Project Delivery: Energy Farmers Australia
Contact: Euan Beamont
Phone: (08) 9965 0259
Supporting Organisation: Northern Agricultural Catchments Council
Start Date: December 2014 End Date: May 2016
Site ID: 1512-05-04
Size Are Ha: 1
Many wheat farmers are burning wheat straw harvest rows to control chemical resistant weeds. Considering that wheat straw is quite high in potassium (K) and that K is a nutrient that is often limiting in low K soils, is there potential to process wheat straw through pyrolysis to produce renewable energy and use the by-product (biochar) to return K to soil types low in K. In effect, “mine” potassium from soil types high in K to use in soils low in K.
The trial will explore applications of wheat straw biochar at various rates to low potassium (K) soils to observe plant response in terms of yield, K availability to plants and economic impacts.
The trial will be carried out at Mungala Farm, Mullewa in a soil type typically low in potassium.
Small plot trials will consist of a minimum of 3 replications for each treatment and include:
- Control (No treatment)
- Standard treatment with a traditional fertiliser
- 4 x biochar treatments – At this point the analysis of the biochar being used is unavailable so application rates haven’t been set yet however would include something like:
- Biochar with traditional (low K) fertiliser x 2 rates
- Biochar only at 2 rates
- Biochar would be applied with the fertilisers, either under (deep banded) or with the seed.
This project is being delivered by Energy Farmers Australia Pty Ltd and is supported by Northern Agricultural Catchments Council through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.