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Charles Sturt University partners with Downforce Technologies to assess soil organic carbon


New partnership to reveal soil organic carbon levels of Global Digital Farm

27 September 2023 - Downforce Technologies is partnering with Charles Sturt University (CSU) to assess soil organic carbon levels at the high-tech research site, the Global Digital Farm (GDF), with the first results to be revealed publicly at next month’s Digital AgriFood Summit.

The GDF is CSU’s commercial-scale “landscape laboratory”, operated in conjunction with Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre, and hosts farm technology trials across approximately 2,000 hectares at Wagga Wagga and Orange, in New South Wales.

Downforce Technologies co-founder and former Chief Scientist of the United Nations Environment Programme, Prof Jacqueline McGlade, said the partnership is an exciting opportunity to work with a leading innovator in Australian agriculture.

“The power of our methodology in assessing soil organic carbon at scale is in the richness of the many datasets we synthesise, from remote sensing and satellite imaging to soil maps and on-the- ground sampling,” Prof McGlade said.

“With the ability to look back up to six years, it provides proof points to the impact of different land uses and management practices on soil organic carbon levels.

“This partnership is also a valuable tool to calibrate our technology against the various trials and measurements undertaken at the Global Digital Farm and mirrors a study Downforce is undertaking with a number of universities in the United Kingdom, providing results from the northern and southern hemispheres.”

Global Digital Farm Director, Jon Medway, said an initial assessment of soil carbon levels will be included as a data layer on a dashboard being created for attendees at the Digital AgriFood Summit on October 11-12 at Wagga Wagga, with more data captured and added over the coming months.

“My role is to saturate the Global Digital Farm with technology to boost digital literacy for students and the wider industry and provide a platform for digitally and data-enabled research to be undertaken,” Mr Medway said.
“This agreement with Downforce provides a cutting-edge tool for us to enable the estimation of soil carbon levels, demonstrate our carbon footprint and show the impact of the diversity of operations that we have.”

Mr Medway said GDF currently runs about 500 Angus breeders and 2,000 sheep, with approximately 800 hectares of cropping, along with horticulture and viticulture operations.

“The CSU farm is an aggregation of neighbouring properties, each with a difference enterprise focus,” Mr Medway said.
“One farm is managed as an intensive, continuous cropping operation, another as a mixed farming unit supporting dual-purpose cropping and the composite sheep flock, a third is our perennial pasture-based beef cattle area and a fourth specialises in teaching and equine activities.
“To be able to see the soil carbon differences between continuous cropping, a rotational system and continuous pasture, will be really interesting and we will be opening our books to say, ‘Here is our soil carbon estimation from Downforce and here are all the different management activities and the economics behind it’.”

The dashboard featuring the Downforce assessment is being developed for the Digital AgriFood Summit by Australian start-up Pairtree Intelligence and will include real-time data from other agtech providers such as AgriWebb, Optiweigh, Farmbot and Metos.

Prof McGlade will also be a featured speaker at this year’s event, which has the theme “Paddock to Profit”.

To find out more about the Digital Agrifood Summit click here. For more about how Downforce Technologies is driving the net zero transition and helping people unlock the potential of their land visit our website.


Media enquiries:

Matt Wordsworth

0404 029 241

About Downforce Technologies

Downforce Technologies is a pioneering leader in science-led, data-driven land management solutions focused on optimising soil health, soil organic carbon levels, and biodiversity. With over 30% of the world's soil already degraded, urgent action is needed to address this pressing global challenge.

Soil erosion not only threatens global food security but also exacerbates climate change by releasing carbon into the atmosphere. At Downforce Technologies, our mission is to combat soil degradation head-on, ensuring a resilient and thriving planet for future generations. We revolutionise land management with our science-led, data-driven platform, empowering farmers, landowners, and supply chains to make informed decisions that preserve and restore soil health on a global scale.

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