Nutrient-rich compost docks to the coal-rich structure thus binding for growth are important materials for many decades – the dream of every gardener and farmer. Because of this enriched soil substrate ensures a bountiful harvest. „Terra Preta“ is the result of this millennia-old recipe that even the Indians of the Amazon knew and is now being tested in a field by farmers in the Netherlands.
„Preliminary results show: the humus on light fields can quadruple with the mixture of charcoal and compost. The water storage capacity increases from 50 to 80 liters per square meter on, the pH of the soil is optimized, „the agronomists say. On the field the terra preta has been tested since 2009 in various proportions – now has this year’s crop of triticale introduced. He evaluates the number of plants, the ears and the 1000-grain weight and the total biomass yield from the plots with different soil qualities.
At almost half a hectare of arable with light, sandy, nutrient-rich soil two years previously applied different charcoal and compost mixtures. The 10 variants range from a mixture ratio of 20 tons of compost / ha up to 31.5 tons and the mixture of coal and 70 tons of compost / ha. „There is a clear trend: Our Terra Preta plants contribute more ears and are plumper filled – for a scientific statement, it is still too early,“ said the statement by the project staff. The current research project is „Effects of plant coal digestate substrates on soil fertility, carbon sequestration, nutrient leaching and greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of the project is so far little used efficiently residues (green waste, etc.) to improve material and energy use. Sequestration of CO2 in coal plants bound in agricultural soils is the current state of technology, the only way to avoid long-term CO2 and in significant quantities from the atmosphere.“
„In addition to encouraging CO2 sequestration through this process we are certainly interested in the creation of knowledge to the very soil fertility. We want to use every opportunity to gain new knowledge in agriculture for soil improvement and have „the field of the agricultural colleges like to be asked for this test are available, says a farmer.“
In addition to increased income through the increased humus content of the soil also plays the CO2 factor involved: Terra Preta soil is a CO2-lowering agents, the carbon is through the charcoal permanently bound in the soil, up to 300 tonnes of carbon per hectare.
Farmers are looking forward to the further development of this promising experimental planting, „It is expected that the production of renewable resources for energy production medium and long term reduces the humus content of our soils. Moreover, the growing food needs of the world’s population will need as much fruitful and profitable soils. Although in my view the origin of the large amounts of biochar and compost substrate is still unclear I am very positive about. “
Terra Preta – Portuguese for „black earth“ is a humus-rich and fertile land, which was created about 2000 years ago in the Amazon region. The „black earth“ there was composed of charcoal and municipal waste of the Amazonian Indians. Unlike compost the biochar with its stable carbon skeleton is a very good long-term nutrient storage, the addition of compost activates the process of nutrient enrichment and the colonization of microorganisms.