Projects under this method can earn Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) by reducing carbon emissions on farms. This is achieved through:

  • increasing the amount of carbon stored in soil

  • decreasing the amount of carbon biomass removed from the soil, for example keeping crop stubble in the soil.

When to use this method

The estimating sequestration of carbon in soil using default values (model-based soil carbon) method may be suitable for your business if:

  • your project’s located on an operating farm
  • you’re willing to implement one or more new project management actions on the project land
  • you’re qualified, or able to fund a qualified person, to prepare a strategy for each project management action.

You can find out more by referring to our full estimating sequestration of carbon in soil using default values method (model-based soil carbon) guide. 


Method measurements

This method began in 2015 and has a conservative modelled approach to soil carbon. You may be eligible to generate ACCUs for direct measurement through the 2021 estimating soil organic carbon sequestration using measurement and models method.

To be eligible for this method, your project must:

  • occur on operating farms in Australia where Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water's (DCCEEW) Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM) data exists
  • provide new ways to store carbon in the soil, and exclude existing practices used on farm land
  • identify your project area through DCCEEW's sequestration maps.

Under this method, each project activity has specific eligibility requirements that you must meet.

You must also meet general eligibility requirements for the Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) Scheme.

Relevant legislation

  • Part 3 of the Act
  • Part 3 of the method


You can’t clear woody vegetation when preparing a project area.

However, there are 2 exceptions that allow clearing woody vegetation:

  • clearing woody weeds
  • having a valid clearing permit, or something similar, that was in force before the project began.

Relevant legislation

  • Section 43 of the method

Method requirements

Projects under this method earn ACCUs through undertaking a new agricultural activity. Project management actions can change agricultural soil conditions to improve crop and pasture growth.

One project management activity must be carried out in each carbon estimation area (CEA).

You must undertake at least one of 3 project activities:

  • sustainable intensification
  • stubble retention
  • conversion to pasture.

Projects under this method are subject to permanence obligations.

Sustainable intensification

For sustainable intensification projects, you must start 2 new land management actions. These strategies include:

  • managing nutrients
  • managing acidity (pH)
  • introducing new irrigation
  • renovating pasture.

They can occur on either pasture or cropping land, but pasture renovation can only occur on land that’s already under pasture.

Stubble retention projects

Stubble retention projects involve keeping biomass as crop residues in the field. These projects can happen where biomass was removed by baling or burning but not from grazing.

This can only be done on land that’s already cropped.

Conversion to pasture

Cropped land is changed to permanent pasture for conversion to pasture projects. This can only be done on land that’s been continuously cropped for at least 5 years before the project starts.

The land must stay as pasture for the permanence period of the project.

Relevant legislation

  • Sections 9, 13–15, and 25–42 of the method

You must have a qualified person prepare a strategy for each management action. This ensures that actions improve productivity and increase soil carbon.

Relevant legislation

  • Section 13(f) of the rule
  • Section 5 of the method
  • Part 3 (Sections 18, 19, 28, 30, 32, 33, 37, 38, 41, 42) of the method
  • Section 93 of the method
  • Section 98 of the method

You must notify us if:

  • you stop a project management activity or action before your nominated permanence period has ended
  • you change a project management activity or action
  • a depletion event occurs in a CEA.

Relevant legislation

  • Section 97 of the method

25 years.

Relevant legislation

  • Part 5 of the Act

Calculations are based on default values instead of measured values. It can be impractical or difficult to measure the exact amount of carbon stored in every project area.

Abatement is calculated by:

  • subtracting a baseline level of emissions from the actual emissions produced by a project
  • subtracting these emissions from the amount of carbon stored in your project’s soil.

Baseline emissions are calculated over a baseline emissions period. This is 5 years before the project starts.

When calculating both baseline and project emissions, the method counts:

  • livestock metabolism
  • lime and synthetic fertilisers added to soil
  • crop residues and operations to till crop residues into soil
  • fuel and electricity used to operate irrigation.

The amount of carbon stored in soil as a result of your management activities must be modelled using DCCEEW's sequestration maps.

Relevant legislation

  • Part 4 of the method

You must monitor:

  • livestock numbers in each CEA – according to species, state or region – and livestock class
  • the number of days each year (according to season) that the animals are in the CEA
  • the parameters listed in the table in Section 101 of the method.

You must also remember to meet the general monitoring requirements of the Act.

Relevant legislation

  • Part 17 of the Act
  • Section 100–101 of the method

You must keep records of:

  • qualified persons involved in the project and any written advice from a qualified person
  • management strategies and actions, including any changes
  • testing results
  • depletion events
  • abatement calculations
  • additional water used for a new irrigation management action.

Additionally, you must keep records that show if a CEA has less than 70% vegetation ground cover. This is shown by:

  • the location and photographs of transects through a CEA
  • a description of the method used to estimate the percentage of ground cover.

You must remember to also meet to the record-keeping requirements of the Act and the rule.

Relevant legislation

  • Part 17 of the Act
  • Part 17 of the rule
  • Section 98–101 of the method

Your offset reports must have:

  • reviews of strategies for certain management actions:
    • nutrient management
    • soil acidity management
    • pasture renovation
    • conversion to pasture
  • determinations of certain factors and parameters when calculating abatement
  • changes to CEAs
  • any depletion events where stored soil carbon is released back into the atmosphere.

You must also remember to meet the reporting requirements of the Act and the rule.

Relevant legislation

  • Part 6 of the Act
  • Part 6 of the rule
  • Section 93–96 of the method


We provide you with an audit schedule when your project's declared.

You must provide audit reports according to this schedule.

We schedule at least 3 audits, and additional audits can be triggered.

You can refer to our audit information to find out more.

Relevant legislation

  • Part 19 of the Act
  • Part 6 of the rule