Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Biochar benefits turfgrass management

This looks like an important read for all managers and green-keepers of sports grounds, golf courses urban green space. I'm not sure what grasses are used in tropical soils. It would be great see some experimentation happening in this region.

Effects of rice-husk biochar on sand-based rootzone amendment and creeping bentgrass growth

XiaoXiao Lia, XuBing Chena, Marta Weber-Siwirskab, JunJun Caoa, ZhaoLong Wanga,⁎
a School of Agriculture and Biology, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai 200240, PR China
b Institute of Landscape Architecture, Wroclaw University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Wroclaw 50-375, Poland

"Turf provides an irreplaceable surface for recreational and sport activities in urban landscape. Sand-based rootzone is recommended for turf establishment because of its excellent compaction resistance. It is necessary to improve the water and nutrient retention of sand-based rootzone by soil amendments in maintaining healthy turf. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effects of rice-husk biochar on sand-based rootzone amendment and creeping bentgrass (Agrostsis stolonifera) establishment. The results showed that bulk density was linearly decreased in proportion to rice-husk biochar. Total porosity and capillary porosity, water retention, and saturated hydraulic conductivity were significantly increased in proportion to rice-husk biochar. Sand-based rootzone amended with 10% of rice-husk biochar promoted the seed germination and young seedling growth with the significantly higher growth rate, leaf emergence rate, shoot and root biomass, and turf coverage than the control. These results indicate that rice-husk biochar had superior characteristics to previous reported biochars in the sand-based rootzone amendment and could be used to improve soil physical properties and turf healthy in sports and recreation playgrounds."

Sunday, 14 October 2018


Dr Ruy Anaya de la Rosa was at the recent ANZBC18 (previous post) and presented on Biochar 4 Sustainable Soils (B4SS) project. See tag below for previous posts.

Ruy's presentation starts at page 47.

ANZBC18 conference proceedings

The ANZBC18 conference proceedings have now been published and made available by AgriFutures Australia...

Richard Upperton from PFS Energy Malaysia describes some of there work related to biochar in 6 slides from page 59.

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Dirt Rich - the movie

I posted on the trailer back in March but now it is on temporary general public release (until 12Oct).

You can view the film from this link:

Their FB page:

EFB biochar for improved maize production - Indonesia

The efficiency of phosphorus uptake by plants in an Ultisol soil is very low because most of soil phosphorus is precipitated by Al and Fe. Oil palm empty fruit bunches can be used as basic materials of biochar and compost, and as sources of isolates of phosphate solubilizing fungi. This study was aimed to elucidate the effect of application of phosphate solubilizing fungi with biochar and compost generated from oil palm empty fruit bunches on growth and yield of maize an Ultisol of Central Kalimantan. This study consisted of two experiments. The first experiment was inoculation of four isolates of phosphate solubilizing fungi isolated from of oil palm empty fruit bunches, i.e. Acremonium (TB1), Aspergillus (TM7), Hymenella (TM1) and Neosartorya (TM8) to 'biocom' media (mixture of biochar and compost generated from oil palm empty fruit bunches) to obtain phosphate solubilizing fungi that can adapt to the media. In the second experiment, the best results in the first experiment were applied to an Ultisol soil planted with maize. The results showed that isolates that were best adapted to biocom media were Aspergillus-TB7 with 60:40 proportion (60% biochar + 40% compost) and Neosartorya-TM8 with 70:30 proportions (60% biochar + 40% compost). The application of the first experiment results to the second experiment showed that the application of biocom plus Neosartorya-TM8 (BTM) on an Ultisol soil significantly improved growth and yield of maize, as well as phosphorus uptake and efficiency of phosphorus uptake by maize.

Research from Timor on biochar

Improving mungbean growth in a semiarid dryland system with agricultural waste biochars and cattle manure

Center for Dryland Studies, Universitas Timor, Indonesia 


Mungbean (Vigna radiata L.) productivity in dryland decreased recently due to the soil fertility degradation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of biochar types and cattle manure rates on the growth of mungbean in semi-arid dark soil. The factorial completely randomized block design 3 x 5 with four replicates was set to arrange treatments for the field trial. Two biochars (rice husk and sawdust) at 10 t/ha in combination with four rates of cattle manure (1, 3, 5 and 10 t/ha) and control (without biochar and cattle manure) were applied to the soil, incubated for three weeks and then planted with mungbean cv. Fore Belu. The results revealed that additions of biochar and cattle manure increased soil moisture and soil electrical conductivity by 2-4% and 0.15-0.20, respectively; decreased soil temperature and bulk density by 1-2oC and 0.2 g/cm3, respectively; increased plant height, stem diameter, root length, total, shoot and root dry weights by 4 cm, 0.1 cm, 5 cm, 7 g, 0.9 g and 6 g, respectively, compared to the control. The best growth of mungbean was obtained from the additions of sawdust biochar at 10 t/ha and cattle manure at 3 t/ha.


Biochar as a animal feed supplement - Cambodia

 The work of Preston and Leng continues in Cambodia. I first reported their work back in 2012 from a publication from Lao (shortcut here). There are plenty of other related reports on feed trials which can be found via the 'feed supplement' label.

Rice distillers’ byproduct and molasses-urea blocks containing biochar improved the growth performance of local Yellow cattle fed ensiled cassava roots, cassava foliage and rice straw

Kong Saroeun, T R Preston1 and R A Leng2

Faculty of Agriculture, Svay Rieng University, Cambodia
1 Centro para la Investigación en Sistemas Sostenibles de Producción Agropecuaria (CIPAV), Carrera 25 No 6-62 Cali, Colombia
2 University of New England, Armidale NSW, Australia


Twenty male cattle of local Yellow breed with an average body weight of 92.6 kg were allocated in individual stalls to a 2*5 factorial arrangement of treatments with two replicates. The two factors were: biochar inclusion in urea-molasses blocks at levels of: 0, 2, 4, 6 and 8%; and rice distillers’ byproduct (RDB) at zero or 4% in diet DM. The basal diet was ensiled cassava root, dried cassava foliage, rice straw and molasses-urea blocks.
Growth rates of local Yellow cattle were increased when the molasses-urea blocks contained from 2 to 8% biochar (intakes of biochar ranged from 0.05 to 0.33% of diet DM); and when rice distillers’ byproduct was fed at 4% of diet DM. There were related improvements in feed conversion with both additives. There were no additional benefits from combining the two additives.