



This study is more related to the ratio of “black carbon to total organic carbon. “ (black carbon or BC is materials such as soot and coal dust.)

LOI tests were conducted at both 450o C and 1025o C. They noted an overlap in carbon BC and TOC at these temperatures.


The study notes that –

“Although several EU member states have established some form of monitoring system for detecting changes in SOC in soil, these do not currently include urban soils (Working Group on Monitoring: Task Group on Existing soil monitoring systems, 2004), a weakness also identified in a recent report concerning current soil monitoring schemes in the UK”.

They also note that –

“The aim of this paper is to investigate and apply statistical relationships between different methods for the estimation of SOC in urban soils, which can be complicated due to the presence of significant quantities of BC. To do this, we selected a subset of 10 topsoil samples (0-15 cm depth) from each of three urban centres and estimated their labile SOC content as the difference between their TOC and BC contents. We investigated the statistical relationship between this labile SOC and the estimates of SOC based on the original LOI analyses. If a statistical relationship could be established, it may then be possible to estimate labile SOC in all the original survey samples. The benefits of such an approach include a firmer basis for the estimation of SOC stocks in UK urban areas, and the establishment of a baseline which could be used for monitoring change.”


All other assessable UK reports are in the nature of opinions and are unrelated to methods of actually measuring changes in soil organic matter. The above paper discusses measuring types of carbon within a particular soil sample.









Institute for Environment and Sustainability

ISO 2002 EUR 21576  EN/2f

See also – Chemical analysis – Determination of loss on ignition in sediment, sludge, soil, and waste (TC Wi)”

Update December 2014 The EU have produced two new standards. EN 15934 and EN 15935 enu



The field sampling procedures suggested could be used but are excessively complex and are made to give information that is not at all required for an of-farm soil carbon sequestrations payment program.


The EU protocol does not suggest any practical system for analysis of the soil samples collected within their protocol. (Update December 2014. It now does)



In the EU protocol a Loss On Ignition system is described. Sample sizes can be as small as 0.5 grams but can be up to 5 grams. Samples are heated to between 525o C and 575o C and weight loss is recorded. It notes that a one milligram accuracy is required in the weighing apparatus. I.e. an accuracy of between 1 in 500 up to 1 in 5000 depending on the sample size.


A complex and detailed system for selecting the in-field location at which test core samples are obtained is described below.






Excessively complex sampling system.


No protocol suggested for soil carbon content analysis.


This protocol is basically designed to satisfy the Kyoto requirements for reporting levels of soil organic carbon in a Kyoto participating country. It apparently was never designed for use in a system structured to reward farmers for sequestering CO2 into soil organic matter.


A layover grid type pattern is described to randomly select the location for obtaining core samples. Samples are then taken are a range of depths. This EU system for obtaining field samples, although excessively and unnecessarily complex and expensive, could be used in Australia. However its use would undoubtedly deter Australian farmers from even considering participating in any soil carbon sequestration reward program.



Reviewing all of the above, it becomes obvious why a logical, commonsense and practical system for in-field soil sampling had to be developed. And why a practical and believable soil organic matter test machine also had to be developed to test those collected samples.

We first must recognise that the Australian Federal Department of the Environment is deliberately or possibly accidently wholeheartedly supporting the agrochemical and fossil fuel industries. But that aside —



It is urgent that we remove the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


We don’t have time to develop some wondrous magic bullet approach.


We can do it by paying farmers to enhance the fertility of their soils.


And to pay our farmers it’s essential we adopt a commonsense protocol with practical testing equipment we can all both, use and trust.



And do it now!


















For Monitoring Soil Carbon Levels
for reward based soil carbon sequestration 




Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is modifying its optical properties causing more solar energy to be retained in the biosphere. The excess heat is in turn destabilizing world weather systems.


Enhancing the fertility of the world’s agricultural soils could entrap more carbon dioxide than any other sequestration system currently proposed and thus combat this excess heating of the Earth’s biosphere.


