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Friday, 4 June 2010

IBI report from Sarah Carter (UKBRC)

The biocharm project funded through the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change is focused on multi-locational biochar field trials in India, Philippines and Cambodia. Partners include ARTI India, IRRI, SME Cambodia and the University of Edinburgh's UK Biochar Research Centre. A mid-term project meeting was recently held in India, which included a trip to the maize trials which are being managed ARTI at their field station in Phaltan.

Back in Cambodia, since the rainy season is approaching, trials for rain fed paddy field rice are being prepared. Control plots, and plots amended with 40t/ha biochar will be set up (a similar design to the trials in the Philippines). Dry season rice has already been tested with biochar application, and showed a good response, the biochar which was applied in December 2009 is still visible in the soil and these plots will be monitored again this season. Yields are being measured and soil and biochar has been analysed to assess benefits to the soil.

As well as field trials, pot trials with lettuce and cabbage have already yielded results at the research farm of the APSARA Authority in Cambodia. Amendments of between 20 and 120t/ha were used in combination with additions of compost and lake sediment.

Different methods of biochar production are being used for the trials, using feedstocks of rice husks, sugar cane leaves and maize trash. In Cambodia biochar for the trials is produced from rice husk in a 150KW continuous feed gasification unit.

For more information please see the project blog: http://biocharm.wordpress.com/

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