Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The amazing news from Nepal keeps coming...

More stunning stuff from Hans-Peter and the team working in Nepal...
"We recently published a new paper about using field made biochar as nutrient carrier achieving average yield increases of 100% with concentrated root zone application of only 1 t biochar per ha. Demonstrating the new method in 21 field trials with 13 different crops seems quite consistent and we hope to trigger new experiments and farmer adaptations  in what might become a breakthrough in agronomic biochar use. I attach the paper wishing you an inspiring read, 
Yours, Hans-Peter"


Hans-Peter Schmidt 1 * , Bishnu Hari Pandit 2 , Gerard Cornelissen 3,4, Claudia I. Kammann 5
1 Ithaka Institute for Carbon Strategies, Rue de l’Ancienne Eglise 9, CH-1974 Arbaz, Switzerland 
2 Ithaka Institute for Climate Farming (IICF), Ratanpur, 33900 Tanahu, Nepal 
3 Institute for Environmental Sciences (IMV), University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Akershus, As 1432, Norway 
4 Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), 0806 Oslo, Norway 
5 WG Climate Change Research for Special Crops, Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, Hochschule Geisenheim University, Von-Lade-Str. 1, Geisenheim D-65366, Germany 
Received 27 January 2017; Revised 15 May 2017; Accepted 29 June 2017 


"Biochar produced in cost-efficient flame curtain kilns (Kon-Tiki) was nutrient enriched either with cow urine or with dissolved mineral (NPK) fertilizer to produce biochar-based fertilizers containing between 60–100 kg N, 5–60 kg P2O5 and 60–100 kg K2O, respectively, per ton of biochar. In 21 field trials, nutrient-enriched biochars were applied at rates of 0·5–2 t ha 1 into the root zone of 13 different crops. Treatments combining biochar, compost and organic or chemical fertilizer were evaluated; control treatments contained same amounts of nutrients but without biochar. All nutrient-enriched biochar substrates improved yields compared with their respective nobiochar controls. Biochar enriched with dissolved NPK produced on average 20% ± 5·1% (N = 4 trials) higher yields than standard NPK fertilization without biochar. Cow urine-enriched biochar blended with compost resulted on average in 123% ± 76·7% (N = 13 trials) higher yields compared with the organic farmer practice with cow urine-blended compost and outcompeted NPK-enriched biochar (same nutrient dose) by 103% ± 12·4% (N = 4 trials) respectively. Thus, the results of 21 field trials robustly revealed that low-dosage root zone application of organic biochar-based fertilizers caused substantial yield increases in rather fertile silt loam soils compared with traditional organic fertilization and to mineral NPK or NPK-biochar fertilization. This can be explained by the nutrient carrier effect of biochar, causing a slow nutrient release behaviour, more balanced nutrient fluxes and reduced nutrient losses, especially when liquid organic nutrients are used for the biochar enrichment. The results open up new pathways for optimizing organic farming and improving on-farm nutrient cycling."

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