In October I attended a ‘Biochar for soil and health’ event in Abergavenny. Donna Udall (Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University) expertly explained the complexities, challenges and opportunities of biochar. Donna then described a project recently completed where cows had biochar included in their diets.
This was followed by a talk from Richard Copley, the farmer who made the biochar and completed the trials. Cattle from his herd were split into two herds, one was fed 300g of biochar per day for 28 days; and the others had no change to their diet. Manure samples were collected from the two teams every other day throughout the trial and analysed.
The results showed that the cows that were fed biochar excreted less nitrate in their manure than those that were not fed biochar. This suggested that the cows fed biochar had more efficient digestion, although more trials were planned to clarify the exact reasons (Innovative Farmers, 2019).