Financially rewarding land owners is the most effective means of encouraging the process of sequestration of CO2 into their soils. The sequestration occurs by enhancing the fertility and the organic matter content of those soils.


For a reward system to operate the changes in the carbon content of the soil must be capable of being measured and monitored in a practical and reasonably efficient way. A protocol is therefore needed to ensure consistency and accuracy in measurement.


In Australia such a protocol must meet the requirements of the Australian Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee (DOIC). The Federal Government announced the formation of DOIC on 27 October 2010. As at September 2013 no approval has ever been issued to any specific body or organization for a protocol to monitor the carbon levels in agricultural soils in Australia. No current soil carbon analysis system used by any organization, for any reason, anywhere in the world is sufficiently reliable nor sufficiently practical to have been adopted and approved for use in Australia by the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee.


Existing soil analysis systems nominate that various soil samples be collected from specific depth bands within the soil profile. The soil densities at these specific depths then become an essential requirement in calculating levels of soil carbon. This requirement is considered excessively cumbersome.


Existing systems and equipment for measuring soil carbon contents test soil samples of less than 10 grams. Such equipment requires skilled personnel to operate. Generally such equipment needs to be housed and operated under laboratory conditions.


Soil testing procedures currently in use were designed to test soils for the mineral content of nutritional elements. Mineral content is fundamentally determined by the historic geological formation of the subsoil materials. Subsoils can be consistent and remarkably similar sometimes over many millions of hectares. It is presumed that tiny samples suffice for such tests.


Soil organic matter content can and often does vary from paddock to paddock. Soil organic matter content can often be orders of magnitude larger than individual nutritional elements in soils, but such elements are generally more consistently distributed.


For significant soil carbon sequestration vast areas of land will have to be monitored. Testing for changes in organic matter content using soil samples of a few grams are inadequate when land areas might be measured in hundreds of hectares.


While meaningful and believable results are a prerequisite for a reward based soil carbon sequestration system, excessively small test samples must cast considerable doubt on basic accuracies.


The Yeomans Protocol is designed to avoid the above noted difficulties.


The objective of this protocol is to define a procedure whereby soils in areas typical of sizes common in agriculture can be tested for changes in soil carbon content on a per hectare basis. Those changes then form the basis on which rewards can be paid to relevant land holders.


It is a requirement of this protocol that test samples can be obtained in a practical, believable and acceptable manner and that testing procedures applied to those samples will produce information of sufficient consistency and accuracy to instill acceptable trust in the procedures.


It is a requirement that field sample test locations be determined in an acceptable and random manner.


It is a further requirement in this protocol that a Loss On Ignition procedure be used to determine a base measurement of soil organic carbon for the land area being observed and to determine changes in those measurements over time and that these changes are the determinants on which reward payments to land holders will be calculated. It is an additional requirement that individual samples for test should be of sufficient size to generally preclude errors due to the inherent variability in tiny samples of agricultural soils. It is therefore advocated that sample weights should exceed 500 grams.


It should be appreciated that in monitoring the soil carbon sequestration into enhanced soil fertility for reward based incentives, it is only necessary and only relevant to know the changes in the total weight per unit of area of the carbon based material in the soil. Therefore the surface area of test samples and the arithmetic relationship of those surface areas to the specific land area being tested is the only information required. (To illustrate – the organic matter content in a sample under a 100 mm by 100 mm square, when multiplied by one million is the organic matter content of one hectare of land)


The depth of sampling is irrelevant provided it is the same for each test in the test series and this test sample depth never exceeds the depth of the first year’s sampling. If, for some reason it is desired to increase sampling depth in the future then new base test readings have to be established.


Within this protocol it is a requirement that testing is regularly repeated, and therefore past results are constantly subject to effective revalidation. Errors in any one year and possible over-payments in any one year are automatically adjusted the following year.





A person or a group is required to monitor test procedures and to approve and authorize test results submitted to the applicable payment authority.

