SoilMatrix Newsletter No. 17
The Wisdom of Agricultural Co-Composting of Biochar and Animal Manure
The topic of co-composting animal manures with biochar has risen in importance since about 2010 with the publication of an increasing number of research papers on this topic, including an astounding research discovery at the Canadian Light Source facility in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. This research demonstrated the way in which organic materials physically coat the surfaces of biochar particles over a period of time during co-composting of biomass with biochar 2.
Land application of compost is an age-old agricultural method of returning nutrients to soils. However, compost additions to soils can result in substantial emissions of greenhouse gas, especially N2O, which needs to be controlled during making and using compost containing high N-loads, such as chicken manure. Some farmers in some countries are now pursuing the option of adding granulated biochar to animal bedding for the co-benefits of improving animal health and enhancing the eventual composting value of this material. The eventual applications of co-composted biochar-manure mixtures is demonstrating benefits for soils and plants.