See more from this Session: Environmental Functions of Biochar: II
Wednesday, October 19, 2011: 2:15 PM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 212B, Concourse Level
In areas of intensive poultry production, there are often more nutrients produced in poultry litter than local crops require. This has led to interest in alternative uses for poultry litter, including fast pyrolysis, which can produce bio-oil and biochar. There are several reports of biochar improving soil, through increased cation exchange capacity, water holding capacity, carbon sequestration and nutrient use efficiency, but most of these biochars were made from wood. We evaluated fast pyrolysis biochar made from poultry litter in two greenhouse studies, using the same silt loam and sandy loam soils. The first was a germination study with lettuce and soil-biochar mixes from 0% to 100% biochar by weight. Using the results of the first trial, in the second trial we grew peppers over 4 months with biochar rates of 0% to 5%. We analyzed the poultry litter biochar for pH, soluble salts, carbon, nitrogen, and total and water soluble phosphorus. For the germination study we measured germination success and in the pepper study we measured pepper yields. For both studies, we measured soil pH, water holding capacity, carbon, soluble salts, cation exchange capacity and plant available phosphorus with the acidic Mehlich 1 and alkaline Olsen extractants. We will present the results of these studies and discuss the possibility of using poultry litter biochar as a value added product.