The Benefits of Feeding Biochar to Ruminants and the Soil
This Article has been taken from a paper written by Nina Herbertson and taken from Academia.
Biochar is available through natural clearing of shrubland and not deforestation.
The addition of biochar as a supplement to ruminant feed, as part of an integrated farming system, has the potential to benefit the health of the animals, improve soil quality and plant growth. Increasing overall farm productivity and reducing net greenhouse gas emissions. When added directly to soils, biochar has many proven benefits in improving health, fertility, and productivity. Furthermore, it sequesters carbon thereby reducing net atmospheric carbon dioxide, and may, depending on conditions, reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions. When biochar is consumed by ruminants, prior to its inclusion in soils, additional benefits can be gained. There is good evidence that biochar is safe and effective in reducing effects of toxins and diseases in animals. Promising studies indicate that many general animal health parameters, including growth rate, are improved. Research on the effects of ruminant biochar consumption on enteric fermentation is limited and not conclusive. Nevertheless, the only reported study of direct measurements in live cattle, showed significant reductions in methane emissions. The subsequent distribution of biochar to soils via the animal dung has additional benefits, a process that can be further enhanced by the synergistic action of dung beetles.
It is relatively well established that biochar added to soils can improve the soils health and fertility by several mechanisms, such as better soil moisture retention, increased aggregate stability, enhanced nutrient content and dynamics, increased microbial habitat and increased cation exchange capacity.
For Plants that require high potash and elevated PH, Biochar can be used as a soil amendment to improve yield. Biochar can improve water quality, reduce greenhouse gases, reduce nutrient leaching, soil acidity and fertiliser requirements. Recycling at its best!
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