Corichar is a biochar soil amendment designed to increase soil fertility while reducing fertilizer and water requirements.
Biochar or pyrogenic carbon is found in soils around the world as a result of naturally occurring vegetative fires. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 60% of the carbon found in US Midwestern soils is pyrogenic carbon. Biochar was produced by humans thousands of years ago to produce dark incredibly rich soils – most notably in the Amazon where the surrounding soils are notoriously infertile.
So how can Corichar help the modern farm?
Biochar amended soils require less fertilizer. Biochar has a cation exchange surface chemistry that can shift the nutrient retention and pollution profile of soils. Nutrients and other inputs are retained in biochar and remain available for plants instead of leaching into waterways. Some harmful pollutants like heavy metals, are permanently adsorbed within the char, and are rendered unavailable for plant uptake.
Biochar amended soils require less water. Biochar has incredible water holding capacity which is a function of its porosity and surface area. One gram of biochar has about 400 square meters of surface area and can hold about 5-times its weight in water. (A basketball court is 420 square meters.) This water holding capacity is available since much of vascular structure of the original biomass in maintained in biochar.
Biochar amended soils contain more life. To make dramatic strides in soil fertility, biodiversity must improve. To that end, perhaps biochar’s greatest feature is that beneficial microbes thrive within the moist, nutrient rich pores and work symbiotically with plants. Microbes help deliver nutrients to plants and plants deliver energy to the microbes. Beneficial microbes also dominate pathogenic microbes and reduce the occurrence of diseases. In fact, scientists have published on the induced systemic resistance of biochar amended soils.
Biochar also one of the greatest weapons to combat climate change. First, biochar is highly resistant to decay and may remain in soils for centuries, maybe millennia. Biochar is an aromatic structure which microbes can’t readily digest. Second, biochar kickstarts additional natural systems to further replenish soil carbon stocks. Third, biochar has shown a remarkable ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in livestock and manures by altering rumen methane production and by reducing nitrogen dioxide and ammonia emission from manures and processing.