Thanks Don, for all your hard work… great program line-lineup.
On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 3:37 PM, Trevor Richards <trevor at soilcarbon.org.nz> wrote:
Dear ABE group,
Please find below an e-letter I hope you will read and share. A few of you may have been sent this already from another list… sorry for this.
Dennis and I have been discussing the need/interest for biochar workshops in NZ. We agree that more needs to be done to raise the awareness on biochar in NZ but I’m wondering if we can gather the support we would need for a biochar speaker/workshop tour of NZ. Some ideas:
There would be much to consider and organise for such a tour, so some sort of support group may need to gather around the idea to take it forward. We would welcome any comments or expressions of support for this.
Biochar (charcoal made for use in soil) increases the productivity and resilience of many soils and contributes to climate change mitigation, as shown by research here in NZ and around the world.
It has also been shown to improve soil moisture and nutrient holding capacity, improve animal health and reduce animal emissions, reduce the uptake of soil contaminants in our food such as heavy metals and other chemicals, and has a range of cascading applications from production to soil application such as nutrient capture and water quality enhancement.
We are focused on increasing the knowledge base and expanding the biochar industry to highlight biochar as a major contributor to fight the many issues we face in our world today.
The ANZBC17 conference is being held near the Gold Coast in Australia on 10 – 12th August to provide opportunities for researchers, industry players and interested parties to connect and advance the use of biochar.
Please consider attending this conference or becoming a sponsor (we are trying to help NZ speakers with conference travel costs).
Further information is available on the conference website: https://anzbc.org.au/
Your interest and support is appreciated.
Dennis Enright, former co-chair of Soil & Health
Trevor Richards, co-founder of AllBlackEarth
(ANZBC17 Organising Committee – NZ branch)
This new report is a bit of a disappointment if you are looking for any focus on biochar or soil carbon but they did at least try to include something… (but only in the supporting technical report!)
Pg.65: “Finally, biochar could be an effective means of reducing several GHGs. Biochar is a highly porous charcoal that can be created from harvesting waste from plantation forests. There is good evidence that it is a very stable form of carbon, so it could be applied to soils to store more carbon. Specific biochars might also help reduce N 2 O emissions, although the exact mechanisms are not yet clear. However, the main challenge at present to any widespread use of biochar in a pastoral system remains its cost and the large area that would need to be covered (Pollock 2015).”
IMO: a failure here to recognize potential of biomass for CHAB. Crop /forestry residues and coppice could replace coal… Fonterra being the low hanging fruit. Biochar is a co-product, valued accordingly.
Pg.88: “Soil farming and biochar abatement potential and costs. Some authors focus on the difficulties to measure, monitor and verify savings from these options while others suggest that there is significant scope for rollout (Sims et al. 2016). Further research in the New Zealand context of the costs and scope for roll out is required before this can be included in a robust assessment of abatement potential. This research could focus on the need for better quantification on the effects of biochar on soil productivity and nitrogen leaching, along with the extent to which emissions reductions could be permanent.”
I like the references to “further research” when funding in NZ stopped years ago…
“This report has been compiled by Vivid Economics under contract with GLOBE-NZ, a cross-party group of 35 members, drawn from all parties within the 51st New Zealand Parliament. The report’s authors were Alex Kazaglis, John Ward, Stuart Evans, Paul Sammon and Luke Kemp. The project, funded for GLOBE-NZ by a group of donors within New Zealand, covered the period 1 September 2016 to 28 February 2017. The donors, in alphabetical order, were British High Commission, Mercury Energy, Mills Foundation, Morgan Foundation, Sam Morgan, Rob Morrison, NZ European Union Centres Network, Tindall Foundation, US Embassy, Vector NZ Ltd, Victoria Ransom, Warehouse Group and Z Energy.“
Don Graves is giving a biochar talk during the week of events leading up to KaiFest…
Day: Saturday 1 April
Location: Te Awhina Marae
Biochar is produced by heating wood and other carbon products to high temperatures in the absence
of oxygen, and then adding the resulting charcoal to soil. It has many uses in agriculture and
horticulture, including soil water retention, effluent control, increased fertility, and carbon
sequestration. This workshop will go into some of the details of how biochar can be made and used on a domestic or large commercial scale for these benefits.
Your speaker: New Zealand Biochar solutions is a local group established in 2016 to promote the use of biochar for reducing waste, enhancing long-term soil fertility, and sequestering carbon in the Earth where it belongs, rather than in the air where it contributes to climate change. Don Graves is a soil biologist who has studied biochar extensively.
It looks like the biochar ‘industry’ in NZ has missed any opportunity to wave the black flag here, for N management. I have been following the public engagement from afar over the years, but there did not seem to be a path to biochar acceptance as having potential technical application. At least, not until Overseer incorporates a biochar module (and I’m guessing that’s a distant hope).
Click on the image below for a link to the web version of the newsletter…
Waikato Regional Council is urging the public to step up and have their say on Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora: Proposed Waikato Regional Plan Change 1.The council has prepared its own submission on the proposed plan, and has received 280 submissions from the public to date. Submissions on the proposed plan close at 5pm tomorrow. You can still make a submission by clicking this link here.“Managing water quality in the Waikato and Waipā rivers is one of the biggest environmental issues facing our region. For the last two decades our community has told us water quality is their number one priority, now is their opportunity to have their say on the solutions proposed,” says council chief executive Vaughan Payne. Mr Payne said no policy is perfect when it’s first notified and as with any policy development there are aspects of the proposed plan the council believes may need to be refined. We expect this to happen through the submission process. The council submission takes into consideration how the plan can practically be implemented and enforced, how the plan affects the council as a land owner and key infrastructure provider, and how the proposed plan delivers on the regional council’s legal responsibilities for developing resource management policy for freshwater management.“Our submission supports the overall intent and objectives of the proposed plan while making practical suggestions for improvements in how Healthy Rivers/Wai Ora could be implemented for affected landowners, while ensuring the protection and restoration of the Waikato and Waipā rivers into the future,” Mr Payne said.
Key submission areas include the approach to nitrogen management, ownership of nitrogen reference points, including monitoring and enforceability, the implications of the current proposal on commercial vegetable production and addressing some inconsistencies in the proposed plan rules.You can read all the recent media releases here.
Kay Baxter identifies biochar as an important component of her soil development and gardening strategy. It would be great to hear other folks ideas and experiences in NZ.
“….then we added 5kgs of CHARGED biochar per sq m and that changed everything.”
I was critical of LandCare Research in a recent (17Dec) Biochar@ABE FB post based on this video…
I posted a comment: “Could someone from LCR or Lincoln advise if biochar was considered as a tool worthy of study in these leaky soils.” and got the following reply: “we use biochar in a variety of different manners, one of which you can read about here: http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/innovation-stories/methane-eating-bacteria-give-farmers-a-filter-for-the-future “
Its great to see biochar as part of this research (with potentially major opportunities for biochar to help in dairy effluent management issues). But this does not really address my Q about biochar in leaky soil research.
Peter Cundall is gardening legend in Australia. He talks about biochar kindly in the article linked below. Where are all the NZ gardening legends on this subject?