Carbon sequestration at Framtidsgården Bjertorp

Claes Johansson, Director of Sustainable Development at Lantmännen, and Lova Brodin, Svensk Kolinlagring, (Swedish Carbon Sequestration) tells us more about their new partnership and why carbon sequestration will be a crucial tool for meeting the 2050 climate goals.

When the issue of carbon neutral farming in the future is raised, the discussion often revolves around how we should reduce emissions within farming. However, realizing the potential to sequester carbon in the ground is at least as important in reaching the Paris Agreement climate goals. Reducing emissions to zero will not be enough, we also need to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and this is where carbon sequestration will be a vital tool in the future.

Svensk Kolinlagring is working with innovative farms around the country to test and develop methods to sequester more carbon in soil. One of these farms, Framtidsgården Bjertorp near Kvänumd, is run by Lantmännen. Numerous sustainability measures that are expected to be part of the Farming of the Future are already being tested on the farm, such as new crop varieties from plant breeding, precision farming and measures for biodiversity, for example skylark plots and flower zones. The farm is testing methods that reduce the environmental impact and increase yields – both equally important in achieving sustainable farming in the future. Now, after the signing of this partnership agreement, Lantmännen and Svensk Kolinlagring are going to intensify efforts to sequester more carbon in the soil at Bjertorp with the hope that this will benefit Swedish agriculture in general.

As part of this pilot project, several methods are going to be tested and evaluated and then as a next step, the carbon sequestration achieved will be verified and certified. By continuously fine tuning input data for the calculation systems, we will be able to come closer to a model that confirms the true climate benefit. From there, it is a case of adapting measures to enable them to be widely implemented within agriculture and significantly improve carbon sequestration capacity.

By adopting the right measures, the rate of sequestration can be accelerated, where crop rotation and farming practices are key components. One starting point when it comes to carbon sequestration is to keep fields green for as much of the year as possible, which is where cover crops such as buckwheat and rye come into the equation. For Lantmännen, it feels incredibly exciting and valuable to take part in the knowledge and experience that Svensk Kolinlagring already has built up when it comes to opportunities to increase carbon sequestration in Swedish farming.

Svensk Kolinlagring is working with its partners to find new business models that make it easier to finance these measures. Lantmännen want to take an active role in finding a business model that links farmers, that can offer eco system services, with the market and consumers keen to contribute to sustainable development. Cooperation is at the heart of this work, where we at Lantmännen can contribute with our knowledge and expertise from Swedish farming and our experience when it comes to developing business models across the entire grain value chain. However, this will also require efforts from many companies, organizations, farmers and universities if Sweden is to be able to sequester more carbon in soil. Not to mention in a way that is financially beneficial for farmers.

Although there is a big interest among companies wanting to do more for the environment today, many of them wonder what actions they should invest in. Climate compensation has and is much debatedand it is difficult to be sure that the measures that have been invested in deliver genuine climate benefits. This is one of the reasons why investing in the development that Svensk Kolinlagring is supporting, here in Sweden, is interesting to many.

Carbon sequestration is a key part of the transition to Farming of the Future. Together, we are now going to be able to show what the profitable and carbon sequestering Farming of the Future looks like in practice on the farm in Bjertorp and drive developments towards carbon neutral farming by 2050. And we are prepared to scale up further. If you would like to join us on this journey, please get in touch.

Svensk Kolinlagring is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that, in addition to offering a market solution, also facilitates knowledge exchange about carbon sequestration and the societal effects such measures have.

Claes Johansson Director Sustainable Development
Lova Brodin Project Manager, Svensk Kolinlagring
+46 70 299 66 20