How To Use Biochar

1) What is Akili Technologies’ biochar made out of?

Biochar is a charcoal-like substance made from organic materials, such as agricultural waste or forestry residues, that have been heated in the absence of oxygen through a process called pyrolysis. Akili Technologies biochar is specifically made from agricultural waste and biomass.

Biochar has been gaining popularity as a soil amendment and is known for its ability to improve soil health, water retention, and nutrient availability.

2) What are the ways that one can use biochar?

Biochar can be used in a number of ways. They include: 

  1. Soil amendment: Biochar can be used as a soil amendment to improve soil quality, increase water retention, and enhance nutrient availability. It has a high surface area and a porous structure that can help to hold onto water, nutrients, and beneficial microorganisms. Adding biochar to soil can improve soil structure, reduce erosion, and increase plant growth.
  2. Composting: Biochar can be added to compost piles to improve their efficiency and quality. It can help to absorb moisture, reduce odors, and increase microbial activity in the compost pile, resulting in a higher quality finished compost.
  3. Water filtration: Biochar can be used in water filtration systems to remove impurities and contaminants from water. It has a high adsorption capacity and can effectively remove heavy metals, organic pollutants, and other harmful substances from water.
  4. Energy production: Biochar can be used as a source of energy through a process called bioenergy production. It involves burning biochar to generate heat and electricity.

Overall, biochar has a wide range of potential uses and applications, and its versatility makes it a promising material for sustainable agriculture and environmental remediation.

3) How can I use Akili Technologies biochar specifically for soil amendment?

Below are a few ways you can use biochar for soil amendment purposes:

  1. Mixing with soil: Biochar can be mixe;d into soil to improve soil structure, increase water retention, and enhance nutrient availability. The recommended application rate is 5-10% biochar by volume, which means adding 5-10% biochar to the volume of soil you are working with. To do this, you can till the biochar into the soil, or you can spread it evenly over the soil surface and then incorporate it into the soil with a rake or garden fork.
  2. Composting with biochar: Biochar can be added to compost piles to improve their quality and efficiency. To do this, add a layer of biochar to the compost pile, followed by a layer of organic material, such as kitchen scraps or agricultural waste. Repeat this layering process until the compost pile is complete. The biochar will help to absorb moisture, reduce odors, and increase microbial activity in the compost pile, resulting in a higher quality finished compost.
  3. Biochar tea: Biochar tea is a liquid extract made by soaking biochar in water. To make biochar tea, place a handful of biochar in a bucket of water and let it soak for 24-48 hours. The resulting liquid can be used as a soil amendment by pouring it directly onto the soil around plants. Biochar tea can help to improve soil fertility and increase microbial activity in the soil.
  4. Top dressing: Biochar can be used as a top dressing for established plants. Simply sprinkle a thin layer of biochar around the base of the plant, being careful not to cover the leaves or stems. As the biochar breaks down, it will release nutrients and improve soil structure around the plant.

Remember that biochar is not a fertilizer, so it should be used in combination with other soil amendments, such as compost or organic fertilizer like manure, to provide the full range of nutrients that plants need. We recommend mixing Akili’s biochar with manure in a 1:1 ratio for all the above mentioned uses. 

Additionally, it is important to use high-quality biochar such as Akili’s that has been produced from sustainable sources and has been tested for contaminants.

 

 

 

4) Where can I use biochar for soil amendment purposes?

Akili Technologies biochar can be used on agricultural fields for crop farming and tree planting or home gardens, landscaping for lawns or in horticulture. To use, follow the below steps:

  • What you’ll need:
  1. A mask 
  2. A bucket
  3. A pair of gardening gloves
  4. Manure
  5. Biochar 
5) What factors determine the amount of biochar to use??

The amount of biochar to use as a soil amendment depends on several factors, including the type of soil, the crop being grown, and the desired outcome. Here are some factors to consider when determining the amount of biochar to use:

  1. Soil type: The amount of biochar to use can vary depending on the type of soil you are working with. Soils with high clay content, for example, may require less biochar than sandy soils, as the clay can help to retain moisture and nutrients. Soil texture can also affect the amount of biochar needed, as finer soils may require less biochar than coarser soils.
  2. Crop type: Different crops have different nutrient requirements and growth rates, which can affect the amount of biochar needed. For example, crops with high nutrient requirements, such as tomatoes and maize, may require more biochar than crops with lower nutrient requirements, such as lettuce, cassava, millet or beans.

