Biochar and Low Organic Matter Soils

Presented by Friend actually June 2013

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A biochar field study on three low organic matter soils was initiated in Illinois in 2012. Sites in Mason, Cass, and Calhoun counties were used. Soil organic matter at all sites ranged from approximately 0.5 to 2%. Rates of 0, 10, and 20 tons per acre of biochar were examined with corn in replicated plots. Normal fertilizer and herbicide applications were employed. Biochar from wood pellets were used. Soil tests were conducted before biochar application and at the end of crop season. Due to extreme weather experienced during the 2012 growing season, yields were dramatically reduced in all plots. While there may have been a slight average increase in corn yield in biochar plots, there was too much variation to be statistically significant. Soil organic matter levels were increased but cation exchange capacity measurements were not greatly changed. The study is continuing in 2013.

 

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