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Assessment of the Value of Biochar on the Growth and Plant Nutrient Content of Vegetable Crops Grown in Organic or Conventional Systems of Farming

Principal Investigator/Project Leader: 
Department of Project: 
Stockbridge School of Agriculture
Project Description: 

This research will help to understand and develop practices that will improve soil fertility by enhancing the efficiency of use of nutrients supplied by organic or conventional fertilizers. The increased efficiency may help improve yields and quality of plant-derived foods and allow for production of nutritjous, healthful foods for consumers. The accumulation of elemental nutrients in these foods is expected to be enhanced by biochar compounded with conventional or organic fertilizers. The improved efficiency of use and direct supply of nutrients from biochar may allow for partial substitution of biochar for commercial fertilizers, thereby conserving the resources for these fertilizers and permitting use of materials that might otherwise be wasted. The use of biochar in farming may allow for marginal or contaminated land to be brought into production of crops due to the improvement in soil fertility and plant nutrition. Addition of biochar, which is stable organic matter, may allow for sequestration of carbon in soils and limit entry of the carbon into the air.

Agriculture topics: 
Soil and Nutrient Management
Soil Health
Vegetable Crops