Crops such as millet and cassava that require lower nutrient requirements can generally survive in drought conditions. This means that they can survive on little water and need less biochar. Crops such as tomatoes and maize, however; need more water, hence their high nutrient requirements (higher biochar use).

  1. Desired outcome: The amount of biochar to use can also depend on the desired outcome. If the goal is to improve soil structure and water retention, a lower application rate may be sufficient. If the goal is to improve nutrient availability, a higher application rate may be necessary.
  2. Biochar quality: The quality of the biochar can also affect the amount needed. High-quality biochar such as ours, with a high surface area and porosity can provide more benefits than low-quality biochar, and may require a lower application rate. 

In general, the recommended application rate for biochar is 5-10% by volume, which means adding 5-10% biochar to the volume of soil you are working with. However, it is important to conduct soil tests and monitor plant growth to determine the optimal amount of biochar needed for your specific situation.

6) How can I use biochar on my lawn?

Biochar can be a beneficial soil amendment for lawns, as it can improve soil health and provide a range of benefits to grass and other plants. Here are some ways you can use biochar on lawns:

  1. Soil amendment: Mix biochar combined with manure (ratio of 1:1) into the top 4-6 inches of soil before planting grass seed or laying sod. This will help to improve soil structure, increase water retention, and enhance nutrient availability. The recommended application rate is 5-10% biochar by volume, which means adding 5-10% biochar to the volume of soil you are working with. Use a tiller or garden fork to mix the biochar into the soil evenly.
  2. Top dressing: Spread a thin layer of biochar combined with manure (ratio of 1:1) on top of the lawn and rake it in lightly. This will help to improve soil structure and increase water retention. As the biochar breaks down, it will release nutrients and beneficial microorganisms that can help to promote healthy grass growth.
  3. Biochar tea: Biochar tea can also be used on lawns. Simply soak a handful of biochar and manure (ratio of 1:1) in a bucket of water for 24-48 hours, then pour the resulting liquid onto the lawn. This can help to improve soil fertility and increase microbial activity in the soil, which can promote healthy grass growth.
7) What amount of biochar should I use on an acre of maize?

The amount of biochar to use on one acre of maize can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the quality of the biochar, the type of soil, and the climate. However, a general guideline for the application rate of biochar on agricultural land is around 1-5 tons per acre.

When using biochar for maize production specifically, it is important to consider the age of the maize. For example, if you are applying biochar to soil before planting, you may want to use a higher application rate, around 4-5 tons per acre. If you are applying biochar to soil during the growth stage of the maize, a lower application rate of around 1-2 tons per acre may be more appropriate.

It is important to note that biochar should be mixed into the soil to ensure that it is distributed evenly and does not cause localized nutrient imbalances. It is also recommended to conduct soil tests before and after applying biochar to assess the impact on soil nutrient levels and pH.

8) How can I use biochar on my maize field?

Biochar can be a beneficial soil amendment for maize fields, as it can help to improve soil health, increase crop yields, and reduce nutrient leaching. Here are some ways you can use biochar on your maize field:

  1. Soil amendment: Add a mixture of biochar and manure (1:1 ratio) into the top 4-6 inches of soil before planting maize. This will help to improve soil structure, increase water retention, and enhance nutrient availability. The recommended application rate is 5-10% of the biochar and manure combination by volume, which means adding 5-10% of the combination to the volume of soil you are working with. Use a tiller or plow to mix the biochar into the soil evenly.
  2. Fertilizer carrier:  The mixture of biochar and manure (1:1 ratio) can also be used as a carrier for fertilizers, helping to reduce nutrient leaching and improve nutrient availability to maize plants. Mix biochar with a slow-release fertilizer and apply it to the soil before planting maize. This can help to improve the efficiency of fertilizer use and reduce environmental impacts.
  3. Top dressing: Spread a thin layer of the biochar and manure (1:1 ratio) combination on top of the soil around growing maize plants and water it in lightly. This can help to improve soil structure and increase water retention, as well as provide a slow-release source of nutrients to maize plants.
  4. Composting: Add biochar to your compost pile to help improve its quality and nutrient content. When the compost is ready, spread it on your maize field to improve soil health and provide nutrients to growing plants.
9) What is the recommended application for biochar made from rice husk feedstock for one acre of maize?

The recommended application rate for biochar made from rice husk feedstock can vary depending on several factors such as soil type, climate, and the quality of the biochar. However, a general guideline for the application rate of rice husk biochar on agricultural land is around 1-5 tons per acre.