The qualifications and reliability of the test personnel must be determined by the payment authority who should then give the necessary approval to such personnel.


However, to a significant extent the protocol, here described, is self correcting in that errors or exaggerations in test results in any one year, will be observed in test results for subsequent years, and payments can be adjusted accordingly.


As an additional safeguard if required, a checking person from the relevant Payment Authority can randomly test or observe test sequences and ensure relevant protocols are being observed. An authorizing person or group therefore does not require detailed engineering, or agricultural or chemical training. That they be of sufficient reliability is all that is basically required. Thus a licensed surveyor or a governmentally appointed agronomist, or in Australia a Land Care group, a licensed real estate valuator, a Justice of the Peace, a police officer, a court officer or any reputable person belonging to an organization known to the payment authority, should be acceptable.


To avoid excessive variations in test results that might occur with unusual land topography it is suggested that an agronomist be consulted to advise on initial test hole location patterns. This is not considered to be essential due to the self correcting nature of the protocol. It is recommended only for the practicality and consistency of the test procedures.



The specific land area or paddock under test should be well defined; for example with fences, or bordered by roads, by creeks, by power lines poles, by contour or irrigations drains, or by using GPS coordinates.


The specific land area or paddock, the “Paddock” should then be subdivided into a number of smaller sub-divisional areas, the “Subdivides”. At least 4 Subdivides should be created, preferably all with easily locatable corners. The Subdivides have to be of approximately equal area. Farming activities such as cropping or cultivation procedures within an individual Subdivide should preferably be consistent. This is advisable as later random sampling locations must not cross major s87555 oil treatment barriers. If this is not possible then additional sampling is to be done on either side of the treatment barrier and those samples averaged to give an acceptably accurate representation of the soils in the overall Subdivide.


A suitable procedure would be that the approximate geometrical centre of the Subdivides be initially determined and noted; for example with a peg or a GPS coordinate.


For the first year and it also being the year in which a soil fertility base line becomes established, this first test series is most important and should be undertaken most diligently.


A sample should be obtained from each Subdivide and that sample should be located a suitable direction and a suitable distance away from the geometrical centre. For example one quarter the distance north to the north boundary of the Subdivide. These samples are then bulked to become Sample A.


Another series of samples are to be similarly taken an equal distance south. These samples are separately combined to become Sample B.

Both samples are tested for Loss On Ignition (LOI).


From these tests the LOI weight per hectare can be calculated for each test sample.


Should the weight per hectare vary excessively then a further series of tests should be taken at 900 to the previous locations that, in this example, would be east and west. Both samples are tested for Loss On Ignition (LOI).


Again, should the weight per hectare vary excessively then a further series of tests should be taken using the same directions but moving out to half the distance to the relevant boundary.


All test results are combined to give the base line LOI organic matter content of the soil in the Paddock in tonnes.


Future tests are always to be conducted at approximately the same time of the year to avoid possible seasonal effects, although these are generally expected to be only minor.


For the next test series, this generally to be the following year, the procedures are to be essentially the same with the variations being that the test directions are to be rotated a random number of degrees and the distance out from the geometrical centre is to become a random percentage of the distance to the relevant boundary. It is suggested that the random bearings vary in ten degrees increments and the random distances vary in ten percent increments.


It subsequent years, after the first year’s test, the field test samples can be all bulked, unless the land holder desires more detailed information.


It should be appreciated that the method of test hole locations need not follow the above procedures. The only necessity is that the method of locating test holes must, as near as is practical, give good and accurate representation of the nature of the soils within the test areas. Also that the specific locations must be located using a predetermined and agreed random system of location.


The locations, and the specific location procedures, must be recorded each time.






As the only significant reason for this protocol is to utilize the information collected to encourage the sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide by increasing the organic carbon content of soil; it follows that it is pointless to only monitor soils at depths significantly less than 300 mm or one foot. In this protocol 300 mm is nominated as the minimum depth for sampling. Exceptions are only permissible where consistent geological or manmade depth limits have been created, e.g. soil located on a concrete pad.


