Humus accounting in practice


In order to sensitize practitioners such as farmers and (environmental) council members to the importance of soil humus in terms of climate protection and mitigation of climate change problems, the "Humus Accounting for Practice" project in six different regions of Lower Austria has organized six introductory seminars on the topic "How can I maintain and build up the humus content of my soil?" The participants were introduced to the humus and its importance for soil fertility and climate protection and presented the principle and a meaningful method of humus balance, namely the site-adapted humus balance method STAND. Interested farmers were invited to have a humus balance of agronomically used fields of their farm calculated by employees of Bio Forschung Austria.
A simple, practical humus balancing tool has been developed to make it easier for farmers to calculate the humus balance of their areas later on. This is an MS Excel file in which the site-adapted humus balance method STAND is stored.
In eight further seminars, the Advanced Seminars, the calculations were again explained on the basis of the prepared humus balances of field impacts of the participants and the participants received the HuBi-Tool with their balance sheets. Overall, the seminars included humus balancing of 101 fields. In addition, the humus balances were also interpreted, discussed together with the participants and drawn conclusions from the results, so that the participants were motivated after the seminar as well as able to calculate the humus balance for their remaining fields and crop rotations, or even for planned crop rotations, independently at home. Thus, a development towards a humus-increasing cultivation of arable land was initiated.
For the Bucklige Welt region, in consultation with the client, in change and expansion of the original plan in cooperation with the Lower Austrian Agricultural District Authority, Department of Land Development, DI Dr. med. Szlezak and DI Mayrhofer, in addition to the humus balances for the seminars, calculated from a total of 30 farms the humus balance of all fields, totaling 514 balance sheets. At the advanced seminars in the Bucklige Welt, the humus balances of the farms calculated by BFA were presented to the farm managers and discussed together with the farmers. On the basis of the results of the humus balances of the farms a number of operational measures were discussed, which can contribute to the improvement of humus structure and nutrient efficiency.
Overall, humus balancing proved to be an excellent tool for greening and for increasing the efficiency of resource use in agriculture. It can be assumed that this effect is sustainable and that the use of humus accounting for crop rotation achieves a long-term effect that benefits both agriculture and the general public.

We would like to cordially invite you to the kick-off event on 8.9.2015 in Tulln. 

Details of the event can be found here.