Rice husk biochar has been shown to improve soil fertility, increase crop yields, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The high silica content in rice husk biochar can also enhance the soil’s water-holding capacity, which is particularly beneficial in areas with low rainfall.

It is important to note that the application rate for rice husk biochar may need to be adjusted based on the specific characteristics of the soil and the climate. For example, soils with low pH levels may require a lower application rate of rice husk biochar, while soils with high pH levels may benefit from a higher application rate.

It is recommended to conduct small-scale trials before scaling up the application to a larger area. This will help determine the optimal amount of rice husk biochar needed for optimal results in your specific soil and climate conditions. Additionally, mixing the biochar into the soil thoroughly is important to ensure that it is distributed evenly and does not cause localized nutrient imbalances.

10) What is the correct amount of biochar to use on an acre of trees?

The correct amount of biochar to use on an acre of trees will depend on several factors, such as the type and size of trees, soil conditions, and the specific goals of the application.

In general, biochar is often used as a soil amendment to improve soil quality, fertility, and water retention, which can benefit tree growth and health. The recommended application rates for biochar vary depending on the specific situation, but typical rates can range from 5 to 20 tons per acre, with some studies suggesting even higher rates.

It is important to note that the application of biochar is just one part of a larger strategy for improving soil health and tree growth. Other factors, such as nutrient management, pest control, and proper planting and maintenance, should also be considered when developing a comprehensive management plan for a stand of trees.

11) What is the recommended amount of biochar to apply on an acre of vegetables?

 

The recommended amount of biochar to use on an acre of vegetables can vary depending on several factors, such as soil type, crop type, and the specific goals of the application. However, a common recommendation is to apply 5 to 10 tons of biochar per acre, depending on the soil’s nutrient status and physical characteristics.

We recommend combining biochar with manure in a 1:1 ratio, to be mixed with soil or compost before planting, or it can be top-dressed on existing crops. It is important to note that biochar is not a substitute for other soil amendments, such as fertilizer or organic matter, and this is why we recommended mixing our biochar with manure to enhance its effectiveness by improving soil structure, water retention, and nutrient availability.

Before applying the biochar mixture to your vegetable field, it is advisable to conduct a soil test to determine the current nutrient status of your soil and identify any potential nutrient imbalances. This can help ensure that you apply the correct amount of biochar and other soil amendments to optimize crop growth and yield.

12) Does the type of biochar affect the quantity of application?

Yes, the type of biochar can affect the quantity of application required for optimal results. The quantity of biochar needed for one acre of maize, for example, can depend on various factors such as the feedstock used to produce the biochar, the pyrolysis temperature, and the pH level of the biochar.

For example, biochar made from hardwood may require a lower application rate compared to biochar made from softwood due to the difference in their carbon content. Biochar made from high-temperature pyrolysis may also require a lower application rate as it is generally more stable and has a higher surface area. Additionally, biochar with high pH levels may require a lower application rate compared to biochar with low pH levels.

Therefore, it is important to consider the characteristics of the specific type of biochar being used before determining the optimal quantity of application for one acre of maize or trees, or even vegetables. It is also recommended to conduct small-scale trials before scaling up the application to a larger area. This will help determine the correct amount of biochar needed for optimal results in your specific soil and climate conditions.

13) How does biochar work?

Biochar, when added to soil, can improve soil health, increase nutrient availability, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s how biochar works:

  1. Improve soil structure: Biochar has a highly porous structure, which can help to improve soil structure and increase water retention. The large surface area of biochar can also provide a habitat for beneficial microorganisms, which can improve soil fertility and reduce disease.
  2. Boost nutrient retention: Biochar can adsorb nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as other micronutrients, preventing them from leaching into groundwater or being lost through runoff. As the biochar breaks down over time, it slowly releases these nutrients, providing a slow-release source of nutrients to plants.
  3. Allows for carbon sequestration: Biochar is a stable form of carbon that can remain in soil for hundreds or even thousands of years, effectively sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By adding biochar to soil, carbon is taken out of the atmosphere and stored in the soil, reducing the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
  4. Improved microbial activity: Biochar can provide a habitat for beneficial microorganisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi, which can form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots and improve nutrient uptake. Biochar can also help to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, which can help to suppress plant pathogens and improve soil health.

In summary, biochar works by improving soil structure, increasing nutrient availability, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting beneficial microbial activity in the soil.

Mixing of Biochar

Email

info@akiligroup.co.ke

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