The recommended depth for this protocol is between 3` ` 00 mm and 600 mm.


It is logical that for the initial sampling to determine a base reading, the depth of sampling should be the maximum practical for the Paddock in consideration.


In this protocol determinations are calculated using the surface area of the Paddock and the surface area under which the sample soil is collected. It follows that in any subsequent year, for convenience, shallower depths can be used. The reason being that if the original sampling depth is not exceeded, then the organic carbon content under the test selected surface area can never accidently exceed the base readings. It can only be exceeded if definite and significant increases in the soil carbon content of the soil have occurred.


The sample can be any geometric shape of known surface area however a round sample is generally more convenient. Such a sample should have a minimum diameter of 75 mm. However it is recommended that core diameters should be a minimum of 100 mm but 150 mm would be advised. There is no objection within this protocol for larger diameters or for variation in actual hole shapes. It is appreciated that the larger the area of the test hole, the higher the expected accuracy.


Farm post hole diggers are effective and are suggested for sample collection.

It is an absolute requirement that all the material from a test hole must be collected for analysis. It is suggested that a sheet of some flexible material, such as canvas can have a hole cut in it the diameter of the drill or auger. This then could be laid on the ground over where the sample is to be taken. The auger is then located so as to pass through the hole. All the material from the core is then conveniently trapped on the canvas sheet.


If a large and uncommon rock is encountered that would prevent full core depth being obtained, an alternate core should be obtained at some small and random distance from the failed hole. However if such large rocks are particularly common and would be expected to be encountered in similar numbers in subsequent years then when a rock is encountered, the drilling can be stopped at the depth of encounter, and the already collected soil from these holes should be considered as typical samples for the Subdivide, and their bulk should be considered as the bulk from those obtaining the nominated depth.


Loose rocks and stones collected in samples can be brushed and the soil returned to the sample. The rocks and stones can then be discarded. This can be done at any convenient time.


Plant material must be discarded before material testing. This also can and should be done at all convenient times.


The samples from a Subdivide are then bulked. The bulked material is then divided and subdivided. A reputable sample splitter, such as a riffle splitter or chute splitter or Jones type splitter, commonly used in assaying for minerals in mining, is ideal. Alternatively a “cone and quarter” technique can be used, but although suitable, the cone and splitter technique is considered slightly less accurate.


The subdividing ratios must be noted. Subdividing the sample is continued until a sample, or a number of samples of sizes suitable to the capacity of the LOI testing equipment are obtained. Sample sizes above 1,000 grams and not exceeding 2,000 grams amply suit this protocol. The practice of testing samples weighing less than 10 grams is seen as not particularly believable, and in Australia it is not (at this time September 2013) accepted for any proposed payment determinations.


If considerable delays are expected between collection and testing it is advisable to store the samples at reduced temperatures, but not below 4o C. It should be noted that the probability is that delays would slightly decrease the measurable carbon content. Any decreases would be to the disadvantage of the land holder; not to the government agency involved.


The possibility of slight increases in mass from delays in testing is considered extremely unlikely.


Within this protocol test procedures are regularly being repeated, often on a yearly basis, therefore past results are constantly subject to effective revalidation. Errors in any one year, and possible over payments in any one year, are therefore automatically adjusted the following year.

In consequence a local policeman, a court officer, a local government agronomist, in Australia a Land Care group, or any similar respected body would be satisfactory to monitor procedures.


It is also suggested that deference should always be given to the land holder.


Enhancing the fertility of our managed lands and agricultural soils appears to be our only real and meaningful option to reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas levels. It is becoming apparent that the immediate and continued reductions in those levels is of extreme importance, and should commence as soon as possible.





