Re: New paper on water saving benefits of biochsr #water #irrigation

Charles Hegberg

Based on some other research, biochar really can’t compete with clay for WHC.  So minimal impact.  However, I agree with biochar depending on particle sizes used to act as more of an aggregate (course sand to gravel) in the clay to increase macropore development. The biggest down side is you need a lot of biochar to begin to change the soil structure in a primarily clay soil.  Could consider a blending of course sand and biochar.  Soils in the top half of the pyramid are classified as Hydrologic Soil Group  (HSG) D which are often found along streams, rivers, floodplains, and wetlands so from an environmental standpoint shouldn’t be impacted anyway. 


Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 2020 11:22 AM
Subject: Re: [Biochar] New paper on water saving benefits of biochsr


Dear Ron,

As you know clay soil generally retains a high amount of water in comparison to sandy soil. The addition of biochar to the clay soil increases the pores in soil particles. In my point of view, the biochar addition will increase water retention more in clay soil but definitely, it will depend on the biochar feedstocks and pyrolysis temperature. You can go through a research article (attached).


Thanking you,



On Wed, Oct 21, 2020 at 1:21 AM Ron Larson <rongretlarson@...> wrote:

List:  cc the two corresponding authors in case they have more to add.   (And thanks to the  person supplying this lead, preferring to stay anonymous)


This is a valuable new non-fee biochar paper re water savings:

(With considerable good data in the Supplemental - reachable from here also. - no separate ID)


        There is a plug for it also at:

One sentence there (emphasis added) indicates the paper’s  importance:    "The study co-led by Rice biogeochemist Caroline Masiello and economist Kenneth Medlock provides formulas to help farmers estimate irrigation cost savings from increased water-holding capacity (WHC) with biochar amendment.

[RWL:  The formulas are easy enough)


Maybe others on this list can add to the number of papers they could use - now mostly in the sandy corner of their soil triangle.  They couldn’t use some other potentially useful water saving papers because those didn’t provide all the possibly important explanatory variables.


Below is one view of the data set they used (lots more numbers in the Supplemental).   Anyone able to add points in the clay area?   The authors state that biochar is known to work well there also - but no data yet.   




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