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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BLENDED BIOCHARS DESIGNED TO IMPROVED PHYSICAL PROPERTIES OF SANDY COASTAL SOILS

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To develop and test blended biochars using multiple pyrolyzed feedstock designed as supplements to improve physical and chemical deficiencies in Coastal Plain soils.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Biochars will be made from different feedstocks using thermal pyrolysis conditions to produce a biochar blend that can be used as a soil supplement. The blended biochar will be designed to improve the soil water storage capacity, form aggregates, reduce soil strength, and increase fertility. We will experiment with diverse relevant feedstocks that will be blended with pine chip biochar and analyzed in the laboratory to determine optimum blends and blend ratios. From these results, large scale production of blended biochar will be produced for field plot applications and specific soil physical & chemical properties will be measured.


3.Progress Report:

The purpose of this project relates to inhouse project objective 1: to develop blended amendments for application to sandy soils to improve their carbon content and nutrient retention capability. This is the final report for 6657-12130-002-05N; agreement terming early.

Biochars, a charcoal-like material, were produced from pine chips using a mobile pyrolyzer. Pine-chip biochar was applied to test plots under a rye crop along with some plots just receiving manure and inorganic fertilizer. Rye crop harvests were higher in plots treated with manure, while yields from biochar-treated plots were similar to fertilizer treatments. Lower rye crop yields in plots treated with pine-chip biochars were speculated to be due to the coarse size of the biochar chips and their lower nutrient content compared to manure. Results demonstrate that pine chip biochar, especially consisting of coarse-size chips, did not improve rye crop yields on sandy soils.


Last Modified: 7/23/2014
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