IRSI has supplied biochar produced in Drayton Valley at the Ulysses Slow Pyrolysis System to a small scale farmer to see how much of an impact the biochar material can have on the marginal soils in the area. Biochar has a litany of benefits in soil and range from increased water retention to reduced compaction. The work with Michelle Bossert outside Drayton Valley has had multiple biochar blends produced, including: soil/biochar, soil/biochar/humalite, soil/compost/biochar, and a controlled soil. IRSI will use the findings from this case study to begin working out the key ingredients for a high quality super soil with a biochar component.
Approximately 100 pots have been planted with a variety of biochar blends and IRSI will be working with Michelle to test the soil blends at the end of the season. As biochar becomes more widely known its value as a soil amendment and carbon sink is becoming more clear. The International Biochar Initiative’s website has a number of useful biochar related resources and reports documenting findings of the materials value as a soil amendment.