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Biochar field test planned for Ontario

NEWS HIGHLIGHT

Biochar field test planned for Ontario

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs and Dynamotive Energy Systems Corporation are planning a biochar field trial in Ontario.


March 5, 2010
By Canadian Biomass

Mar. 5, 2010 – The Ontario Ministry of
Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) and Dynamotive Energy Systems
Corporation are planning a biochar field trial in Ontario. According to the International Biochar Initiative, “Biochar is produced through pyrolysis or gasification — processes
that heat biomass in the absence (or under reduction) of air. The process creates
a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and
water.”

While intensive study of biochar-rich dark
earths in the Amazon (terra preta) has led to a wider idea of biochar’s
properties as a soil enhancer, it is unknown whether there are similar effects
on productivity in temperate region soils.  Little testing has been done as yet.

A start to finding the answer to this
question is a field plot that has been established on a farm near Shakespeare.
The local farmer supplied the test field plot, biochar application support, and
GPS mapping. Dynamotive supplied biochar made from its fast pyrolysis process.
Staff from OMAFRA will be assisting in the monitoring and interpretation of
data from the plot. Large enough strips to accommodate conventional harvesting
equipment have been laid out in the field, alternate strips have received
biochar application, and the entire plot will be monitored over the next
growing season to determine if there are any differences in the growth or yield
of the grain corn crop that will be planted in the field.


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