Biochar is a new-old substance that is coming under increased scrutiny at places like Iowa State University. ISU’s David Laird says biochar, which is basically charcoal, improves the water-holding and nutrient-holding capacity of the soil and could be effective in mitigating problem soils. Biochar currently is used only in horticulture, but an increase in manufacturing facilities and economies of scale could make it more practical for row crops. He spoke on the subject at ISU’s Integrated Crop Management Conference in Ames, Iowa.
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