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Biochar Can Help Farmers Save Money on Irrigation, Says Research

Research from Rice University shows that in some regions, extensive use of biochar could save farmers a little more than 50% of the water they now use to grow crops. This would lead to a monetary savings over and above the acknowledged carbon benefits of biochar application. The study provides formulas to help farmers estimate irrigation cost savings from increased water-holding capacity (WHC) with biochar amendment. Results with biochar depend on the type of soil and the characteristics of the biochar itself. The greatest benefits were found to occur in regions with sandy soil. A study co-lead noted, “Biochar soil amendment can enhance soil carbon sequestration while providing significant co-benefits, such as nitrogen remediation, improved water retention, and higher agricultural productivity. The suite of potential benefits raises the attractiveness for commercial action in the agriculture sector as well as supportive policy frameworks.”