Using a Digital Twin Approach to Measure Soil Organic Carbon Changes in Legume Cropping Rotations in Western Australia
In this study, we deployed a digital twin approach, using data fusion of in situ and remote sensing measurements, to investigate the impacts of crops and crop rotation on soil health, and in particular on soil carbon sequestration.
We examined the impact of incorporating Australian sweet lupin (Lupinus angustifolius), a valuable nutritional plant protein food source, into crop rotations over a property in Western Australia with ~3200ha split across 60 separate fields. The analysis of soil organic carbon (SOC) was undertaken at 10m resolution, every 10 days over a six-year period (2017 – 2022). The crop rotations included 5 arable crops and pasture in 17 different crop rotation types. Our results showed an increase in SOC for four of the crop transitions into lupins, while for two of the transitions into canola the increase was greater than for lupins. These results suggest that certain cropping rotations involving legumes destined for plant-based protein products for human consumption could be designed to store additional soil carbon. This study also demonstrates the effectiveness and affordability of using a digital twin and data fusion approach to remotely generate high-resolution data to monitor seasonal and annual changes in SOC at multiple scales. The same data approach can be used to evaluate different cropping practices, support traceability in net zero food supply chains, underpin policy-development, and support progress-tracking of national commitments and international initiatives such as the UN SDGs and 4p1000.Back To Science