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Agronomy 2017, 7(3), 49; doi:10.3390/agronomy7030049

Impact of Different Agricultural Waste Biochars on Maize Biomass and Soil Water Content in a Brazilian Cerrado Arenosol

1
Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, 418-2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
2
Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
3
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Agricultura Tropical, Faculdade de Agronomia e Zootecnia, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT), Cuiabá 78060-900, Mato Grosso, Brazil
4
Departamento de Solos e Engenharia Rural, Faculdade de Agronomia e Zootecnia, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Cuiabá 78060-900, Mato Grosso, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Stephan M. Haefele and Peter Langridge
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 3 July 2017 / Accepted: 14 July 2017 / Published: 20 July 2017
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2769 KB, uploaded 20 July 2017]   |  

Abstract

Arenosols in the Brazilian Cerrado are increasingly being used for agricultural production, particularly maize. These sandy soils are characterized by low soil organic matter, low available nutrients, and poor water-holding capacity. For this reason, adding biochar as a soil amendment could lead to improved water and nutrient retention. A greenhouse experiment was carried out using twelve biochars derived from four feedstocks (cotton husks, swine manure, eucalyptus sawmill residue, sugarcane filtercake) pyrolized at 400, 500 and 600 °C and applied at 5% w/w. The biochars’ effect on maize biomass was examined, along with their contribution to soil physical properties including water retention, electrical conductivity (EC), and grain size distribution. After six weeks, maize plants in soils with eucalyptus and particularly filtercake biochar had higher biomass compared to those in soils with cotton and swine manure biochars. The latter’s low biomass was likely related to excessive salinity. In general, our biochars showed potential for increasing θ in sandy soils compared to the soil alone. Filtercake and eucalyptus biochars may improve soil aeration and water infiltration, while applying cotton and swine manure biochars at levels <5% to avoid high salinity could contribute to improved soil water retention in Cerrado Arenosols. View Full-Text
Keywords: biochar; sandy soils; soil water retention; available water content; osmotic potential; particle size; porosity; Cerrado biochar; sandy soils; soil water retention; available water content; osmotic potential; particle size; porosity; Cerrado
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Speratti, A.B.; Johnson, M.S.; Martins Sousa, H.; Nunes Torres, G.; Guimarães Couto, E. Impact of Different Agricultural Waste Biochars on Maize Biomass and Soil Water Content in a Brazilian Cerrado Arenosol. Agronomy 2017, 7, 49.

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