Charles Sturt University
Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation

Carbon storage in soil

Sequestering carbon in soil has been identified as a strategy to mitigate climate change and Charles Sturt University (CSU) graduate Dr Susan Orgill's PhD has examined the factors affecting the storage potential of agricultural soils.

Dr Susan OrgillDr Orgill, who is now Leader, Soils South for the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), will be awarded her PhD during a graduation ceremony at CSU on Tuesday 12 December.

"My research demonstrated that the ability of soil to sequester carbon has no upper limit, however the carbon storage potential is driven by regional climate and soil properties more than farming practice," Dr Orgill said.

"Within a given region, fertiliser management has a greater potential to influence carbon sequestration than grazing management.

"Farmers can use my research to prioritise efforts and inputs to increase soil carbon. Nutrients are required by both plants and microbes to increase soil carbon, and some soils are just inherently better at accumulating carbon than others."

Dr Orgill completed her PhD through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation while working full-time for the NSW DPI and raising two young children.

As a NSW DPI research scientist she's working to develop management strategies to increase carbon in agricultural soils and overcoming soil constraints to pasture production.

"I'm passionate about working with producers and advisers to increase the productivity and profitability of agricultural systems through smart soil management," Dr Orgill said.

Dr Orgill's research was supported by the Future Farm Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FFI CRC) and she is one of 11 Graham Centre PhD students graduating in 2017.