Biochar is extremely porous which allows it to retain nutrients and water –which plant roots can access when the biochar is added to soil.
Biochar testing The UC Davis biochar plots are designed to analyze the impact of the soil amendment in a tomato-corn rotation.
The information has helped create the IBI Biochar Standards and an IBI Biochar Certification Program so manufacturers can certify that quality standards are met and safe for soil application.
Once certified, biochars can carry the IBI Certified biochar seal on the product label.
Among the presenters included Johannes Lehmann, IBI’s co-chairman and Peter Hirst, co-owner of New England Biochar LLC and board member of Sonoma Biochar Initiative.
The company is hosting biochar workshops, conducting research projects and educating stakeholders – including CDFA – on the advantages of biochar as a key tool for sustainable agricultural practices.
“California is positioned to be the leader in biochar, and if CDFA supports widespread field trials we could see huge breakthroughs for the industry.” Additional research from UC Davis and possible CDFA support could lead to 2015 becoming the defining year in California for biochar use in agriculture.