Biochar Conference Notes

Here are some notes from a biochar conference I attended. I will be making a burner as soon as I can locate the right parts and looking for some old round bale hay to convert and spread all over the place. I also have a recipe for a homemade inoculant which keeps there from being a 1-2 year lag in production after applying the biochar.

Notes from Biochar conference, Lawrence, KS, 1 Mar 14.
Keynote speaker: David Yarrow

“The purpose of agriculture is not the production of food but the perfection of people” – One Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka
Definition: Biochar is fine-grained charcoal, high in organic carbon, largely resistant to decomposition, produced from pyrolysis of plant and waste feedstocks.
Per the USDA nutrient content of food has dropped measurable since 1940
Things to Google:
Mother Earth News Probiotics for the soil by Toby Grotz
Nutrient Dense Farming
Terra Char
Books mentioned:
The Biochar Solution by Albert Bates
Holistic Management by Dr. Allan Savory
Carbon Farmers of America by Abe Collins
1491 by Charles Mann
Under Cover Farmers
Living Web Farms
Application rate for gardening = 5-8% by volume or 1lb per sq ft or 2.5cm mixed in to top 30cm of soil.

Factors in evaluating Biochar suitability:
Particle Size
Surface Area
Structural Density
Micropore Density
Moisture Content
Ion Absorption
Microbial Activity
Residence (breakdown) Time

Hydroponic grow medium
Soil amendment
Water filtration
Fuel (burning and biomass gassification)
Medicinal (as is or processed into activated charcoal)

Biochar created at different temps has different pH. The higher the temp the more basic the char.

Steps to prepare biochar (4M’s)
Moisten: 5-10% moisture added by volume
Micronize: rice to dust size
Mineralize: Charge with minerals
Microbial Inoculation: specific blends or blend with compost or prepare your own


About cptcaveman

An Army Major, my family and I are in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. We enjoy photography, cooking, reading and outdoor sports like hunting, fishing and trapping.
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One Response to Biochar Conference Notes

  1. tallslimstranger says:

    Finally found a Bio-char producer in Colorado, 1.5 CU yard bag 600lb weight $225, Way more than I need for my garden and trees. Consequently I am looking for others to share with.

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