Biochar has been shown to increase the available nitrogen in organic fertiliser by 40%, and can also improve nutrient retention and crop uptake once it has been applied to land. It can limit ammonia and N2O emissions in manure storage by up to 92% and 60% respectively. At a low dose rate of 1-3% by volume, emissions are expected to decrease in the range of 10-20%.
Biochar can also be used to make biocovers, which have been shown to reduce odour and capture nutrients when placed over open slurry stores.
Biochar captures urea and ammonium on and within particles, preventing volatilisation, nitrification, and ammonification. This keeps more nitrogen available to crops.
The physical and chemical structure of biochar prevents nutrient leaching and runoff. This ensures that nutrition is delivered more efficiently to crops, while protecting the air and waterways.
Biochar improves the microbial environment within organic fertiliser, enhancing composting and nutrient retention.
When applying biochar to organic fertilisers, dose rate, biochar properties and point of application must be considered to ensure it is compatible with your manure handling systems, and delivering optimal performance.
On average, English dairy farms applied 116kg/ha of mineral nitrogen fertiliser and 40kg/ha of organic nitrogen in 2022. (National Statistics, 2023)
Biochar has been shown to increase the available nitrogen in organic fertiliser by 40%. (Agyarko-Mintah et al., 2017)
In this case, organic nitrogen availability would increase to 56kg/ha and mineral N requirement would decrease to 100 kg/ha. Here, biochar potentially reduces mineral nitrogen fertiliser use by 14%.
At BBB, we are developing two biochar products designed for use on dairy farms – PinChar for slurry, and PelletChar for use in bedding and FYM. When mixed with muck, our biochar works to retain nutrients and make them available to crops once applied to land. Our products are designed to ensure biochar amended organic fertiliser can be applied as normal through spreading machinery.