A Farmer's Guide

to the production,use
and application
of biochar

About the Farmer’s Guide

The potential of biochar to improve crop yields, increase resistance to plant disease, remove toxic substances from soil, and sequester carbon
is well documented. 

Biochar is biomass that has undergone thermal decomposition in an oxygen-starved environment. The potential of biochar to improve crop yields, increase resistance to plant disease, remove toxic substances from soil, and sequester carbon is well documented. 

Extensive experimentation has shown that biochars produced from different feedstocks at different temperatures can have different effects on different plants, in different soils, climates, and ecosystems.  There is a growing recognition that biochars and biochar-based amendments and fertilisers must be strategically chosen or enhanced to help overcome soil/environment constraints .

Over the last 5 years training courses have been run on design, production, and application of biochar. During these courses people have asked for specific recipes and guidelines, and for methods for making, enhancing, testing, and application. This guide has been developed to at least in part meet this need.  It is complementary to the range of more scientific and technical publications.

The publication collects the experience of people – gardeners, farmers, and researchers – who have made and used biochar to produce food crops in home gardens, smallholdings, and farms in many countries around the world. It draws on the collective wisdom of people who have used biochar for centuries, on innovations developed in the last 100 years, and on the latest scientific research. 

The primer is divided into 11 chapters

1. Principles of biomass pyrolysis for biochar production

2. Indigenous practices of biochar production and utilisation 

3. Choosing a biochar unit that meets your needs 

4. Properties of fresh biochars and wood vinegar

5. Properties of biochar change after interaction with soils, compost, or animals

6. Effects of biochar on crop production and soil properties

7. How to choose and enhance biochars to meet specific soil constraints 

8. Methods for applying biochar

9. Case studies

10. Biochar in regenerative agriculture and carbon draw down

11. Testing biochars

 

(Please Note: This is a draft for review until the end of June, please send your feedback to execdirect@anzbig.org) 

Thank you to our Farmer’s Guide sponsors

 

 

Australian Biochar Industry 2030 Roadmap

Version 1 June 2023