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Effects of biochar incorporation on nutrients leaching in a soil of the Mississippi Delta
Proceedings of the 2020 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2020 Authors: Ortega-Achury S.L., Ramirez-Avila J.J., Chavarro-Chaux L., Anapalli S., Pinnamaneanl S.


The effects of incorporating sugarcane biochar on soil's physical and hydrologic characteristics and leaching water quality is evaluated in the Mississippi Delta. The study has been advanced on ten rain fed corn production plots (1200 ft2) receiving five levels of biochar application (0, 5, 10, 15, 25 Mg/ha). Potential effects on leaching water quality were evaluated by implementing two soil-water samplers on each plot, one at 6-in depth, the second at 12-in depth. Soil physical tests such as infiltration, aggregate stability and bulk density were completed before and after crop growth and harvest to determine potential changes in soil hydrologic response. Preliminary results indicate water transmission increased on amended soils when compared with the fields with no-biochar application. Reductions on total nitrogen and nitrate leaching concentrations ranged from 1.3 to 2.1 times the measured concentrations leached from unamended plots. Maximum measured concentrations observed after the first rainfall event next harvest were 45-mg/l and 27-mg/l for TN and nitrate, respectively. As leaching concentrations of nitrogen decreased in time for all the plots, no significant effect was observed on TN and nitrate concentrations among treatments during the winter period. Phosphorus leaching concentrations were lower on biochar treated plots, but a reduction trend with soil wetting during the wet season was not observed. Phosphorus concentrations on amended plots decreased, on average, from 1.7 to 2.0 times the concentrations observed on unamended fields.

2017 MWRRI Annual Report
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