Agriculture

Agriculture is a significant contributor to global Greenhouse Gas Emissions, almost 20% worldwide.
It’s also highly vulnerable to the risks and impacts of a rapidly changing climate.

Agriculture and Climate Change

Agriculture is a significant contributor to global GHG emissions. It’s also highly vulnerable to the risks and impacts of a rapidly changing climate.

The links between agricultural emissions, climate change, carbon cycling, and crop health has led growers, scientists, industry and policy makers to seek sustainable, circular, low-carbon management practices.

The Promise of Biochar

Biochar is a carbon-rich soil amendment product that is produced by the thermochemical processing of organic matter in an oxygen deficient atmosphere.

Once produced, biochar has important characteristics that can be highly beneficial to soil health and crop growth: 

  • A high carbon content that improves soil health and sequesters carbon.
  • A porous structure that allows for increased cation exchange capacity to attract and retain moisture and nutrients.
  • A high pH that makes it an efficient medium for improving and even reclaiming acidic soils.

Nutrient Management 

Crop productivity increases when nutrients are kept on fields and used by plants. Biochar has a high carbon content as well as nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen, which are central to plant growth and quality. Biochar’s structure also helps with nutrient retention, lowering the use and cost of synthetic fertilizers and reducing on-field nutrient run off. This consequently improves river and lake water quality, by reducing algae blooms.

Emissions Reductions

The use of synthetic fertilizers can increase nitrous oxide emissions. Biochar can help reduce these emissions in two ways. First, as a source of nitrogen, phosphorous and other micronutrients it can help growers reduce frequency (and cost) of fertilizer applications. Second, its porous structure helps attract and retain fertilizers, thereby helping reduce emissions.

Resiliency and Productivity

Healthy soils grow healthy crops. Given its highly porous structure, biochar can hold and moderate moisture on fields. This helps to reduce run off and erosion during heavy rains and maintain soil moisture levels during periods of drought. As well, biochar helps decrease compaction, allowing roots to grow deeper and stronger.

Biochar’s high pH level is also helpful in acidic soils, providing micro-habitat for beneficial soil organisms, consequently improving soil health, productivity and resilience. 

Carbon Sequestration

Agricultural producers have the potential to “lock” tremendous amounts of carbon in their soils. Enhanced soil carbon not only supports crop growth and resiliency but is one of the more cost effective “carbon removal” technologies available today, one that can also generate income from developing carbon markets.

Peatmoss Replacement

Peatmoss is a valuable horticultural product. However, it is extracted from vulnerable ecosystems that play a crucial role in global carbon sequestration. At just 3% of the Earth’s land area, peat bogs contain an immense 30% of the world’s soil carbon stocks, making them the second-largest carbon sink after oceans.

Biochar exhibits remarkable properties such as excellent structural stability for aggregate formation, and water and air holding capacity, making it an ideal component for use in growing media. Blending biochar into soilless growing media affects the physical, chemical, and biological properties. Studies have shown adding biochar to greenhouse growing media can increase tomato and pepper yields while reducing fertilizer use significantly