Prairie soil carbon balance project

  • Seeding
  • Soil Health
  • Sustainability

Lead Investigator(s)

Blair McClinton

Lead Investigator(s) Institution

Saskatchewan Soil Conservation Association


To assess the soil analyses to determine whether soil organic carbon (SOC) is increasing, decreasing, or exhibiting no change in Western Canadian soils that were converted to direct seeding in 1996 or 1997 and to determine if it is feasible to measure SOC change on individual farm fields using one or more microsite using repeated sampling with a slight spatial displacement.


Adoption of direct seeding increases soil organic carbon (SOC) on the Canadian prairies. The SOC increases were both substantial and greater than expected. The new information supports documentation of reduced carbon footprint for direct seeded cropland on the Canadian prairies as increasing SOC represents removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. The results also support, indirectly, carbon offsets from adoption of direct seeding.


SPG Contribution


Project Status


Duration/Timeline of Project (Year to Year)

2009 - 2011