Archive for May, 2010

Mid-term progress workshop 24.05.2010

May 30, 2010

The mid-term progress workshop was held for the team working on the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research project ‘biocharm’.

This began with a visit to field trials in Phaltan, Satara District, Maharastra State, managed by ARTI. The maize is growing well, and at present it is possible to see an increase in germination rate with the maze grown in the biochar treatments.


The Society of Biochar Initiatives – India

May 29, 2010

I met with Perses Bilamore who founded the Society of Biochar Initiatives in India (NGO) ( and One of the initiatives within the society was the production of some pyrolysis systems by PATPERT TEKNOW SYSTEMS (, and this unit was also visited at the ARTI field station in Phaltan.

14/05/2010 soil sampling set up in Pouk

May 14, 2010

Passive sampling strips were incorporated into plots, with and without biochar application.

14/05/2010. Digging in POM strips. Photo by Vichida Tan

11/05/2010 Biochar application

May 14, 2010

Lettuces and long-beans are being grown shortly on this farm so it was decided to add biochar to some plots.

The biochar was spread over the beds then raked to ensure it was evenly distributed before being hoed in. See ‘application and incorporation‘ for more info.

Adding biochar 11.05.2010

Spreading biochar, Harmony Farm, 10.05.2010

May 13, 2010

Harmony Farm is 60km away from Siem Reap, near the temple of Beng Melia.

The biochar and rice husk ash were spread – it was noticed that the rice husk ash was very dusty and was easily blown around by the wind unlike the biochar from the ice factory. The biochar was fresh, and was still moist as it is expelled out the unit with water. The biochar will be ploughed in over the next two days.

Three levels of application were added to three plots of each substance, with two control plots – 8m x 6m.

Rice husk biochar (front), and rice husk ash (back) spread into plots at Harmony Farm. 10.05.2010.

Biochar collection 10.05.2010

May 13, 2010

Biochar was distributed for rice trials. It was delivered to two farmers in Pouk District, one in Chireav, Harmony Farm in Beng Melia, and the Nagathom base near Kralanh, to be distributed to their outgrowers later.

Rice husk biochar was picked up as before from Kralanh, at a gasification unit which produced gas to power EAP SOPHAT ice factory.

Biochar bagging 10.05.2010, EAP SOPHAT, Kralanh.

A brick making factory was also visited to pick up some rice husk ash. This was different in texture and colour from the biochar, even though the feedstock is the same due to being fully combusted in the kilns. See the biochar production pages for more info on SME’s production and the brick factory.

Picking up burned rice husk at the brick factory, Kralanh. 10.05.2010.

Cabbages harvested at APSARA authority research farm

May 4, 2010

The pots from the lettuce trials were replaced with cabbages, and were harvested early to avoid being eaten by a caterpillar infestation.

The cabbages were planted on 4th April, so were growing for 30 days. The pots were first set up 23rd February.

The results were promising, with an increase in biomass in the pots with 20, 40 and 120t/ha equivalent biochar. The rest of the growing substrate for these was sieved soil from the research farm plus compost and sediment from the local Tonle Sap lake.  All but one of the cabbages in the nine pots with only soil from the research farm died, so the comparison with the research farm soil only plus biochar could not be made.  This however was an interesting result in its self, that adding biochar meant that all nine cabbages in these pots survived. It was noticed that in the absence of biochar, it was difficult to remove the soil from the cabbages, since the clay had set around the roots, it is therefore probably easier for the roots to penetrate the soil in the biochar pots.

Cabbages just prior to harvesting 04/05/2010 at APSARA research farm