The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is working to increase agricultural water use efficiency here in California. DWR is funding our research on the effect of biochar and compost on crop water usage. We have set up three research sites, one in the Central Valley, one in the Central Coastal Rangest and one in the Desert. Sensors will be set up at each of these sites to monitor water use over the growing season.
Here's an update on the work that's been done and that we plan to get done soon for this project:
Terranova Ranch: Watermark Sensors – some wires were cut. Those sensors will be replaced shortly.
Tule Sensors – Will be installed in approximately three to four weeks
Monterey Pacific: Watermark Sensors – will be installed in the next month.
DREC: Watermark Sensors – will be installed in the next month or two.
Sugarbeets – will be planted in the first or second week of October
- Author: Milton E McGiffen
UC, CalPoly, and other partners are doing a series of workshops in the LA Area on urban farming, although much of this really applies to any small farm:
To sign up: http://ucanr.edu/survey/survey.cfm?surveynumber=20862
- Author: Milton E McGiffen
Kelpie Wilson is doing a webinar July 25 11 am Pacific Time on simple pyrolyzers. You can register at:
From the webinar's announcement: "Biochar is made by applying heat to biomass in the absence of oxygen. Flame carbonization uses the flame itself to exclude oxygen. Flame carbonization methods can produce high quality biochar from low value biomass waste found in fields and forests without investing in expensive equipment. Kelpie Wilson will explain the theory and design principles for using flame carbonizing techniques in various applications such as forestry, farming and urban tree care.
This webinar is eligible for (1) Continuing Education Credit from the Society of American Foresters and the International Society of Arboriculture. To receive credit, fill out the google form below and include your ID Number. We also verify your attendance to the live webinar before issuing credit.
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is working to increase agricultural water use efficiency here in California. DWR is funding our research on the effect of biochar and compost on crop water usage. We have set up three research sites:
The first is at the Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville, CA. Biochar from Cool Planet was applied at different rates. The field is currently laying fallow for the summer but sugar beets will be planted in a few months.
The second site is at Monterey Pacific in King City, CA. Biochar from Pacific Biochar was applied with compost then planted as a Pinot Noir vineyard.
The last is Terra Nova Ranch in Helm, CA. Biochar from Pacific Biochar and chicken litter were applied. Processing tomatoes are planted in this field. Watermark Sensors from Irrometer were installed at 1 and 2 foot depths in each of the plots.
Biochar being applied at Monterey Pacific.
In Salina, California, Frank Shields runs Gabilan Laboratories, a branch of Keith Day Company. Keith Day Company is a trucking company; they move organic materials across California, they make compost, they formulate potting mixes and swale mixes. Because Frank Shields has an interest in biochar, Gabilan Labs one of the few places that has biochar specific analysis packages. They're Biochar Test Package is $150 and includes particles size distribution, pH, EC, water holding capacity, volatile fraction, ash content, estimated recalcitrant carbon, neutralizing value, butane activity and bulk density.
They can also test to see at what temperature your feedstock has the highest butane activity, or at what concentration your biochar has the best plant response (see picture below). As well as many other tests forbiochar, other amendments and soils.
Testing plant response to different concentrations of biochar by volume mixed in with a sandy soil.