A sample for testing must finally be screened or sieved through a 2 mm sieve prior to heating. Soil clods of all sizes must be broken down during or prior to the screening. Any remaining plant materials are best removed by hand during the screening process. Stones screened off during screening can be discarded.


For ease of screening, excessively wet or moist samples can be spread on a flat surface and air dried with a small fan. The fan air must not be heated as possible LOI effects might occur and compromise the weighing results. The drying procedure is to be conducted no more than a day prior to a LOI test.


The 2 mm sieve nomination is for two reasons. The first being that “soil” by convention is generally defined as that material capable of passing through a 2 mm sieve. The second is that the carbonaceous materials being monitored need to be in reasonably close proximity to the oxidizing gasses, and in larger particles oxygen penetration can be excessively inhibited.


In this protocol a test sample represents a known surface area and a known proportion of the area of the land being tested. The objective is to know the Loss On Ignition weight of the sample. From this, a weight, sufficiently representative of the organic matter content of the test land area, can readily be calculated. The LOI test is not to determine the ratio of the LOI weight to the soil weight, for in this protocol, this is irrelevant. It is ultimately to determine the LOI weight for a nominated area of land, which would be expressed in tonnes per hectare. This figure is then converted to tonnes of carbon by multiplying by 58%1 and then converted to equivalent tonnes of carbon dioxide by multiplying this answer by 3.67.


In this protocol, the actual specific weight of the sample does not enter the calculations. Only the actual weight losses themselves are relevant.


In all LOI type tests, it is a requirement that before weighing, samples are pre-heated to above 1000C, and held at those temperatures until the sample is assuredly dried. In all soil analysis systems it is a requirement to always weigh samples at some predetermined temperature.

In many systems, where soil chemical analysis is being studied, the sample is required to be cooled down to room temperature in a desiccator after drying and prior to weighing. In these systems, after heating to create a LOI, the sample again is required to be cooled in a desiccator to room temperature before again being weighed. This multiple handling of samples has to be undertaken with extreme care to avoid accidental errors.


To avoid these procedures and to enhance accuracy the Yeomans Carbon Still allows the weighing of the sample while it remains in the heating compartment and at the selected elevated temperature.


The Yeomans Carbon Still employs a balancing arm arrangement, in which at one end is a weighing tray, and at the other end is mounted a heating chamber that contains the sample to be tested.


The Yeomans Carbon Still is pre-balanced with supplied fixed weights so as to be slightly less than the weight of the internal container in the apparatus. A beaker is then placed on the weighing scales and water, or some other suitable and convenient material, such as sand, is added to bring the weight up so as to achieve an exact balance.


The use of laboratory weights can be dispensed with and a quantity of the selected weighing material can be added or subtracted from the balance arm to achieve a balanced and stable equilibrium at any time during the test procedures


In this protocol the test sample is to be dried in air at a temperature between 100 oC and 135oC. The sample can then be cooled in a desiccator to room temperature, then quickly removed and weighed. Alternatively, if using a Yeomans Carbon Still, the sample can remain in the Carbon Still and be weighed while still at the drying temperature. The Yeomans Carbon Still is designed specifically to allow weighing to be undertaken at temperatures exceeding 100oC.


After drying and weighing or balancing the sample is then heated to the desired LOI temperature and held at that temperature for a nominated time to ensure complete oxidation of all organic compounds. Within these procedures, if it was desired to determine the water content of a sample, this can be done. 2


In the Yeomans protocol 5500C 3 plus or minus 250C is the preferred temperature to ensure total oxidation of the organic materials contained in the samples. 4


The resultant measured difference in weight being the LOI figure for the sample.


In the Yeomans Carbon Still the sample is weighed while still contained within the heating oven. Weighings are then always taken at temperatures slightly in excess of 1000C. This avoids any errors that could result from changes in sample moisture content.


