BIOCHAR SOIL AMENDMENT TO ENHANCE SOIL QUALITY AND MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE
Biochar is produced when biomass is heated at an optimum temperature of between 450°C and 650°C in the near absence of oxygen by slow pyrolysis technology. When produced sustainably, avoiding low tech methods such as open burning, the process is considered carbon neutral and when incorporated in soil is carbon negative. Used worldwide, it also suppresses methane derived from livestock and nitrous oxide derived from livestock and petro-chemical fertilizers, thus mitigating agricultural GHGE.
Although biochar increases crop yields in tropical climates, this does not happen in temperate zone soils as our own research has shown. Rather, the value of biochar in temperate climates will be its power to:
- Enhance soil biology, with increase in beneficial bacteria and mycorrizhae
- Increase soil organic matter
- Improve water retention capacity of soils – up to 30%
- Improve nutrient retention in soils – up to 50% increase in cation exchange capacity
- Remediate soils: agricultural, pastures, quarries, landfills, urban trees, green roofs, soil production, urban property management.
- Sequester carbon in soil for up to 1000 years
BIOCHAR FOR ANIMAL WELFARE
During YREA’s continuing research of the potential of biochar, we discovered that a large part of the biochar produced in Europe is used in farming to improve the health of livestock and poultry. Biochar can suppress intestinal pathogens, deactivating toxins already in digestive systems when used in feed formulas of cattle, poultry and other farm animals.
Biochar’s highly adsorbent quality, when added to litter, locks in moisture and nitrogen compounds, markedly reducing odours and emissions of ammonia as well as footpad diseases.
YREA is particularly interested in further study and development of this use of biochar for the improvement of animal health and welfare and the reduction of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE). What a valuable tool for farmers seeking to implement sustainable practices!
We thank these supporters for funding towards our biochar research: