Conservation Cropping Protocol

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  • Carbon payments for conservation farming carry on
  • The carbon harvest amount ranges from approximately a tenth to a twentieth of a tonne per acre
  • Having and providing the right records is key

Carbon Harvest from No Till Seeding
The ‘carbon harvest’ for Alberta producers direct seeding works out to around 0.113 tonnes/acre/yr in the Parkland and 0.057 in the Dry Prairie areas for the no till seeding category of soil disturbance. Irrigated areas in the Dry Prairie harvest carbon at the Parkland rate. Example calculations:

Parkland area
1000 acres X 0.113 tonnes/acre = 113 tonnes carbon
113 tonnes carbon X $13.00/tonne = $1469 or $1.47/acre

Dry Prairie area
1000 acres X 0.057 tonnes/acre = 57 tonnes carbon
57 tonnes X $13.00/tonne = $741 or $0.74/acre

‘No Till’ has disturbance specifications of one pass of an opener with up to 46% soil contact, or two passes of an opener (either seeding, fertilizing, or applying manure) of up to 38% soil contact. Up to 10% discretionary tillage in each field is allowed to manage ruts in unseeded wet areas, etc. The former ‘Reduced Till’ category is no longer eligible.

Record Keeping
The summary below gives an idea of the records a producer needs to collect. For the exact requirements see an aggregation company.

1. Crop: Annual crop or seeding year of a perennial.
  • detailed farm record sheets or crop plan, together with either:
    • crop insurance
    • a location linked time-stamped photo
    • other records which may include P.Ag. sign off.

2. Seeding/Fertilizing Implement:
  • calculation of soil contact, together with either:
    • equipment receipts
    • time-stamped photos showing opener width and shank spacing
    • other records which may include P.Ag. sign off.

3. Land and Carbon Ownership/Arrangement:
  • land title certificate, and signed contract with the carbon project developer. If rented:
    • a signed agreement stating who (renter/landowner) gets the carbon rights

4, Location and Size of Field: Seeded field area from either:
  • Google Earth
  • air photos or satellite data
  • GPS track files from seeding equipment
  • GPS shape files from field inspection.

5. Field Operations:
  • record sheet showing all land disturbance operations, with equipment specifications and either:
    • proof of the specific equipment used
    • other records, which may include P.Ag. sign-off
  • yes or no for discretionary tillage If yes, then proof of area worked up, either:
    • calculation on farm record sheet
    • GPS readings from farm equipment

6. Reseeding: If disturbance is still under allowable amounts, either:
  • equipment specs and seeding dates
  • other records with P.Ag. signoff

7. If in the Dry Prairie and irrigating, two of the following:
  • water use records
  • air photos or satellite images of pivots
  • Alberta Irrigation Program documents
  • detailed farm irrigation maps
  • crop insurance records showing use of irrigation
  • GPS time stamped photos of equipment used, with model information
  • other records with P.Ag. sign off.

Link to the whole Conservation Cropping Protocol (CCP) with more details:

Link to the soil boundary line between Parkland and Dry Prairie areas:$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/cl11708

Paul Jungnitsch, Carbon Offset Agrologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, last updated November 2017

For more information contact the Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276) or Paul Jungnitsch at 780-427-3801

The information contained here is the interpretation of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Alberta’s carbon offset system is managed by Alberta Environment and Parks. Offset projects must comply with the most recent quantification protocols and program requirements published by Environment and Parks at:
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Paul Jungnitsch.
This document is maintained by Laura Thygesen.
This information published to the web on February 2, 2017.
Last Reviewed/Revised on November 20, 2017.