To determine Loss On Ignition, the dried test sample, after weighing or after balancing the scales is brought to a temperature of 5500C plus or minus 250C, and held at that temperature for sufficient time so that all particles within the sample become intimately exposed to air or oxygen, and complete oxidation occurs.  5


Additionally, in the Yeomans Carbon Still, air can be preheated to the desired temperature and then forced under pressure through the soil sample. The forced air flow facilitates accurate temperature control and even rapid temperature adjustment if required.  But most importantly, it ensures quick and intimate contact of all soil organic materials with the oxidizing gas during the LOI heating procedure.


In practice, the sample must not be brought up to the 525oC temperatures too rapidly, as rapid oxidation of the organic matter can easily occur, creating excessive heat. This can cause temperatures to rise rapidly and to exceed the 575oC maximum temperature nominated in this protocol. Some rare soils are formed from base materials containing minerals that are chemically modified at these temperatures. E.g. they release chemically combined water at different temperatures. This can result in unforeseen weight errors. 6


To prevent such possible errors, the test sample is heated, in the intimate presence of air or oxygen, to approximately 300oC to initiate oxidation and combustion of the materials within the test sample without undue overheating. Means must also be available to prevent this sudden and excessive oxidation. In the Yeomans Carbon Still this is achieved by reducing the flow and temperature of the supply air to the central container

Should forced cooling be necessary, as might occur with possible samples containing extremely high levels of combustible materials, then a cold inert gas 7 flow can replace, or be mixed with, the oxygen rich air, to maintain test temperatures in the nominated range.


When the majority of combustion appears to be substantially completed, temperatures are raised to the test nominated temperatures and held there until combustion is totally completed. Current practice, when not using a Yeomans Carbon Still, suggests the high temperatures should be held at least overnight, and often longer. Sample size has to be kept generally below 10 grams, or even as low as 5 grams to minimize this long time period for completing oxidation and stabilize LOI effects. By using very small samples procedural times can be kept down to down to several hours or possibly overnight.


The Yeomans Carbon Still uses pressurized forced convection to ensure rapid and effective and intimate soil air contact. Because of this the maximum temperatures need only be maintained for a recommended 8 minutes. However, for some soils, 6 minutes or even less will suffice. If extremely short time periods are employed then any incomplete combustion will be indicated by the existence of observable black carbon in the final sample.


When the test is conducted using a Yeomans Carbon Still the test sample is cooled by both disconnecting the electric heating element, and increasing the air flow by a factor of three times. Air at slightly above 1000C is forced through the unit until system temperatures settle at slightly above 1000C. The temperature range permitted is between 100oC and 135oC. At these temperatures any water absorption is less than measurable and all moisture effects can be ignored. The test container, with its sample is again balanced.


The weight decrease to achieve balance is determined by what quantity of water, or whatever material might be selected as the counter balancing material, is removed. This quantity is then weighed or measured to determine weight. This is then the LOI weight decrease, and is to be recorded.


Using comparative areas as in this protocol, and thus avoiding considerations of density, this LOI weight then represents the weight loss for a very specific and known land surface area. Thus the weight Loss On Ignition for the total land test area, or the Paddock, can be readily calculated and incentive payments determined.


Note 1         The percentage of carbon in soil organic matter varies, generally in a range between 50% and 60%. The 58% is a commonly used figure in agriculture and is nominated for use in this protocol simply for consistency.


Note 2          If it is of interest, the moisture content of the sample can be determined by balancing the arms and noting the weight loss before and after drying. A slight error will occur as the dried air is 1000C and the original moist sample had to be at room temperature. If room temperatures were 200C the weight of water loss would be overstated by approximately 2 grams. In a 2,000 gram sample water content is often found to be some hundreds of grams.


Note 3           This temperature is the temperature recommended in EU standard TC WI :2003 (E)  for Loss On Ignition testing for sludge, soil and bio-waste.


