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

Rick Wilson

Group, I view one of the great values of biochar is that it facilitates the leaching of sodium salts from sodic soils (which contain clay).  

Sodic soils are those where the clay structure has been degraded from sodium salt. 
Sodium (+1) kicks out Magnesium (+2) and Calcium (+2), which causes the air filled porosity of the soil to degrade, making it hard for the microbes to respire. 

Please see the attached Ph.D. thesis from UC Riverside explaining these results. 
Biochar accelerates sodium leaching. Biochar works best in this role when it is accompanied by compost. 
What is interesting is that it is microbiome from the compost that is given credit for much of the benefit.  Sterilize the soil and the benefits diminish. 

I've leached sodic clay soils with this combination of biochar and compost.  Many times. 

Rick Wilson

On Oct 21, 2020, at 9:01 PM, Ron Larson <rongretlarson@...> wrote:

Paul and: list

Thanks for the added paper.

I see the clay in this study is nearly 2/3 clay, 1/3 sand - well above all the other studies in the new paper being discussed.   This paper should be a help to those having a clay soil.  And to all selling char.


On Oct 21, 2020, at 9:22 AM, CHANDRA SEKHAR PAUL <paulcs2017@...> wrote:

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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