Agriculture

Why use biochar in agriculture?

The growth of agricultural crops generally increases when biochar is introduced. The positive effects become more pronounced as the biochar supplement is increased, up to around 20 per cent biochar. The greatest effect is obtained in acidic and sandy soils. In Swedish experiments, growth increases of up to 33 per cent have been observed when introducing 2 per cent biochar per square metre of soil. 
However, there are also experiments where the addition of biochar has not produced any positive effects on growth, and even those that have resulted in reduced growth. This may be because the microbial activity increases when biochar is added, which can lead to an initial nutritional deficiency for the crops, especially when it comes to nitrogen. Nitrogen may therefore need to be added along with the biochar. Nitrogen fertilisation in combination with the addition of biochar has in many cases been shown to lead to more efficient uptake of nitrogen in the crops. 
There are currently relatively few studies that have evaluated the long-term effects of biochar and its repeated use on agricultural crops.

WHAT WE DO IN THE PROJECT REST TILL BÄST

Within Rest till Bäst, we have no experimental activities relating to biochar in arable land. Rest till Bäst’s project partners Skånefrö and Ecoera have previously conducted experiments with biochar in arable land. The results of these experiments are presented in a thesis from SLU.

COMMITTED PROJECT PARTNERS

CONTACT

Markus Paulsson
markus.paulsson@lund.se
+46 (0) 46-359 53 36
City of Lund, City Office
221 00 Lund, Sweden

REST TILL BÄST

Rest till Bäst is a Vinnova-funded project whose purpose is to develop solutions for managing society’s organic residues and create a much needed beneficial product, while at the same time minimising environmental and climate impact.