BIOCHAR study to begin

Updated: 28/05/2009

The Federal Government will fund a $1.4 million research project into the use of BIOCHAR in agriculture.

The CSIRO will assess the potential for BIOCHAR to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost farm productivity.

BIOCHAR is the charcoal created by slow burning crop waste to produce a form of carbon that is stable in soil for
hundreds of years.

Produced at temperatures around
500°C, BIOCHAR is effectively sterilised
free of plant pests, diseases and
chemical residues.

When mixed into
the soil, BIOCHAR holds nutrients in the
root zone and improves soil drainage
and microbial activity.

One application
of BIOCHAR is said to have the same
benefits as 10 years of compost.

Early NSW trials showed 10
tonnes of BIOCHAR per hectare increased wheat
yields 3 fold AND
reduced the production of greenhouse
gases from the soil.

“This project will shed much more light on how biochar works – its potential, how to use it safely and identify any drawbacks”, said Minister Tony Burke.

“Research is key – and we believe the findings from this project will be important in global discussions on how BIOCHAR can be used in agriculture”, said CSIRO Director,  Dr Brian Keating.

Source:  DAFF – 21 May, 2009
              The Land – 21 May, 2009

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