More than 40 farmers in East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire are taking part in a landmark project that could help return atmospheric CO2 to pre-industrial levels, reduce flooding and improve soil health.
The Sustainable Landscapes Humber Project – a collaboration between Yorkshire Water, Nomad Foods-owned Birds Eye, Future Food Solutions and Hull and Teesside universities – will see farmers growing cover crops between harvesting and sowing.
Known as pop up rainforests, the diverse range of cover crops can capture huge amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. Trials have shown the plants can also increase soil organic matter by up to 40 tonnes per hectare, which can sequester nett over four tonnes of atmospheric carbon per year.
As soil organic matter has fallen by 50% over the past 60 years, using cover crops to restore these levels not only has the potential to re-establish soil health, but could also help contribute to reversing the ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 levels.