Biochar trial results

Biochar, a process used in farming cultures for millennia to increase soil fertility, was the subject of a research project, the results of which will be unveiled at a seminar at Wollongbar next month.

The federally funded National Biochar Research Initiative forms part of the Australian Government's $46.2 million Climate Change Research Program.

For thousands of years farming cultures like those in South America have used biochars to increase the productivity of their soils.

Now, some of our leading scientists are confident waste products like wood chips, chicken manure and paper could help offset greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers into biochar have been conducting field trials at Wollongbar since 2006.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) spokesman Luke van Zwieten said biochar was a black granular form of charcoal created by heating natural organic materials in a low oxygen environment.

"Our project is testing a range of biochar in different soils and under different conditions to find out how they interact and their impacts on soil health, carbon sequestration and the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions," Mr van Zwieten said.

Tweed/Richmond Canegrowers Association and local climate champion Robert Quirk, who's involved with biochar field trials on the Northern Rivers, will speak at the seminar, alongside academics and speakers from the CSIRO, DPI and Rural Climate Solutions.

It's on Wednesday, June 6, from 9am-3pm at the Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute, with morning tea and lunch provided.

It's essential to book ahead. Phone 6766 5222 or email by Wednesday, May 30.

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