Short, P. (2017). Operative utilization of agricultural wastes for amending pyrolysed carbonaceous feedstock, or biochar, in a simulated unindustrialized agricultural setting. The Young Researcher, 1(1), 99-107.
Biochar—pyrolysed organic material—has the capacity to sequester recalcitrant carbon, making it a viable method of carbon capture and storage internationally. Biochar can also be used as a soil amendment, as it has many benefits to plants when in the soil; however, biochar must be treated properly for its agricultural benefits to be realized. This investigation tests the efficacy of four composted agricultural wastes with biochar to grow corn and soybeans, as compared with controls of no biochar or amendment during a fourteen-day pot trial. The biochar and fertilizers were produced and composted locally, using replicable, unsophisticated methods. It was predicted that biochar, a known nutrient sink, would delay initial growth in all soils; however, plants in soil only amended with biochar had higher germination rates and grew taller than those without biochar. This gives evidence that biochar alone may give a benefit to plants.
Keywords: agriculture, biochar, corn, soybean, climate, botany