Note 4            It is noted that a publication of the Japan Society of Civil Engineers 2006 shows LOI of humic substances in some soils is not totally complete until 5500C.  This research showed that LOI occurring after 5250C to be relatively small. The possible errors that might occur by variation in test temperatures in the nominated range in this protocol of between 5250C and 5750C are to be ignored the reason being as previously noted as follows:  Within this protocol test procedures are regularly being repeated often on a yearly basis, therefore past results are constantly subject to effective revalidation. Errors in any one year, and possible over payments in any one year, are therefore automatically adjusted the following year


Note 5           It is appreciated that the subsoil materials from which the topsoil has formed, vary extensively. In some soils LOI may be substantially and significantly completed at lower temperatures. In such cases a lower maximum LOI temperature may be adopted if mutually agreed between the land holder and the testing authority. And again it is relevant that errors in any one year, and possible over payments in any one year, are automatically adjusted in subsequent years.


Note 6          In general the weight loss from heating pre-dried soils are small and do not vary as the organic matter content of the soil increases. Their effects are therefore included and allowed for by initially establishing the base line weight for LOI and other elevated temperature weight loss effects at the first year of testing. However, some rare soils and subsoils exist where weight loss from chemical changes in the mineral constituents of the soil are of such a magnitude that they mask the weight loss from LOI of the organic carbon constituents. A notable example are the soils in the Piedmont counties of Virginia, USA. These soils contain the mineral gibbsite  (Al2O3 • 3H2O) , and gibbsite has been reported to lose substantial amounts of water at temperatures as low as 300°C. As the objective of this protocol is to encourage and facilitate the rewarding of land holders for sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide into enhanced soil fertility, it is acceptable for variations in this protocol to be approved to cater for these effects. Such variations have to be mutually agreed between the land holder and the testing authority. In general no modification to this protocol should be disallowed if the variation does not artificially increase the indicated increases in soil organic carbon.


Note 7         Bottled argon could be used however bottled nitrogen is inexpensive and nitrogen is already present in the air flow. Nitrogen is recommended should the unlikely need for extreme cooling ever arise.



Note A     This note is not in the application to the DOIC however it is relevant in understanding the status of soil carbon testing.  There are several site selection systems discussed in the available literature. None were designed to be a practical, workable, efficient and inexpensive protocol for a reward based soil carbon sequestration protocol. They were designed to make it easy for year to year sampling and monitoring. Sample test locations within a small test area within a large farm area are usually randomly located but the location of the small test plot itself never varies. Its location is always known. And of course, known by the land owner. Additionally the unfortunate reality of most of these protocols is that their sampling complexities are a serious hindrance to the establishment of a workable system, and all for no real reason. Most do not cater for the requirement for repeatable random selection. Most are designed to select test areas typically of 25 metres square, in which a further subdivision down to, typically one hundred squares, is set out, and in which cores are taken at a whole series of nominated depths. Invariable they nominate core samples that are too small to trust for any reward payment system.

However there is one of possible value in monitoring soil carbon change: SOIL SAMPLING PROTOCOL TO CERTIFY THE CHANGES OF ORGANIC CARBON STOCKS IN MINERAL SOIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION Version 2 of 2007   Reference EUR 21576 EN/2.


It states that it was designed to obtain carbon levels and carbon storage in soils as nominated within the (unnecessarily complex) Kyoto protocols. In this protocol samples for testing in the various laboratories call for samples of 10 grams or less. Also in this EU protocol a huge number of field samples are stipulated and samples are required at many nominated and specific depths.




*    “The Agricultural Solution to the Greenhouse Effect” Google this title or go to























































                                                                $5,000 Complete.

                                                                  Ex-stock. Delivery 7 Days




Controls to the left. Oven to the right.

Balance weighing  arm across the top.





Plugs into standard 240 volt power points.

Plug into garage type air compressor.

Sample weight up to 2,000 grams.

Can dry the soil sample at 1150C.

Can heat the sample to 5500C

Can weigh sample while still in oven.

Can cool the sample and reweigh.

Accuracy better than +or- 0.1%

Total test time maximum two hours.