Archive for June, 2010

More biochar application to rice fields

June 25, 2010

Biochar spread in two farms in Kouk Cherei. Again the same plot design was used as recent rice trials.

Biochar application to Nagathom farmer 1. Kouk Cherei Village, Sasasdom Commune, Pouk District, Siem Reap. 25.06.2010

Biochar application to Nagathom farmer 3. Kouk Cherei Village, Sasasdom Commune, Pouk District, Siem Reap. 25.06.2010. Picture by Vichida Tan.

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Rice growing timetable

June 25, 2010

Observations from the field were made on preparation and planting of rice in Pouk.

In this case a medium season rice is being grown – Phka Rumdoul. It has a medium duration (140-150days) and is being grown by out-growers in Kouk Cherei for the Nagathom fund.

First the grain is soaked for 24h.

Soaking rice, 24.06.2010 Kouk Cherei village

Then the grain is broadcasted by hand onto the nursery field, where it is grown for up to a month. This time often depends on the rains, since it is preferable to plant out in wet ground..

Broadcasting onto nursery field 23.06.2010. Kouk Cherei village.

Meanwhile the land is prepared and is ploughed up to 4+ times. We try to add biochar before the final plough to avoid ploughing dragging the biochar away from the plot too much.

Then finally the rice is planted out.

Results are in from lettuce biochar trials

June 25, 2010

Lettuces grown in Krabeil Riel were harvested on the 18th June 2010. The biochar was added on 11/05/2010. As is typical in this area, the whole plot was harvested and sold to buyers who visit farmers every day to collect their produce.

Results were positive, with biomass (above and below ground) recorded as: (43t/ha biochar) > (21.5t/ha biochar) > (0t/ha biochar).

Crop yield data collection… Lettuce

June 17, 2010

After the lettuce were harvested from the pot trials at the research farm, they were taken to be measured at the office. Plant length, number of leaves, total biomass and root biomass were measured.

Weighing lettuce from Tuk Vil, 17.06.2010.

Lack of rain threatens rice trials

June 17, 2010

Rice trials were started at the Apsara research farm, however the farm relies almost entirely on the Barai, a large reservoir about 1km away for water. A extensive system of irrigation canals spans over more than one district and many farmers within this zone rely on this for crop irrigation.

T0 = control, T1 = 5t/ha compost, T2 = 5t/ha compost + 20t/ha biochar, T3 = 5t/ha compost + 40t/ha biochar.

Rice trials Tuk Vil, far plot T1, near plot T0. 17.06.2010

Rice trials Tuk Vil, far plot T3, near plot T4. 17.06.2010

The current Barai irrigation system was designed and built by the French in the 1930’s however agriculture based on irrigation has taken place in this region since the Angkor Empire in the 11th century. The reservoir has a storage capacity of 40 million m3 and serves an agricultural area of 12,000 ha which includes 4,000 ha served by the gravity distribution system through 50km of canals. The beneficiaries were estimated to be 5,465 households in 1990s (Barai references: http://www.cascambodia.org/farm.htm).

Changing weather patterns have been identified by many farmers who are involved in the trials whose agricultural calendar is ruled by the coming of the rainy season.

Biochar application physically alters soil

June 17, 2010

The third cycle of crops grown in the pot trials at the Apsara farm were harvested today. The lettuce were grown for 28 days in the pots, after a 14 day germination period in growing treys.

Biochar is reported to improve soil structure, as it can alter porosity, particle size, infiltration, drainage and water storage capacity. The physical impact of biochar in the pot trial soil was easily identifiable; it was much easier to remove the plant from the pot and the soil from the roots of the lettuce. A dense structure like that of the unammended pot will reduce the ability of the air and water to move through the soil and will make it more difficult for the plant roots to propagate through the soil.

The pictures show the two of the amendments, the soil clods are visible in the left hand picture (T0) which does not have any amendments. The picture in the right shows the biochar (84t/ha equivalent addition), compost and sediment amended soil.

Un-amended soil after lettuce harvest in pot trials. 17.06.2010

Biochar amended soil after lettuce harvest in pot trials. 17.06.2010

Biocharm June update available

June 10, 2010

This project works closely with the IBI and the SEA IBI regional group. June update reports are available on SEA biochar network and on IBI regional group.

Practicalities of biochar application…

June 8, 2010

….. onto a flooded field.

Today we added biochar to a flooded paddy in Krabeil Reil, Pouk District. This farm could have been drained, but this was not part of his usual land preparation routine since it is easier to plough when the land is wet. So we went ahead and added biochar on the field which was submerged in about 20cm of water.

08.06.2010 Adding biochar to a field in Phum Popis village, Krabeli Reil commune, Pouk district, Siem Reap province. Picture by Vichida Tan.

Plots were marked out, and the bags put into the plots where they needed to be spread, however the bags quickly soaked up the water in the field and became heavier so were more difficult to spread than on a dry field. After the bags had been emptied, and during this process roughly spread across the plots, it was also more difficult to see how evenly the biochar had been spread.

The flooded paddy meant that incorporation by hand would have been more difficult, but the land will still be ploughed again which will incorporate the biochar sufficiently, then the farmer expects to plant in about one week. The layout of this plot is as in the nearby trial in Krabeil Reil.

There was no sign of the biochar moving from the plots, since most of it sank quickly after application. Some appeared to float for a while before sinking, but since the water was not moving, it was not thought that the biochar was moving away from the plot.

More information on biochar addition and incorporation.

Paddy rice trial set up 02.06.2010

June 2, 2010

Biochar trial plots were prepared for rice to be planted. Rice is to be soaked for 24 hours then seeded directly onto the plot in around one weeks time. Six plots (5m x 5m), three control and three amended with 40t/ha biochar were set up in a latin square layout.

02.06.2010 Plot preparation in Prey Kroch Village, Krabeil Riel Commune, Pouk District, Siem Reap Province

Rice is expected to be harvested approximately 100 days after planting.

At the other end of the field, trials from last season will also be monitored.

The field had been recently ploughed, and biochar was still clearly visible within the plots from the application on the 21st December 2009.

POM deployment in biochar and waste water of gasifier

June 2, 2010

POM was deployed in two areas where waste water from the gasifier ends up.

The gasification unit is EAP SOPHAT ice factory in Kralanh town, Siem Reap Province, which is the source of biochar from the plot and pot trials in Cambodia.

POM deployment 02.06.10 EAP SOPHAT gasification unit biochar and waste water