Treating nutrient-stripped soil with charcoal made from plants could boost US crop yields 6%

biocharwheel sjp
Biochar. Credit: UC Davis

Farmers in the US can expect to see an increase in crop yield of between 4.7 and 6.4%, on average, if they apply biochar to their fields. A charcoal made from plant remains, biochar may recondition soils stripped of nutrients by hungry crops.

“Adding biochar improves soil quality, helps the soil store both nutrients and water and makes the soil a better media for plant roots,” says David Laird of Iowa State University, US.

Farmers often burn or plough the stalks and plant debris left after harvesting. If instead these remnants cook slowly in low-oxygen conditions, the resulting biochar can be reused as a soil conditioner.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Don't buy organic food if you want to increase farm yields or seriously address climate change

Read full, original article: Biochar could boost US crops

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