Six demonstration farms in Victoria are part of a Landcare Australia Benchmarking project to measure changes in the condition of environmental assets.

Applying a scientific lens to environmental accounting standard to environmental assets, will help those property owners to set up natural capital accounts.

The project is listed on the Accounting for Nature Environmental Account Registry.

Melbourne Water and Bass Coast Landcare Network have combined to facilitate the project — one of these properties is Burke and Bronwyn Brandon’s property at Moyarra.

“The six farms are a mix of commercial grazing to conservation properties,” regional agricultural Landcare facilitator Karen Thomas said.

“We wanted to test what natural capital accounting looks like on a farm, and how difficult or complex the process is to receive account verification.

“Landcare members are pondering what does it mean to practice emission reduction, carbon neutrality and climate smart farming, alongside carbon and biodiversity markets.”

Burke Brandon said his property had been measured for environmental condition and soil production condition.

“Environmental condition measured vegetation which was in an area over 20m wide,” he said.

“They measured canopy, tree height, grass species as assessment units.

“There was a separate assessment in soils — they measured organic carbon, pH, electrical conductivity, phosphorous and groundcover.

“We got a 100 per cent satisfactory rating. It still means we can focus on improvement.

“We had 90 per cent groundcover and that was within the range.

“The environmental condition, 86 per cent, allowed for some improvement in our environmental areas, like more native grasses in the pasture and growing more shrubs.”

Case studies will be developed over time about the demonstration farms and how natural capital accounting is being applied and verified.