AGCO to assess impact of cover crops for carbon management

Photo via USDA (Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

AGCO, the parent company of Fendt, Massey Ferguson, Gleaner, and Challenger, is conducting agronomic research trials and holding field demonstrations in 2021 with the objective of helping farmers successfully sequester soil carbon in their farming operations.

The carbon credit market is evolving rapidly and is a potential revenue channel for farmers, especially in the U.S.

AGCO’s global agronomy team is collaborating with the company’s global brands to drive research trials at the Martin Richenhagen Future Farm in Zambia, Africa, and the Swiss Future Farm in Tänikon, Switzerland, in addition to several sites in the U.S. and Denmark. The studies will explore best practices for cover crop planting timing (before, during, or after harvest), termination methods, species selection, and tillage systems to maximize carbon stores.

Darren Goebel, AGCO’s global agronomy and farm solutions director, says that they are performing this research to help create a clear path for farmers to successfully harness the revenue potential and climate benefits of biological carbon sequestration through cover cropping and other regenerative agriculture practices.

“We are confident that these trials will demonstrate easy and cost-effective ways to add these practices into existing crop systems,” he explains.

The research trials are one component of AGCO’s new sustainability strategy, which includes working on farm solutions for soil health and carbon capture.

Louisa Parker-Smith, AGCO’s global sustainability director, says that carbon sequestration’s revenue potential for farmers through carbon credits incentivizes adoption, investment, and innovation for the betterment of our climate.

“With half of the earth’s vegetated land employed in agriculture and abundant soil carbon sequestration potential, it’s understandable that the ag supply potential is over 30 times today’s total credit demand,” she says. “However, we expect to see carbon off-set credit demand increase exponentially as surrounding markets mature and companies, such as Apple and BP, work towards self-imposed climate neutrality deadlines.”