Soya crop grown for the biochar test. Photo: Dynamotive Energy Systems
Since much of the recent talk about biochar has been about its potential for mitigating climate change as part geoengineering schemes, it's easy to forget that biochar also has benefits for increasing crop yields (indeed that's where the whole concept started). A new study done by Dynamotive Energy Systems, a Canadian biofuel firm, quantifies biochar's crop yield potential:The nearly year-long test, done in collaboration with BlueLeaf Inc., found that plots where Dynamotive's CQuest Biochar was applied had 6-17% increases in crop yields, compared to control plots. Additionally, the biochar plots showed high plant density and greater root depth (68% increase). Lower rates of nutrient depletion during the growing season were also observed in the biochar plots, phosphorus depletion was down 44%.
The test plots were located in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and had some 3,500 lbs/acre of biochar applied.
Test plot after two passes of biochar spreading.
Biochar being incorporated into the soil.
BlueLeaf's study results: Preliminary Evaluation of Biochar in a Commercial Farming Operation in Canada [PDF]
all photos: Dynamotive Energy Systems.
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